Dear Stephen Amell,
We’ve never met. I didn’t stand in line at Phoenix Comicon this year to take a photo with you, because I wasn’t an Arrow fangirl yet (I know, I’m late to the party, but I’ve caught up!). I haven’t interacted with you very much on social media. We haven’t sat down to share a beer and bullshit or geek out over superheroes and wine (although it happens in my dreams sometimes). And I know that it’s customary to at least buy someone dinner before sharing this sentiment…but I’m here to tell you that I adore you.
Don’t worry, this isn’t the creepy sort of love letter that will have you calling your lawyer for a potential restraining order (at least, I hope not). This is more of a letter to thank you for being a badass, inspiring good, and seeming like the kind of person I genuinely would like to sit down and have a beer with, which I think is kind of rare in the entertainment industry as of late.
Stephen Amell, I like lists, so here are the reasons that I (and I’m sure so many other people) adore you:
1. My God, you give back. With great power comes great responsibility (I had to), and I’d say you’ve been more than responsible by leveraging your fan base and fame to raise and donate money for well deserving charitable organizations. I mean, your F*ck Cancer t-shirt campaign has raised over a million dollars for a cause that will undoubtedly touch everyone on the planet during their lifetime (be it personally or peripherally). As someone who has seen the evil of cancer in family and friends, thank you for caring and choosing to support something so important. And the work you’ve done for Prayers for Sophie (and the hilarious and genius Movember campaign, the Justache League of America)? Keep fighting the good fight, because this sort of thing makes you a real life hero.
2. You take the time to interact with your fans. I attended one of the many writers’ panels at Phoenix Comicon this year and one of the nuggets of knowledge I walked away with was that in order to be truly successful in the entertainment industry, you have to be accessible to your fans. Which seems simple, but I know that it’s work—and a lot of it. It’s a daily hustle that takes you away from your family, friends, other obligations—all that good stuff that undoubtedly deserves your attention. But you get that your fans deserve your attention, too. You make the effort. You let your fans connect with you and in doing that, you make them feel special. That’s pretty selfless. And pretty damn cool.
3. You make wine, too? Okay, every wine-drinking fanboy and fangirl will relate with this one. First, you do all those reps on the salmon ladder on camera and then you tell us you’re a wine god, too? Stephen Amell, that’s not fair…But in all seriousness, it’s pretty respectable that you have a “normal” gig on top of your Arrow gig (we starving artists who haven’t caught our big break can relate!). And it’s clear that you put effort and love into Nocking Point, which makes for a successful business venture. A business man and a hero? Stop it! I, for one, am thrilled that I can doubly support you by drinking the glory of the gods and watching your TV show (often simultaneously).
4. You clearly don’t back away from a challenge. I’ll be honest. I didn’t particularly like Arrow when I watched the first few episodes. Since I wasn’t familiar with the character, I was pretty turned off by how un-herolike Oliver Queen seemed. Of course, as I got further and further into the series, I realized that the Arrow show is all about origins and character development. We have to watch Oliver make his way through the good, bad, and the ugly to recognize his potential. And that’s a hard role to take on. It’s much easier from an acting standpoint to take on a character that’s immediately likeable, who can charm the pants off your audience from day one. But you didn’t do that. You accepted the role of a character who’s rough around the edges and who isn’t going to win us over every time; there’s complexity there and a significant challenge. Bravo for taking that on. And I have to commend you on doing your own stunts and training as hard as you do, too, physically and mentally. Like I said, clearly you like a challenge. And we like watching the fruits of your labor. (I could put another salmon ladder reference here, but I’ll be classy and abstain.)
5. The bromance with Grant Gustin is, at times, more than I can take! It’s pretty obvious that you and Grant are two peas in a pod. All we have to do is watch interviews like this one to see that. It’s awesome to see camaraderie between cast mates that runs deep. By the way, the Flash/Arrow crossover makes me so happy. I love you both in your roles and enjoy watching you interact.
6. You seem so freaking down-to-earth. From football fanaticism to pictures of your stinkin’ adorable family, you seem like such a normal dude, Stephen Amell. Yes, you’ve got this crazy job of playing a comic book character on TV, but I can relate to decorating a Christmas tree with my family and wearing rainbow socks to the gym. You seem like the kind of guy who works hard, loves life, makes a few mistakes here and there, follows dreams, and hopes it all turns out all right. And isn’t that what we’re all doing?
7. Your show brings me and my boyfriend together. My boyfriend and I have vastly different tastes in shows and movies. I’m all about high drama and horror while he definitely prefers comedy and feel good programming. But one thing we do agree on? All things comic-related. So Arrow is something that we sit down to enjoy together on a weekly basis. It’s something we can share. Because the couple that geeks out together…yeah, we’re doing good.
Okay, I’m ending my list there. I’m going to practice self-restraint and resist the urge to fangirl all day and turn this letter into a novel.
I’m sure so many of your fans will call me out on what I didn’t include in this open love letter…but doesn’t that just prove my reason for writing it?
Stephen Amell, you’re pretty adorable. Just wanted to let you know.
Tiffany Michelle Brown