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'Arrow' Star Katherine McNamara Loves Being A "Sci-Fi Action Hero" — EXCLUSIVE

Have you ever stumbled upon a photo of celebrity and immediately wondered what they were thinking in that very moment? In Elite Daily’s series, I Can Explain…, we’re asking celebrities to revisit their most memorable photos and tell us exactly what was going on in their heads. Whether they open up about an iconic look or a hilarious red carpet incident, we’re traveling back in time to find out what really went down.

For a girl who grew up thinking she could never be strong, Arrow star Katherine McNamara has played some pretty badass characters. The actor rose to fame fighting demons as Clary in the beloved Freeform series Shadowhunters, and now kicks butt as the vigilante Mia in The CW's Arrow. But it wasn't always her plan to get into this genre of acting.

"I’ve sort of accidentally fallen into this world of sci-fi action heroes, but I love it," she tells Elite Daily. "I was a dancer as a kid, but I was never a fighter. I didn’t know how to throw a punch, I didn’t know how to throw a sword, I didn’t know anything."

It was her experience filming Shadowhunters that taught McNamara to reshape her ideas about strength, and now she's proud to use that confidence to inspire others. "As a kid, of the Disney princesses, Mulan and Pocahontas were always my girls. They were the warrior princesses … [who] fought their own battles and stood up for themselves," she says. "Now, getting to be that person for other people out there, it’s very humbling."

The CW

And she doesn't have any plans to slow down now: In September, it was announced an Arrowverse spinoff starring McNamara is in the works, and a backdoor pilot for the potential new show will air sometime during Arrow Season 8.

But ahead of that, she teases a bit of what's to come in her current show's final season. "Each episode is a real love letter to something that has created the legacy of Arrow," she says. "For Mia in particular, it’s a very interesting season because she’s been quite the lone wolf her entire life. Now that she has a team — and a family and a brother — it changes everything."

While McNamara's fans know her for her action-packed work onscreen, she is pretty heroic IRL as well. When I ask her about this photo I came across of her wearing matching baseball outfits with Selena Gomez, her eyes light up as she explains the story behind it. "It’s for this thing called the Big Slick, which is something very important to me and something that I really, truly love," she says, talking about the charity event benefiting a children's hospital in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. "We all get to hang out and be silly, and people get to watch a bunch of actors play baseball, which is very funny ... You just realize the power that humanity still has and the good of humanity in this world when so many things aren’t."

@kat.mcnamara/Elite Daily