It took only a couple episodes of Netflix’s new series GLOW for characters to make an impression. By the end of the first episode, audiences were eager to watch more, as evidenced by the plethora of people who binged the 10-episode first season before the first weekend of the show’s release was over. With a colorful and engaging cast, it’s easy to get invested in the lives of the women who make up a majority of the show’s ensemble, and want to see them succeed.
One of the biggest stand-outs of the show is Britney Young who plays Carmen, aka Machu Picchu. Prior to this breakout role, Young had minor roles in shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Better Things and a longer stint on truTV’s Those Who Can’t, but it’s Glow that’s getting her name out there — and with good reason. Talking to the Tracking Board, Young explains the joy of playing Carmen, what a female-focused project like this means, and bringing truth to everything she does. Vibrant and charming, both on-screen and off, we’re definitely hoping to see a lot more of Young in the future.
1. What was your previous knowledge of the wrestling world and, more specifically, GLOW?
I had absolutely no knowledge of GLOW before the show. My first intro to it was when our casting director sent a clip of the original ladies [the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling first began in 1986]. I watched it over and over and went down a YouTube rabbit hole and just thought, “This is insane. I need to be a part of it immediately.” I was never into wrestling growing up during the whole Stone Cold Steve Austin and Rock era, but when I started doing it, I fell in love with it. I became addicted. Our trainer wanted us to fall in love with the sport and he did a great job of it.
2. Good Guys often get the short end of the stick by being described as “boring” and not as engaging as morally gray characters. Carmen is kind and compassionate from the outset, but she’s always a joy to watch and definitely never boring. What was it like playing her?
I really related to her. What’s exciting for me is that she’s a real person. She doesn’t have the dramatic bits — what she’s experienced is realistic to her upbringing and her background. And I didn’t want to do those dramatics – I wanted to do it truthfully, like when she has a panic attack. I wanted to play someone who has a sweet soul, which was new to me, playing someone who is so nice that I have to check if my smile is too big.
3. In BuzzFeed’s ranking of the show’s Lady Wrestlers, you placed number one. How does it feel being a fan favorite?
That BuzzFeed article was super intense, but in a good way. Like “Oh, Ruth is #4? What? Oh!” I love Carmen, I love Machu Picchu. One of the good things about our show is that you might have a favorite character, but you’re in love with all of them, or you have feelings about all of them. Even if you don’t like them, you have a reason why. It shows the diversity of our cast. We’re trying to show you characters of all walks of life. I am very humbled and overwhelmed by the fan reaction to Carmen so to see other people relating to her is many, many thanks to everyone.
4. Talk about working on a project that’s female-led in front of and behind the camera.
It was a huge change for me but it’s great because what I don’t like is when shows try to put forth a view that they understand a culture or ethnicity that they don’t really understand because there’s no one on the writing staff or crew that actually does know that life. We have a dominant female writing team, but the men were really open to listening and understanding the lives and experiences of women.
5. Is it important to you to seek out projects like these going forward?
I understand Hollywood is still mainly male, but I’m hoping to work on more female projects. I understand it won’t always be the case, but I want to bring truth to everything I do in my future career. I want to be honest with diverse roles and showing truthful characters of all shapes and sizes.
6. What do you hope female audiences get from a show like this?
I really want everyone to see that you can be anything you want to be, but you have to put the work in. You have to have the drive and the passion. Once you have those things, it will be a tough road, but you’ll love yourself for it. People use words like “inspiring” and “uplifting” and I love that because that’s what this show did for me. You don’t become the person you are at a certain point and stop growing, you constantly continue to grow and change. What we have to do is still learn to grow and be open to other things, while being loyal to yourself and true to your beliefs.
7. What do you hope to explore in a possible Season 2?
I want to see how these women react to this newfound Hollywood fame. This has been their life goal, so I’m curious to see if a lot of them find the happiness they’re looking for. With Carmen specifically, I want to see her grow and be exposed to all these new things. She’s an innocent, shy person, so how will she react to things like drugs, alcohol, and sex? How will these more adult aspects affect her as a grown woman experiencing them for the first time?
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor