Women of 'GLOW' talk heart of cheesy '80s wrestling and their favorite moves
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are back this summer, this time as a fictionalized dramedy on Netflix.
GLOW was originally a ladies wrestling show that gained popularity in the last 1980s. Netflix, riding on the fervor for nostalgia, brings back that campy ‘80s wrestling goodness on Friday with its own rendition of GLOW. The 10-episode series hails from Orange is the New Black's Jenji Kohan and Carly Mensch and Homeland's Lisa Flahive, and stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron.
Two of the series' breakout stars Sydelle Noel and Britney Young recently called to chat about training with Chavo Guerrero Jr. and falling in love with wrestling.
Sydelle Noel plays Cherry Bang, who turns into "Junk Chain" in the ring.
What makes your character, Cherry, tick? How does she relate to her alter-ego "Junk Chain?"
My character has been in the (acting) business, so I'm the one more opinionated, more against (the ring characters). But I also want to have a name for myself. She definitely doesn't want to play "Junk Chain," it's to stereotypical, but all the other girls are going for it (their characters). She's a former stunt double for Foxy Brown (Pam Grier), so she wants to be more noticed. She wants to be Foxy Brown now. At the end she's coming into her own and actually begins to like wrestling.
What was your reaction to becoming part of a show about cheesy 1980s women's wrestling?
I didn't know what GLOW was until a few hours before my audition. After, I spent hours on YouTube watching every clip I could find. I was in awe of these women. Those women did it for real; it totally moved me. Wrestling was a man's world, but here were are doing it, and doing it better, I say.
Tell me about some of your favorite wrestling moves.
The axe kick. I think I do it in Episode 10. Not as much flare, but I like it because it accents my legs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. was our coordinator. We trained for a month before even shooting. We learned flips, jumping off the ropes; even if we never did those moves. He wanted us to be prepared for everything.
Britney Young plays Carmen Wade, who becomes "Machu Pichu" in the ring.
So Carmen comes from a wrestling family -- her dad and two brothers are famous for it. How do you think she's trying to fit into that?
She has so many layers. At the beginning she's kind of this shy, really introverted woman. She's holding something back. It finally comes out that she's from this wrestling family, but her dad and brothers don't want her to wrestle. She has this dream, but doesn't have the confidence to get there. You get to watch her become part of this team, making friends with women for the first time. She stares all her fears and anxieties in the face and becomes "Machu Pichu," which is the opposite of her.
What was your reaction to becoming a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling?
I saw an article that Jenji Kohan was making this TV show about GLOW. I thought, "Wow this sounds really interesting. I wonder if there would be a part for me."
I freaked out (when I got the part). They sent us a clip of the original GLOW girls doing the raps you see in Episode 8 and I watched it like 25 times. I thought, "What is this insanity? I need to be a part of it." That led to a YouTube rabbit hole of matches, raps and skits. I fell in love with it.
You get to do some pretty sweet moves in the show. What are your favorites?
I love running the ropes; ricocheting back and forth on the ropes. Chavo Guerrero used to make fun of me -- I'm a bigger girl so he expected me to have long strides. But I run like a T-rex and the girls would laugh and laugh. I love it, though. It really adds to the character of "Machu Pichu."
It took me a while to get suplexes, but I get to do one in one of the episodes. We trained for four weeks, three to four hours a day. It was very intense. There were so many new sensations on your body. And then you're slamming into the ground and throwing and catching people.
What do you hope people get out of watching the show?
We kind of have this idea that if you go and try to better yourself and accomplish your goals that you're not part of a team. But it's the opposite on our show. Carmen is going after her dream but she's also part of this awesome team. You can still want to better yourself, but you're still part of society and helping society better itself.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.
All episodes of GLOW premiere at 3 a.m. Friday on Netflix.