This past week, Netflix released their latest show, GLOW, and the show was streamed to glowing reviews. Pardon the pun. For those unaware, the premise revolves around a struggling actress in the 80's (played by Alison Brie) who lands a career making part. Though, the role isn't quite what she expected it to be as the job places her smack dead head first in the middle of a ring as a wrestler. Beyond the ropes and glamour, GLOW is a hilarious and endearing tale of sisterhood, feminist values, identity, and friendship catered to the masses in spandex. For wrestling fans and casual binge television viewers alike, GLOW is a must see series for everyone and much of that has to do with the cast itself.
Much like the real life cult favorite wrestling series that inspired the fictionalized plot, GLOW features a splendid mix of diverse ladies who all share tremendous chemistry with one another. Apart from Brie, Marc Maron, and perhaps a few pro wrestler cameos which only pro wrestling fans are going to recognize, the cast is made up of entirely unknown actors. Despite having a few years of acting under their belts before landing their first major roles here, they all do stellar jobs and give fantastic performances. So much so that these virtually unknown faces deserve some recognition coming their way. With that said, this article is going to name drop some of those impressive names among GLOW's roster and in the process, provide some nice facts you may not have heard beforehand.
15 Jackie Tohn's Big Break Was On The Nanny
Jackie Tohn is just as bitingly sarcastic and witty in real life as her character of Melrose on GLOW, if not more. Prior to GLOW, Tohn has led a rather interesting career for herself as an actress, a singer, and a stand-up comedian. At one point, she even auditioned for American Idol, albeit unsuccessfully. Tohn has been acting ever since the age of nine years old with her first big role being as Fran Drescher's little cousin, Tiffany, on The Nanny for the episode "The Family Plumbing." Though it was a gig that failed to provide long-term success for Tohn, it was her first big break nonetheless. Hopefully, he role on GLOW manages to finally launch her into major Hollywood circles, which she deserves due to her performance on the show.
14 Sunita Mani Starred In "Turn Down For What" Video
Sunita Mani's star is slowly but surely rising to prominence in Hollywood. Prior to snagging the role of Arthie "Beirut the Mad Bomber" Premkumar on GLOW, Mani has been lucky enough to get a hold of some pretty major roles on the small screen. More than anything else, most television viewers will probably recognize Mani for her role as Trenton on the hit show Mr. Robot, but some may forget that her first big break came in a smaller (or, more appropriately, shorter) form of entertainment. She was the main girl in the music video for the smash hit Lil Jon and DJ Snake collaboration, "Turn Down For What." Her dance performance in the video earned her massive worldwide acclaim and attention. The music video alone set the stage for the success which she is finding now.
13 Betty Gilpin Got Married Right After GLOW Test Screening
Betty Gilpin (aka Debbie "Liberty Belle" Wilder on the show) is married to fellow actor, Cosmo Pfeil. The two met on the set of one of her earliest films, The Northern Kingdom when playing brother and sister. She wouldn't have even auditioned had her parents not signed her up, but she wound up acquiring (respectively) an agent and a future lover out of the experience. After years together, the two finally got hitched and right beforehand, Gilpin had her final test screening alongside Alison Brie for GLOW. As was revealed in a WTF with Marc Maron interview, Gilpin flew out of LA two days after the test screening to marry her husband. Almost immediately after the ceremony, she flew back to LA for shooting. Her and her husband spent months apart after having just tied the knot.
12 Alison Brie Has Her Own Band
Between Jackie Tohn and Kate Nash alone, there are already quite a few proven musicians among the cast of GLOW. Few viewers of the show know that the star of the show, Alison Brie, has a band of her own. Under the pseudonym of The Girls, Brie works alongside fellow actresses Cyrina Fiallo and Julianna Guill. Given that the trio treat their work as more of a part time hobby than a serious gig, they have never released an album, or singles for that matter. The three merely do some live shows on occasion where they perform covers of classic folk rock songs. Maybe thanks to their work together on GLOW, The Girls could do a serious song with Tohn and Nash one day, or maybe cover either one of their songs. We can only dream.
