The Flash: Candice Patton on Why We Love Iris West

Candice Patton has always been a fan of the superhero genre, but that’s not what drew her to The CW’s Tuesday hit The Flash.

“For me, it’s always been more about the story and the heart and the family behind the superhero, rather than the theatrics and the special effects and the CGI,” Patton tells Zap2it. “That stuff is the icing on the cake, but if you don’t have a great story as the base, you don’t have anything to stand on. I think our show has accomplished that in a way that crosses over viewers of all races, creeds and ages. That’s such an awesome thing.”

Her character, plucky journalist Iris West, has become a fan favorite, but some viewers were put off during Season 1 as Iris inadvertently caused problems for hero Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) while she struggled to find herself.

“I think some audiences today are reticent to actually watch characters, especially women, have an arc,” Patton says. “They want their women to have it all together the moment they see them and keep it together all the way through, which is just not true of human nature. What drew me to Iris is that we met her as a young woman who is trying to find herself in her career and her relationships. We have to allow characters to evolve, to have these arcs, because without them, they’re not characters, they’re just archetypes.”

RELATED: Candice Patton is still waiting for Iris to graduate college

Patton says she caught the acting bug as a child, watching vintage I Love Lucy reruns and yearning to do what Lucille Ball did. She began doing plays in high school, then studied theater in college, where she was spotted by a CBS talent scout and flown out to California for a short gig on The Young and the Restless before returning to finish her studies.

After graduation, she went back to Los Angeles, where she lived frugally while throwing herself wholeheartedly into acting.

“At first, I didn’t get a lot of acting jobs, but I’d get a commercial that would be enough to sustain me,” she explains. “I could survive on one or two of those a year. Things weren’t easy, but I made a career decision not to spend time on a job that I hated.”