Britney Young captivated audiences last summer in GLOW, and quickly became our favorite character as “Carmen ‘Machu Picchu’ Wade” in the body-slamming, spandex-wearing, female-driven comedy based on the 1980’s women’s wrestling league “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.” Young, who also stars in the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has become a fan-favorite for representing strong women and body positivity both on and off-screen, and we were thrilled at the chance to catch up with her before she steals the show (and our hearts) once more in season 2 of GLOW, which premieres on Netflix TODAY!
AfterEllen.com: What drew you to the role?
Britney Young: Before getting the audition for GLOW, I had seen an article on Deadline.com that Netflix and Jenji Kohan were doing the series. The article included a picture of the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and I immediately honed in on Emily Dole who played the amazing, Mt. Fiji. She had huge hair and a HUGE smile and I was immediately drawn to her. I looked at the other women in the picture and saw how diverse they were and how they represented so many types of women that you still don’t even see on TV now a days. I thought to myself, if GLOW can depict the same amount of diversity as its original, I want to be a part of it.
I was lucky enough to get an email from my agent a few days later confirming that I had gotten an audition. When I read the character description for Carmen and saw they were looking for a “gentle giant”, it only heightened my excitement to be a part of the show. I get so many casting breakdowns looking for plus size actresses where they describe the character as: intimidating, a bully, menacing, insecure. To see that they wanted a bigger actress to actually play a NICE person… I was blown away! In Hollywood, plus size characters are still often regulated to being the mean girls or the girls with low self-esteem. The fact that GLOW was stepping outside the box and actually wanted Carmen to be a nice person really stood out to me and I am very proud to say I play a character who’s size does not serve an agenda, but helps to properly represent another faction of women in America.
AE: What aspect of Carmen do you relate to most?
BY: I relate to Carmen a lot, mostly that we are both kind people who care about and support our friends and family. I really loved how Carmen came into this new family of women, and even though she was shy and bit insecure of herself, she did all she could to make sure these women learned how to wrestle and learned about the wrestling culture. That is very much something she carries over into Season 2 and takes on a more trainer like role this season.
AE: Were you new to wrestling when you started this role? Had you ever watched it before, or tried it?
BY: YES! I was newborn baby new! I mean, growing up wrestling was quite popular amongst my friends, but I never got into it. I believed (forgive me wrestling fans) that it was fake. It wasn’t until getting GLOW and stepping into the ring for the first time that I really understood what wrestling is all about. Our wrestling coordinator, Chavo Guererro Jr., and fellow cast mate Kia Stevens, really opened my eyes to what a team driven and technically beautiful sport wrestling is; That’s where I started to really gain a new love and appreciation for it.
AE: How do you train to do the stunts?
BY: Before both seasons 1 & 2 we went through a four week wrestling boot camp. We trained five days a week, three to four hours a day with Chavo and our stunt coordinator, Shauna Duggins. From the very get go we were all down to try whatever Chavo and Shauna asked of us, but I think it was very eye opening when we realized we really needed to start at the beginning and take baby steps. The first day of training, Chavo told us to get in the ring and we all thought we could but then walking up to the ropes we realized it might be a bit more difficult than we thought. From there we learned things like forward rolls, back bumps, running the ropes and then slowly started to incorporate bigger moves and choreography as the weeks went on. We continued to train as the season started shooting, which at times could be taxing because sometimes you would have to shoot a scene in the morning and then be in the gym training that afternoon but it’s so worth it. We all love wrestling, learning new moves and seeing how big we can make it all.
AE: Is there a scene from the show that was particularly physically challenging?
BY: Yes! But I will say even though it’s physically challenging, it’s so rewarding when you’ve finished shooting. You’re so pumped and to see the other girls and crew members equally as pumped is a great feeling. In season 2, I have one wrestling scene where I actually go up against a few of the girls. This was challenging because we had to shoot it start to finish, back to back, many times. I was sweating profusely. Thank goodness our showrunners like the authenticity of sweat because I was dripping! After the first take I literally collapsed on the mat, breathing heavily, and just heard the hoots and hollers of everyone on set because they were just amazed at what I had done. I was also just extremely proud that I could actually wrestle this many girls and look like a total badass doing it. I got very emotional after shooting this scene as well, because it’s very rare to see an active plus size character on TV where their physical activity has nothing to do with losing weight and gaining self-esteem. Here I was, as Carmen, showing that being bigger does not limit my physical capability. If anything, I use it as an advantage and completely dominate the ring. I was very touched that our writers gave me such an amazing physical moment; It was very meaningful to me.
AE: What can we look forward to about the new season?
BY: Season 2 is AMAZING!!! In the season we see the GLOW gals finally shooting the first season of GLOW. We dive deeper into the relationships and friendships amongst the girls and even see some rivalries and competition start to form. They have also found a little bit of fame, so we get to see how each girl deals with being a micro celebrity. We have some great new characters who I think fans will love…or hate (muahaha!) There is a lot more wrestling! A lot more 80s fun with costumes, hair, music and of course, glitter!
AE: We are a lesbian site so I have to ask you this next one. Do you think there will be any lady love interests coming up?
BY: Yes! We have a brand new character Yolanda, played by the fabulous Shakira Barerra, and she is an out and proud Mexican American dancer who shakes up Season 2 a bit. You’ll have to tune in to see exactly how she does that! But, something that is very important to our writers and us as a cast is that we represent all kinds of people from all backgrounds. We are very excited to have an LGBTQ character on the show and discuss topics like sexual orientation, dating and relationships.
AE: What do you hope viewers take from the show?
BY: I hope that people take away a sense of empowerment. We want everyone to walk away feeling empowered regardless of gender, ethnicity, physicality, or socio-economic status. We want viewers to see that you can overcome your fears and restrictions that you put upon yourself and you can accomplish the things you dreamed of.
Check out the trailer for season 2, which premieres TODAY!