11 Kate Nash Became A Singer Because She Broke Her Foot
While her role as Rhonda "Britannica" Richardson on GLOW is her first major acting role to date, Kate Nash has maintained a successful music career as a pop singer for the better part of the last decade. Funny thing is she would have never taken up singing if she had not broken her foot in 2005. She broke her foot after falling down some stairs and following the nasty fall, she was forced to remain homebound to rest for an extensive period of time. In that time period, her mother bought her an electric guitar to pass the time. Nash put it to good use by writing songs and jamming out in her room. She quickly developed a passion from there that led to her recording music seriously, acquiring a manager, doing gigs, and uploading her songs online. Now, she is a bonafide award winning songstress.
10 The GLOW Showrunners Didn't Want Alison Brie On The Show
Alison Brie is undoubtedly the most high profile actress among the cast thanks to her pedigree in countless major Hollywood productions of television shows and movies. Despite this fact, no one working behind the scenes of GLOW wanted her on the show, especially not to star on it. As Brie has explained in a plethora of interviews by now, Brie was obsessed with the show the moment she received the pilot script for it and wanted to be apart of it by any means necessary. Despite her enthusiasm, the showrunners behind GLOW did not think that Brie had what it takes for GLOW nor did she have the chops to pull any of the roles off. They didn't even want her to audition. This only motivated Brie even more as she got her agents to call and hound them to no end until the showrunners finally agreed to let Brie audition, albeit numerous times. After Brie auditioned on tape, in person, in solo test screenings, and in a test screening with Betty Gilpin. Finally, she won everybody over and snagged the lead part of Ruth.
9 Ellen Wong Auditioned For First Big Role Three Times
While her GLOW role as Jenny "Fortune Cookie" Chey is quite a big role in itself, it is far from the first big role for Ellen Wong. Wong's first big break in Hollywood came in playing Knives Chau in the film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs The World, though it was not easy for Wong to snag the role by a long shot. Wong actually had to audition for the part three times before director Edgar Wright was convinced that Wong was perfectly for the role. That realization came during the second audition when Wright discovered that Wong had a green belt in tawkwondo. To Wright, the idea that this deceptively "sweetfaced" actress could be some sort of "secret badass" was very true to the character of Knives Chau. That small tidbit helped Wong earn the part by time she came back for a third audition.
8 Britney Young Spent Years As An Assistant Before GLOW
When we see actors finally reach the big time at the zenith of their career, we tend to forget that these actors have been on a long, gruelling road to the top. Actors are often humbled before being handed the keys to the Hollywood kingdom. They have to pay their dues and Britney Young is no exception. For numerous years, she worked on the sets of major Hollywood productions before even trying to land a decent role for herself. Behind the scenes of big movies like The Spongebob Movie and Savages, she worked as a production assistant and in the case of movies like R.I.P.D. and The Campaign, she was a production secretary. This trend continued until recently in the last couple years and now that she landed her first major acting role with her role as Carmen on GLOW, she's starting to earn a well deserved spot in Hollywood as a starlet.
7 Gayle Rankin Tried To Snag Alison Brie's Role
Prior to landing the role of Sheila the She-Wolf on GLOW, Gayle Rankin has spent a large majority of her career as a highly accomplished Julliard trained theater actor, who is set to play Ophelia in an Oscar Isaac led production of Hamlet this summer. Rankin has emerged from GLOW with her character being widely regarded as a fan favorite and a show stealing performance. As perfect as Rankin is as Sheila, it's interesting to think that she originally planned to play a much different role. As she explained in an interview with BUILD, Rankin originally auditioned to play Ruth, the starring part played by Alison Brie. When that didn't pan out, she auditioned for Reggie "Vicky the Viking" Walsh, but that part went to Marianna Palka. Still, the writers liked Rankin enough to give her the part of Sheila instead.
6 Sydelle Noel is a Professional Axe Thrower
Prior to joining the acting world, Sydelle Noel had ambitions of being an athlete with hopes that one day she would be an Olympian. She ran track and field so well that she was able to attend the University of Georgia on a track scholarship. She also participated in a number of other sports including boxing, snorkeling, and, oddly enough, axe throwing. Noel has always had quite the varied and unique sports background, but after a stress fracture fresh out of college during a professional track run, her sports career was over. At the suggestion of her sports manager, she took up sports modeling in 2004, which quickly transitioned into acting and now she stands tall among the GLOW cast as Cherry "Junkchain" Bang.
