With its sharp writing, compelling characters, and a bitchin’ ’80s soundtrack, GLOW had all of the makings of a hit early on. The Netflix series was quick to game acclaim from critics and audiences alike, putting female stories into the forefront in a way that few shows do.
Despite a packed slate of standout characters, one of the clearest breakouts from season one was Britney Young’s Carmen, a.k.a. Macchu Picchu, whose optimism and family dynamics endeared her to viewers from the start. Young was kind enough to speak to Uproxx on the phone ahead of the new season, breaking down the appeal of the GLOW set, what to expect from season two, and how diversity in Hollywood needs to catch up to real life.
The first season of GLOW really came out of nowhere. At what point did you know that you were working on something special?
Not to be cliche, but when I read our pilot, essentially the first time I read it through, I was like, “I cannot believe this is what I’m about to be involved in.” I think it was only further confirmed when we had our first table read, and it was the first time that the 15 of us had sat down and really gotten to know each other and got to know our characters. It’s just good writing is good writing, and chemistry is chemistry, you know?
It felt so different. It’s crazy that in 2018 the idea of such a diverse cast of women — color, age, body type — represented, and it’s still revolutionary. It’s so refreshing to see though.
I think too, a mixture of the Eighties itself, it’s a happy decade. You kind of want to see how far we really push it.
Yeah, definitely. Not every show has a cocaine robot.
What do you think it is about GLOW that people responded to so much? Do you think it was the characters or the setting, or combination of both? Why do you think it took off like it did?
I definitely think it’s a combination of both. I think like you said, not only do we have just an array of different women represented ethnicity wise, age wise, background wise, and I think what made it so successful from the get-go was that a lot of women were drawn in because it is an all-female cast. It is from the production team that gave you Orange Is The New Black, so you know that there’s going to be some real meaty and real authentic female stories told. But then what I think brought in everyone else, all the male viewers, I think was that we just have so many relatable stories. We have so many relatable situations.
I got a lot when I posted a picture on my Instagram about the day I shot Carmen’s panic attack. I had so many different kinds of people send me messages just saying, “I really, really responded to the scene and here’s why,” and that was great just to see that we’re looking past the fact that these were female stories, and seeing them as universal stories. Good writing is good writing.
But I think again, the atmosphere, the 80s, I think we’re the only show, outside of Stranger Things that doesn’t just spin the top of being an ’80s period show. Most shows are kind of just like, “Oh, we got big bangs, they’re wearing neon shorts” and that’s about it. Everything on our show is authentic, down to period-appropriate deodorant in a locker that’s never going to be opened.
That is attention to detail right there.
Yes, we have attention to detail across the board. The music, the lighting, the color scheme, the costumes, the hair, the makeup. I think a lot of people feel nostalgic.