Britt Baron is a faux female wrestler but she can flip you over faux-real
Newcomer Britt Baron is bursting on the scene playing the angsty punk runaway and youngest member of the first all women’s wrestling show in Netflix’s new series “GLOW”. The “GLOW” girls are the gorgeous ladies of wrestling. Set in the ’80s, this show features kitschy over-the-top style mixed with misfit badass women fighting each other for fun. It’s based on the original first women’s only wrestling show of the same name.
Jenji Kohan, the creator of Orange is the New black, is at the helm of this worthy-of-tossing-your-phone-aside Netflix dramaedy.
Britt told us all about her character’s teenage faux-tough punk exterior as well as her hella intense training that may make you legit afraid of her.
At the end of the day, Britt is your average lady, who loves strong female role models, indulging in the sugary goodness of acai bowls, and oh yeah — flipping you flat on your butt.
Tell us about “GLOW” and your role within the show.
GlOW is inspired by the real Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting, who created the first syndicated women’s wrestling TV show. Our show takes place in 1985 Los Angeles and chronicles 14 misfit women and their journey as they learn to wrestle and work to come together to create the first women’s wrestling show.
I play Justine, the youngest of the GLOW girls, who is a runaway punk rock teenager. She spouts this tough, “don’t give a shit” attitude, punk rocker exterior, but I think as the audience gets to see in parts of season one, beneath all of that she is genuinely still just a kid.
When was your “come to Jesus” moment with acting?
I was fortunate to attend a high school with an incredible theater department. My junior year I was in theater class and we were reading UtaHagen’s Respect For Acting, and performing her exercises in class. And I remember prior to that, I was on the fence on whether or not to pursue a BFA in theater in college because I was, even at 16, hyper aware of how competitive this career path is and how difficult it is to find success, so I was considering just getting a normal BA degree in like environmental science or something completely different.
But I fell so in love with these acting exercises and book and found it so incredibly invigorating to try and perform in such an in-depth way, it was the first time I felt like I was learning an acting method and really pushing beyond the basics of relying on my instincts alone. I remember realizing how much I genuinely loved learning about acting techniques, and what a high I got when working on them in class, I think in that moment I realized that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I sound like a nerd, but it was honestly the first time I really enjoyed going to a class.
Who’s an iconic badass famous woman who keeps you going?
Oh my gosh so many! Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Natalie Portman, Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Beyoncé. I mean, the list goes on and on.
Are there any talents besides acting that you’re dying to show off in a future role?
I would really love to wrestle in the future! I got particularly good at flipping myself during training, so I would love to do that. As the only one of the GLOW girls who doesn’t get a big wrestling scene in season one, I hope in the future I get the opportunity to show off my abilities, because I’m proud of how much I learned!
Did playing a fake wrestler ever get intense during filming?
Oh yeah! I mean when the cameras are rolling and you have a whole crew and group of background actors watching it’s like an audience, your adrenaline starts pumping and you’re excited to show off what we’ve worked on during training. But throughout training we talked a lot about not letting that get in the way of being safe, you never want to get too carried away, that’s when injuries happen.
It also wasn’t live theater, we weren’t just doing these fights once, we have to do these moves over and over and over again, sometimes very late into the night, so the real challenge I think was keeping up the energy you had on the first take when it’s the 15th take, it’s a real workout.
If you could describe your life in a license plate frame what would it say?
What movie or television show is worth canceling weekend plans for?
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Game of Thrones,” and of course… “Survivor”!
Do you gravitate towards the funny or the serious? Can we expect this to be another Jenji Kohan comedy-drama hybrid?
I really enjoy and respect both comedy and drama, and ideally a single project can provide both!
I think I gravitate to the writing and concept of a show rather than the particular genre. If it’s a kick-ass witty comedy or profound drama I’m drawn in, regardless of the genre. It’s the strength and creativeness of the material that gets me excited.
“GLOW” is definitely within the vein of Jenji’s shows but with a bit more gut punches (literally and figuratively) and glitter! It is a very dynamic and unique show that I think strikes a balance between the over-the-top campy wrestling world and the heartfelt struggles that the women deal with in creating the show.
What’s the most LA thing about you?
I am a sucker for açai bowls. I read this article about how they are actually loaded with sugar and not even good for you but I don’t care, they are so delicious!
Finish the sentence: When it comes to ____, I am NOT tough. Explain.
Cold blooded animals. I had a nightmare as a child that I was in my bed surrounded by hundreds of amphibians, and ever since than I have been terrified of them, especially iguanas and lizards — ugh those are the scariest.
Were you a wrestling fan as a kid? Do you think it’s real?
No, not at all. I really knew nothing about wrestling. I think I was actually always a bit scared by it growing up, I thought it was real, which upset me. I didn’t understand why anyone would want to watch people hurt each other. But once I realized during training that all of these moves are rehearsed and practiced and that these are professionals who are creating an illusion of pain and suffering I became hooked.
Wrestling is such a beautiful mix of sport and theater, it is so physically demanding but there is also this whole element of performing, I love the marriage of the two. These fights tell a story, you get to play a character with real conflict but the conflicts are resolved with these crazy exhilarating fights.
I was a dancer growing up but I never was able to do sports, all of my free time went to theater, so learning to wrestle has been a dream come true for me. I finally feel like an athlete and I still get to utilize my acting training. I just love it.
Did you learn whether it was real or not, or any cool tricks for how they make it look like they’re actually fighting?
The professional wrestler Chavo Guerra Jr. trained us for four weeks prior to shooting and also while we were shooting. He not only helped us fall in love with wrestling but he also taught us that wrestling is real.
I mean, yes, we are doing these moves safely and not actually hurting one another, but let me tell you, there is nothing fake about falling on your back or jumping off the ropes, or flipping yourself onto the ground. It is an amazing skill and accomplishment to be able to do these incredibly challenging moves that look so believable and NOT hurt yourself or your partner.
Chavo and our amazing stunt coordinator Shawn Duggins, helped us “sell” the pain, by explaining how you would react to certain moves in real life and where or how specific pain would manifest. We first would learn the choreography and practice each move and then eventually would add in the acting and “selling the pain” elements. It was fun because we were just getting to know each other as actors as well, so adding in the pain and struggle was a great way to showcase each of our talents and personalities.
Do you have a favorite wrestler?
I don’t know if you’ve heard of Awesome Kong? But she’s amazing…. also known as the lovely Kia Stevens who plays Tamme on GLOW. She helped us during training as well, she is such a kind, supportive, hilarious woman who I have endless respect for.
What would your wrestling catchphrase be?