- Katie Cassidy is delving into the world of NFTs with ME.SHE.WE., a series of digital portraits.
- The former “Arrow” star spoke with Insider about her cancelled spin-off and her new ventures.
- In addition to her NFT, she’s exploring her creator side behind the camera with multiple projects.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Though many fans of The CW’s superhero universe may have been devastated earlier this year when the network chose not to pick up a proposed all-female “Arrow” spin-off, titled “Green Arrow and the Canaries,” at least one person wasn’t: leading lady Katie Cassidy.
Across the series’ eight-season run (and in several episodes of its spin-offs “The Flash and “Legends of Tomorrow”), Cassidy played two different versions of the popular DC comics character Laurel Lance, otherwise known as the Black Canary, and was slated to star in the spin-off alongside Katherine McNamara and Juliana Harkavy.
But, to hear Cassidy tell it, the decision to ground the Canaries is likely the best choice for all involved.
“I’m actually okay with it not going,” Cassidy told Insider in a wide-ranging phone conversation in April. “That whole show was such a blessing. Not only for myself but for everyone involved. I loved it. It was a wonderful experience. I really feel as though we have… [we] really milked it.”
And after eight years, Cassidy says she’s ready to “do something fresh.”
Cassidy’s life recently has been marked by change. But between filing for divorce in January 2020, the final episode of “Arrow” airing later that same month, and the onslaught of a global pandemic that saw everyone adjust to life in lockdown, the actress has done her best to use these setbacks to push herself in a new direction — just probably not one her fans expected.
The confluence of these events prompted Cassidy to not only engage in an extended period of self-reflection, but to dive into the emerging world of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and her newfound interest in cryptocurrency gave rise to an unexpected passion project.
The actress has just released her first NFT drop, a series titled ME.SHE.WE., in which she explores herself, the persona she presents to her fans, and the way those two identities intersect. A set of gorgeous digital portraits, the series mixes cotton canvas, black and white paint, and the human body to create something striking, dramatic, and wholly original.
“It all really forced me to learn how to love myself. I had no other choice. My show had ended, my career was totally changing, and then the world was totally changing,” Cassidy said. “And that’s sort of what inspired me to do this.”
While Cassidy’s enthusiam for NFTs might seems surprising to fans, it’s not unprecedented given her background.
“I am a big gamer; since I was a kid, I’ve loved technology,” she said. “I wanted to be the first celebrity — in my world — to do this. I wanted to be a pioneer in this space as a woman.”
The actress explained that within just three days, she had her portraits on Opensea, a peer-to-peer marketplace for NFTs and other crypto collectibles.
A portion of sales from Cassidy’s NFT series will benefit The Rape Foundation, Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, and LifeWay Network.
“I really learned a lot about myself. I can give back and hopefully, this will inspire, encourage, and empower other women to embrace themselves, to love themselves. Because we really can’t have relationships with anyone until we have a good one with ourselves, which I know sounds really basic, but it’s so hard.”
Cassidy’s exploration of NFTs isn’t the only career shift she’s excited about.
One of her biggest personal accomplishments during the final season of “Arrow” was her directorial debut. She directed the third episode of season eight, an adventure-filled hour called “Leap of Faith.”
“Directing was…. my eyes were popping out of my head like a kid in a candy store,” she said. “The whole experience was so incredible.”
Cassidy’s episode featured the long-awaited return of Willa Holland as Thea Queen, a superhero known as Speedy. Because the character hadn’t been seen onscreen in several seasons, Cassidy saw an opportunity to play around a bit with Thea’s backstory and what might have happened to her in that intervening time period in a new way.
“I told [Willa], look, you’ve been gone for a couple of years. You’ve been fighting in the mountains. Maybe something happened,” she told Insider. “So this is the first time we see her since then, and I got to give her this gnarly scar on her face! She of course still looked stunning. But it was like stuff like that — it gave the character more depth. There was some richness involved, layers there.”
Helming an episode of “Arrow” also helped Cassidy realize she’s “not just an actor” but an “overall creator,” with varied artistic interests.
Though she couldn’t reveal the name of her next project, she did tell Insider that she “ended up getting a movie to direct right before the pandemic,” a film she described as a “raunchy comedy” that is only just now beginning to come back together again, production-wise.
To hear Cassidy talk, she wants to do a little bit of everything as her career continues to grow, from acting to directing to even writing. (She helped pen a pilot for another project she couldn’t name over the course of the past year as well, a book-based series she’s hoping to both star in and direct.)
But though she laughs and says “never say never” when asked about the possibility of returning to the world of superheroes and pleather pants, Cassidy’s clearly hoping to branch out a bit beyond that in the coming months and years.
“I like the idea of original content. We need more of that,” she said. “Everywhere we look for the last, what eight to ten years? It’s superheroes. Before that, it was vampires. We go through cycles.”
It should probably come as no surprise, then, that her interest in digital currency has translated to her creative efforts as well.
“Let’s do a bad-a– woman show, but let’s have it be [about] Satoshi Nakamoto,” she proposed, referring to the anonymous person who invented Blockchain and cryptocurrency and theorizing this hypothetical show could focus on the mysterious inventor, who could be female.
“Let’s have them start in cyberspace as boss bitches and [do something] futuristic and cool. It would blow your mind,” Cassidy added.