GLOW Season 2 has bigger hair, better wrestling and badder behavior from the rag-tag bunch of characters that turned ‘80s nostalgia into something more heartfelt during the debut season of the Netflix Original Series last year.
Just ask breakout star Britney Young, the Alaskan actress who plays fan-favorite character Carmen Wade (aka Machu Picchu), who ditches her gentle nature in favor of domination when she gets inside the ring.
Young opened up in an exclusive interview with PopCulture recently about what the second season of the hit show, which hits Netflix on Friday, June 29, brings to the table — other than a classic soundtrack and wardrobe so neon it will hurt your eyes.
"Season 2 is fantastic," she gushed to PopCulture, calling it "bigger, badder better."
The sophomore season of the show, which loosely tells the story of the founding of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, picks up after the women proved themselves as real competitors in the first GLOW championship, and are preparing to film the actual first season of GLOW within GLOW (You follow?). But with that first success comes a lot more pressure to take things up a few notches, and the consequences that a little bit of fame can have on the characters.
"We’re definitely ramping it up," Young said. "There’s a lot more wrestling and we delve in a little bit more into all these characters. We learn a lot more about these girls, and how they’ve come to be where they are, and we see a lot more of their relationships with each other."
With such big personalities in the same ring, there is always bound to be rivalry and competition as part of the refreshingly real portrayals of women that earned GLOW almost-unanimous praise after its premiere in 2017. And there's more to come in the upcoming season, Young said.
"They kind of become micro-celebrities, and it's really interesting to see how each girl reacts to it," she explained. "Because you’ve got Melrose (Jackie Tohn), who wants to be signing autographs and doing photoshoots, and then you kind of have like Sheila (Gayle Rankin) and Carmen who are like, 'We’re just here for the wrestling. Let’s just wrestle.'"
Young said she didn't expect to become one of the series' most beloved characters when she first was cast in the role of the "gentle giant" character who overcomes stage fright and her family's expectations to become a star in the ring.
“I’ll be honest, I think the reason I was so surprised came from a place of insecurity within myself," she told PopCulture. "I was like, here we have this cast of 14 gorgeous, amazing women who are prancing around in leotards and great hair and really living the '80s, and then here I am in men’s basketball shorts and no makeup on. Nobody’s going to pay attention."
She continued, "The overwhelming support and the overwhelming love for Carmen really did take me by surprise. I mean, I think she’s such a great character and she's so much fun to play, so to see people really react to her strongly ... thank you everyone for loving this person for exactly the same reasons that I love her.”
Watching the first season, it's almost impossible not to fall in love with how real Carmen is, even if she doesn't have the most screen time of the cast. It's this authenticity, Young said, that drew her to the character in the first place.
"I'm just so honored to play a plus-sized character who's not there for an agenda," she said. "Putting her in this physical space and showing that she has strength and she has power, I think it's just something that people were like, 'Oh, I'm not going to get a weight loss story and low self-esteem out of you. You're a real person. And I think that caught people’s eye and then we started peeling back all the layers of her character, and people were just like, 'Yes, I am here for anything you have to do.'"
Carmen stans will have plenty of opportunity to cheer on Machu Picchu in Season 2, Young added, especially when it comes to time in the ring.
“For me, I swear I wrestle more than I act in Season 2," she said. "I wrestled so much, but it was something that was also so rewarding. Being a plus-sized woman and being on such an athletic show, for me to kind of have the character that is the wrestling savant is really heartwarming, and I definitely have some really great matches."
Ramping things up in the ring came with some serious time in the ring and gym off-camera for the show's stars, all of whom do their own stunts. In addition to a 4-week wrestling bootcamp, Young and her co-stars kept up their fitness routine in the off-season, even coming to their wrestling coordinators with new moves they had seen in modern matches (some of which were shot down for period accuracy).
Aside from the bumps and bruises that come with all wrestling, Young said the cast and crew has been careful to avoid major injuries. That is until an overenthusiastic forward roll took her out of training for a week.
"I got too excited about a forward roll and slammed my shoulder in to the mat too hard," she said, laughing. "I couldn’t raise my arm in front of my body or to the side ... I was like, a forward roll is what took me out? Essentially the simplest thing you can do? And I just got too crazy and took myself out.”
There's definitely plenty of personal development for Carmen this season too, Young teased, especially when it comes to her budding relationship with Sebastian "Bash" Howard (Chris Lowell). The unlikely (maybe more than) friendship definitely has legs, Young said, and fans can look forward to seeing how the characters continue to interact during the upcoming season.
"Everyone has the own theories and own ideas about what's going to happen with them," she said, "but to see people so behind a very unconventional relationship, especially unconventional for film and TV right now, was really heartwarming.”
We can’t wait to see the GLOW ladies bring it.0comments
GLOW Season 2 premieres Friday, June 29 on Netflix.
Photo Credit: Netflix