5 The Cast Grew A Real Bond Away From The Set
It happens all too often in Hollywood where we hear stories of cast members who could not get along on the set to save their lives or were always squabbling in between takes. Thankfully, for the cast-mates behind GLOW, that was not a problem as everyone involved had a blast working together. Especially the women, who all were able to produce a special sisterhood between themselves in real life long after the cameras stopped rolling that is reminiscent of the bond which the female wrestlers form throughout the episodes. In a recent interview with UPROXX, Britt Baron (the youngest member of the cast, playing Justine "Scab" Biagi) revealed that the girls of the cast are still so close together, that they have a group chat which goes off every day.
4 Betty Gilpin Is Introverted And Awkward
2017 has been something of a breakout year for Betty Gilpin thanks to two huge roles in American Gods and GLOW. As seen in these roles as well as previous works of Gilpin's like Nurse Jackie, Gilpin often plays uber-confident, bourgeoisie characters. Ironically enough, Gilpin has admitted to being far from either. In a stupendous must read article she wrote for Glamour titled "What It's Like To Have Pea-Sized Confidence With Watermelon-Sized Boobs," Gilpin admits she was always a self-loathing awkward introvert who retreated with her back to the wall in social settings. Then, puberty hit her figure in a big way. Suddenly, she received offers to play confident women, which is "[a] nightmare for the terrified tiny person trapped beneath the blonde and boobs." Even more interesting is that shades of that same awkward girl is present whenever we see Gilpin in interviews today. So whenever you see Gilpin appear uncomfortable or stand-offish in interviews as if she doesn't want to be there, we may be seeing shades from that same awkward girl from so many years ago.
3 Chavo Guerrero Taught The Cast How To Wrestle
GLOW is filled with several cameos from a variety of different wrestlers, but one cameo you won't see is a wrestler who actually did the most work for the cast: Chavo Guerrero. Chavo is a world renowned professional wrestler who comes from a well respected family of wrestlers, with his uncle being the late WWE Hall of Famer, Eddie Guerrero. Chavo Guerrero worked on the set as a fight coordinator and trained the actors on how to wrestle for a month before shooting, then remained on set as a consultant for the wrestling. He also worked as a professional wrestling fact-checker so that whenever one of the actors approached him about a move they'd like to do in the ring, he could remind them that they can't do a move invented in the 90's when the show takes place in the 80's. For all of the work that Chavo dedicated to the show, he's given a slight nod in the show as the gym which the characters train in is called "Chavo's." Ironically enough, Chavo's other uncle, Mondo Guerrero, trained the original women of GLOW back in the 80's.
2 Kia Stevens Beat Up Bubba The Love Sponge
With her role as Tammé "The Welfare Queen" Dawson, Kia Stevens is the only member of the main cast who is actually a wrestler in real life. Though, interestingly enough, her biggest tussle as a wrestler wasn't in the ring. In 2010, while wrestling with Impact Wrestling under the name Awesome Kong, Stevens had some strong words backstage against backstage interviewer and radio host Bubba the Love Sponge, who some may recognize as the guy who released the Hulk Hogan sex tape. As Stevens explained in a YouShoot interview, she had beef with Bubba after he made an insensitive joke about the recent earthquake in Haiti. Then, after she watched him bully an innocent Universal Studios worker, Stevens was enraged enough to run at the man and pummel him until he cowered in the fetal position. Shortly afterwards, she was fired by Impact Wrestling.
1 Mariana Palka Has Huntington's Disease
Much of GLOW's audience may have seen Marianna Palka for the first time when viewing her performance on the show as Vicky the Viking, but as a filmmaker, Palka was already well regarded in Hollywood circles. Her work first drew critical acclaim in 2014 thanks to her Oscar nominated short documentary, The Lion's Mouth Opens. The film recalls a brave tale where Palka is on a journey to discover if she suffers from Huntington's disease like her father, who recently passed away on June 27th, 2017. To put it short, the degenerative disease is a mix between Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The doc ended in bittersweet fashion with Palka learning that she did in fact inherit the defective genes and symptoms might take affect within the next 10 years of her life. Palka hasn’t let that stop her career though as she continues to both act and direct in Hollywood.