You know what the world needs right now? Women kicking serious ass. We've already gotten a taste of it with Wonder Woman; doesn't it feel good? Don't you want more? I know I do, which is why I am beyond hyped for the new Netflix original show, GLOW. The title stands for "Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling," but let me tell you, this isn't going to feature a cast of thin white women prancing around a wrestling ring. No, there will be real women of all races, ages and body types coming together to create a wrestling show that gives male wrestlers a run for their money.
Enter Britney Young, a relative newcomer and one of the stars of GLOW. She spoke to SheKnows over the phone recently about GLOW and why this show is quite unlike anything we've seen before. With the brightness in her voice, it was tough not to end up feeling just as excited as she sounds as she explained how GLOW flips the script on the ways in which women can be seen as beautiful and powerful as well as detailing how she relates to her character, Carmen, a young woman who "comes from a wrestling dynasty family. Her father is a wrestler, her two brothers are wrestlers. She was raised by them in this environment; however, was never really allowed to participate," Young details.
As for Carmen's GLOW journey in this first season, Young also gave me a hint about what we can expect. "Her dream is to be a wrestler. She kinda hears inklings around this audition for this female wrestling show GLOW. So, she shows up and is kinda finally like, 'Yes, this is my dream. I’m ready. Let’s do this.' Once she starts being introduced to the more Hollywood side of things, like being in front of audiences and being on camera, she kinda starts to question [if] being a wrestler is what she really wants."
Straight off the bat, I asked Young what she believed was special about GLOW. She gently laughed and said, "Hmm, how do I narrow this down?" before launching into her explanation.
"To be honest, I think what I find so special about and what really gravitated me towards the project as a whole is the fact that not only is it a show that’s predominately showcasing female characters, but we’re showcasing female characters in a way that I’ve never seen on TV before," Young tells me. "There’s other show out there like Orange Is the New Black — which is fantastic — which is showing how women are surviving in the real world in their jobs, in the prison system. With GLOW, it’s showing how women are surviving in this physical world. How are we showing that they are more than just faces, more than just their looks?"
For Young, this includes showing women living within and outside of typical '80s stereotypes of women: "More than just big hair — especially in the ‘80s. I think that’s great. I mean, all of us girls do our own stunts. We do all the wrestling ourselves. It’s not stunt doubles. I really think that’s something very special in this day and age where it’s like, 'Oh no, be delicate, be nice,' and we’re like, 'No. Let’s get sweaty. Let’s get gross. Let’s start throwing some bodies around.'"
As Young revealed, all of the women in GLOW are actually doing their own stunts. Of course things are choreographed for safety, but when you see Young slam down GLOW star Alison Brie (of Community fame), you're actually seeing these two women go head-to-head. This is just another thing that sets GLOW apart from other boundary-pushing, female-led shows; get pumped, guys.
Young explained to me just how the cast trained for these intense scenes. "Before we started shooting, we actually spent four weeks training with our stunt coordinator, Shauna Duggins, and our wrestling coordinator, Chavo Guerrero Jr. […] It’s really funny because I remember the first day we went in, Chavo was like, 'OK, girls, I’m going to teach you how to get in the ring, how to walk around the ring.' We’d spend hours doing that and we’d be like, 'We know how to get into the ring. We know how to walk around.' And when we started doing it, it was so not normal to us. We were like, 'OK, this is going to be a tough road.'"
The most important message Young hopes viewers take away from GLOW at the end of the day is that this is a show about women winning and that one woman winning in particular is a win for women everywhere. "I think that show really demonstrates where you can be someone who is trying to follow your dreams and find yourself and still be part of a team whose goals are exactly the same. You can be an individual and want good things for yourself and still want good things for all those people around you. Especially in this day where we have 'squads' and women against women, you know, we don’t need that. Me succeeding is me succeeding for women."
Young's success, as well as the successes of the female-led GLOW, definitely feels like a win for women everywhere. Inclusive, feminist and rad as hell, you need to be streaming this show ASAP.
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