Life in Hollywood wasn’t always easy for Katie Cassidy.
The 31-year-old actress, who stars as dual superhero/supervillain Black Canary and Black Siren in the comic book series “Arrow,” recently teamed up with Capital One to introduce the Financial Superpower experience, a new financial wellness/improvement program, at Capital One Cafes across the country.
It’s a partnership that hits close to home, she told Fox News.
Cassidy revealed that at age 17 she was ready to embark on her Hollywood career, but funds were lacking.
“My mother and stepfather basically said 'Alright, we wish you the best of luck, but you’re on your own,'” Cassidy recalled. “I actually had to start from nothing and build my own way out of it by making financial goals… It’s been an interesting journey, but one I can relate to in terms of struggling.”
However, Cassidy is no stranger to the limelight. The Los Angeles native is the daughter of former teenage heartthrob David Cassidy, still remembered for his hit ‘70s series “The Partridge Family.”
Both her grandparents, Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward, were actors. And her father's real stepmother was Academy Award-winning actress Shirley Jones, who co-starred with him in the beloved show.
While show business may run in Cassidy’s blood, she insists her last name was never a free pass to fame.
“I was so nervous when I moved out at 18,” she said. “I had a couple thousand dollars to my name. I remember it was all trial and error for me. I had to figure it all out on my own.
"I wished I did had someone to talk to who could have helped me feel better about my situation. And knowing I wasn’t the only one out there. I remember I had to go and ask my mom for groceries sometimes because I wasn’t the best person with budgeting. I had to learn the hard way, but you live and learn. It builds character and strength," she noted.
Cassidy also shared she didn’t grow up with her biological father, who passed away in late 2017 at age 67 from liver failure.
“I have his blood in me, but I grew up with my mom and stepdad,” she explained. “Most people don’t know that… I was probably a little pissed off at the time when they were like, ‘Sorry, we’re not helping you. You’re on your own.’ But I have to say that I’m really glad they did that because it taught me so much. And I had to learn everything on my own and figure it all out… I had to learn to build confidence, self-esteem and achieving those financial goals.
“David Cassidy is my father, yes… But for me, it was always really important with acting to stay in class, study it and earn it on my own. My dad didn’t help me. I think having the last name, in my opinion, put a lot more pressure on me throughout the process of auditioning because you’re held under a microscope. People have certain expectations. But at the end of the day, talent is talent. You have to be able to deliver.”
And Cassidy’s determination to make it as an actress has paid off. She has been starring as the masked blonde bombshell since 2012 and is gearing up to launch Season 7 debuting sometime this year. She previously appeared in “Gossip Girl,” “Supernatural” and “7th Heaven,” among other hit TV shows.
Still, playing a crime-fighter doesn’t get easy with time.
“Unfortunately, yes, there have been times that stuff happens,” said Cassidy about accidents happening on set. “But that’s why we have an incredible stunt crew. I have a stunt double so if something’s going to be dangerous, she jumps in for me. But I also went through fight training. They actually let me do a lot of the fight scenes on my own once I had the proper training. And it’s really fun. I have a blast.”
“And to play a superhero, you have to look like a superhero,” she chuckled. “So you have to find the time to go to the gym in the middle of filming. But it definitely pays off. And it’s always worth it. I just feel so fortunate and so grateful."
Cassidy hopes the lasting success of “Arrow” will lead to a possible film in the near future.
In 2017, the Associated Press reported “Wonder Woman,” which starred Gal Gadot, was a massive box office hit, pulling in an estimated $57.2 million in North American theaters during opening weekend. The action film, directed by Patty Jenkins, quickly earned $205 million domestically in two weeks.
“I think [a Black Canary film] would be fantastic as long as they’re casting me in it,” she laughed. “I hate to say that, but the truth is, this is a character I’ve played for six years, so I feel very close to her… I worked my ass off for it. So that would be awesome. I would love it. I’m just putting it out there to the universe in case somebody is [reading] this at some point and wants to make that movie. I would love to be a part of it.”
Cassidy is grateful for her success and wants the world to know she achieved it on her own terms. That’s the reason why she turned down a chance to hang out with Britain’s Prince Harry while vacationing in Miami with friends back in 2014.
Cassidy was single at the time and Prince Harry, who was also with friends, had just broken up with his ex-girlfriend, British actress Cressida Bonas.
She told ET in April she didn’t want to be labeled as “Harry’s girl” by the tabloids and wanted to preserve her own identity.
“Earning it on my own merit is how I live my life,” said Cassidy. “So no, I was not about to go get photographed with Prince Harry. That was not something that was in my interest. I was basically like, ‘Thank you, but no thank you with all due respect I can’t be photographed with you guys.’
"The next day, I saw them and they basically said to me and my girlfriends, ‘You know what? We actually have respect for you guys. That’s the coolest thing ever. Nobody has ever said no to us. It’s kind of really awesome. And I was like, ‘Well, somehow now has!’”
Harry would go on to marry former “Suits” actress Meghan Markle. And now Cassidy is gearing up to tie the knot with Matthew Rodgers.
And as Cassidy continues to embark on her journey in Hollywood, she says she’ll never forget the biggest piece of advice she received from her father.
“He said, ‘Don’t ever stop learning,’” he recalled. “‘You can never learn too much. Don’t ever stop developing, building your craft, going to classes and studying.’ He said, ‘If you want to do this, know it is hard. You need to be serious about it.’ And once he saw that I was and did take it seriously, he was 100 percent supportive… And everybody has a superhero inside of them.”