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MELISSA BENOIST IS DOING THE NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD. She sits alone in a West Hollywood bistro, discreetly faced away from a few other occupied tables. Might one respectfully say that she looks so un-Supergirl right now? Supergirl the TV superhero wears a cheerleader-style skirt, a stretchy miracle-fabric top, and often lipstick; Benoist, who turns 30 this year, presents very differently, sans makeup in a demure blouse and jeans—a doctoral-candidate-next-door look. Just a couple days ago she wrapped season 3 of the much-loved, teen-friendly series that has found its home on The CW since moving over in its second season from the main CBS lineup.

An apology is tendered for being a wee bit late thanks to Uber. But Benoist, setting aside her pencil, is gracious: “I just got here myself.”

It’s a phrase that could have come from her character Kara Zor-El, describing her arrival on our planet. Per the enduring Superfamily myths going back to the comic book invention of Superman in 1934—and eventually of cousin Supergirl, in 1959—the clan boasts multiple superpowers that, barring interference from green or red Kryptonite, are used to uphold truth, justice, and the American way.

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