‘Glow’ star Alison Brie: ‘In our show, anyone could break their neck at any time’

Netflix’s all-female wrestling smash is back for round two

If you’re one of those people who thinks everything was better in the ‘80s, then surprise Netflix hit ‘Glow’ will be right up your street. Stuffed with huge hair, massive pop anthems and a whole lot of drama, season one took a look at the lives of a group of female wrestlers on a brand new, lycra-tastic TV show.

Now, after 10 episodes of brainbusters, chokeslams and piledrivers, our ragtag band of ring kings is back for round two.

We buddied up with stars Alison Brie (Ruth Wilder) and Betty Gilpin (Debbie Eagan) to talk break-dancing, Kate Nash and not ending up in hospital.

One of this season’s best scenes is the breakdance routine in episode two…

Alison Brie: “Oh, yeah! That was actually all me. The showrunners on ‘Glow’ must have a lot of confidence in the cast because they throw so much at us. I remember last year when Gayle Rankin (Sheila the She-Wolf) had to play the keyboard in an episode. I read it in the script and said: ‘Oh Gayle, do you play piano?’ She was like, ‘no’ [laughs]. It’s always fun to get a script and see: ‘Alison, in addition to wrestling next week you’re gonna be in for break-dancing lessons too’.”

Who taught you the moves?

AB: “I got to do it with Shakira Barrera who’s a new cast member. She actually is a dancer, so helped make me look good. You’ll notice when watching the episode that the camera sort of veers to her side of the ring during some of the more difficult moves…”

Glow season 2

Betty Gilpin knocks out the opposition as All-American sweetheart ‘Liberty Belle’

Wrestling is actually quite dangerous — did any of the moves hurt?

Betty Gilpin: “Those wrestling mats aren’t soft at all — it really hurts!”

AB: “I think they pad our ring slightly more than they pad up professional wrestling rings…”

BG: “I can’t believe that.”

AB: “I know! The truth is they can’t give us too much protection because if the ring is too soft it affects balance and the way that you can execute moves. When we’re training they’ll ask us what size pad we wanna practice on and often we’ll choose the smallest even though it hurts the most. All of the women on the show do their own stunts because we love doing it and we feel a lot of pride in learning all of the moves. But every so often you’ll do something wrong and get the wind knocked out of you. It’s only then that you remember: ‘Oh yeah, any one of us could break our neck at any time!”

Did you meet any of the original ‘Glow’ cast members?

AB: “We actually went to a WWE RAW wrestling match and got to meet some of them there. They’ve been incredibly supportive and it’s funny to hear how they can relate to our characters on the show. We’re not using any real stories from their lives, so it’s nice to hear that we’re doing it right.”

How long does it take to get into full wrestling gear?

BG: “You sit in the chair for two hours before shooting while award-winning artists are painting and sculpting your hair and face. Then it’s your job to preserve their art for a 16-hour day! Whenever you’re walking in the wind, eating a snack or you go pee — they’re like: ‘My masterpiece! Careful, careful, careful!’ It’s like walking around on eggshells.”

AB: “For Zoya, I wear a lot of black lipstick and after eating something I’ll forget I’m in character. Then I’ll go to the bathroom and be like: ‘Oh my god, I look like a corpse!’”

BG: “Yeah! I’ll take a bite of something and then look at the food and it’s just covered in red glitter.”

AB: “The amount of lipstick we eat, that we ingest, I’m sure is an unhealthy amount.”

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Kate Nash and Britney Young as ring queens Rhonda and Carmen

Were you aware of Kate Nash before the show?

AB: “It took me a minute to realise that I was a fan, but one of her big songs ‘Happy Mary’ was used in an episode of ‘Community’. So I started looking her up and remembered that, of course, I knew her. Later, all the girls from ‘Glow’ went to see her in concert in Los Angeles. Kate is such a magical spirit on set, but to see her on stage as the rockstar she is was really moving.”

BG: “I’ve always been a fan. I had a lot of her songs on my iPod.”

Can Ruth and Debbie ever be friends again?

BG: “I would say that this season shows how they get to grips with their new roles as creators on ‘Glow’. But they also have to navigate the weird ocean that is their friendship. I think they both want to be friends again but there are so many difficult steps they have to take to get there. This time, they’re forced into taking those steps.”

AB: “[Season two] comes with a lot of new challenges that people don’t expect. Even in semi-success, they have to deal with small time fame, fans and a new competitive nature between the girls, not just Debbie and Ruth.”

Glow season two is streaming now on Netflix