"I wrestled a lot more than I acted" Britney Young aka Machu Picchu teases season 2 of 'GLOW'
As invested as she is in the wrestling now, Britney claims she was no fan before she bagged the show and knew nothing about the world of women's wrestling especially.
Everyone's favorite women's wrestling show is about to make a comeback with season 2. Even as we impatiently await the return of the 'GLOW,' one of the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling reveals what it means to be a "GLOW girl," what fans can expect from season 2 of the show and relives the bizarre experience of meeting one of her biggest fans – Method Man.
In an exclusive interview with Meaww, Britney Young, best known as the sweet yet strong Carmen aka Machu Picchu, reveals that the primary expectation she had out of season 2 of the Netflix show was "a lot more wrestling."
She elaborates, "Season 1 is sort of the beginning of these girls entering this world of wrestling and learning how this culture works. In season 2 we focus a lot more on them actually making the show. So, I definitely expected a lot more wrestling and we for sure got a lot more wrestling, especially for my character, Carmen. I definitely wrestled a lot more than I acted this season."
Moreover, Britney promises fans will get to learn a lot more about the supporting characters – the girls outside of Ruth (portrayed by Allison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin). Crediting the incredible writers and producers of the show, who refused to let these characters be an afterthought, the beautiful actress promises we will get to see a lot more about the girls this time around.
"I think that a lot more girls have a lot more stuff to do and we learn a lot more about these characters and relationships between these women," she says adding, "Season 2 is just so good and it's so funny and heartfelt and I think we really continued the themes and vibes from season 1 and just expanded it on season 2."
Britney reveals that as actors, they even have quite a bit of freedom in deciding and coordinating the stunts. "When the writers are writing the script, they will kind of say 'Okay, these two characters are going against each other. We would like to see Carmen may be throw a suplex.' That is kind of all they give us – the bigger moves."
The ladies then meet with the stunt coordinator Shauna Duggins and wrestling coordinator Chavo Guerrero Jr. to iron out the stunts. "Basically, they just tell us, 'Okay, you two are going against each other. We need to put a suplex somewhere in there. What can we build around this? And they really build our strength," says Britney, adding, "They ask us what do you want to do, what are you good at, what do you want to try this time around? So, we do have quite a bit of say, but the writers specifically pick moves that they think are relevant to the story or relevant to the sequence that needs to be in there and we just build around it."
And when it comes to these stunts in the ring each of them has a specific strength. On the show, we see Carmen being the idea woman behind the specific moves. And, although she is the one who helps most girls with their moves, she herself has not had the opportunity to wrestle as much, and she hopes to rectify that before the series bids goodbye.
"I haven't really wrestled Ellen Wong [who plays Jenny aka Fortune Cookie] yet and she is just so athletic and really goes for it. I got to wrestle Jackie Tohn [Melanie aka Melrose on the show] this year, I had wrestled her last year and that was a lot of fun. She is a blast, she is so into wrestling this season, it is amazing," says Britney counting out the girls she wants to wrestle with the most, "Hopefully, by the end of this series I would have wrestled with everyone at least once."
As invested as she is in the wrestling now, Britney claims she was no fan before she bagged the show and knew nothing about the world of women's wrestling especially. Once she was on board though, she watched the documentary 'GLOW: The Story of The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,' (which you can watch on Netflix as well) that inspired Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch to write the show.
"After watching that I wanted to learn more about not only these women but women's wrestling as a whole. I YouTubed a lot, I did a lot of research online, talked to Kia Stevens, who plays Tammé. She is the only professional wrestler in the group of women that we have. I went up to her a lot and got her feedback on it," explains Britney, reiterating, "Now, I am a wrestling fan for sure, but before, I knew absolutely nothing."
She admits to being especially inspired by wrestler Emily Dole - who went by the ring name Mt. Fiji - on whom her own Machu Picchu is loosely based. However, she insists they are not the same. "I didn't try to feed anything of her into Carmen or Machu Picchu. She is loosely inspired by her, so they are not the same people. I think what I took more from Emily was the athleticism of it and how this larger woman could go into the ring and become this gentle yet strong presence."
It is only natural that Britney knows what aspects of Emily to retain along with her own interpretations of Carmen, she is a perfect fit for the role. As fans and viewers of 'GLOW' we know Britney is the perfect Carmen and yet, the actress herself was not so sure she would land the role.
She narrates her long, arduous audition process that almost ended with her apologizing to her agent for blowing her shot: "My audition process was very long. I kind of came in towards the beginning of them casting people. When we got to the casting process, they told us to please come in no make-up and gym clothes and I was ecstatic because that's my life. I met with our casting director Jen Euston and I think we had to do like two scenes, one as Carmen and one as Machu Picchu. And then, we had to do a rap because our characters rap throughout the season. So, I did that and then chatted with her, I really thought that I did terribly, so much so that I called my agent and told 'I'm so sorry I didn't get the part'."
Surprise, surprise! Britney had been way more impressive than she gave herself credit for and the very next day she got a call to meet with the producers, after which she was called in for a stunt audition with the stunt coordinator and wrestling coordinator three weeks later.
"I went in and did some very small little things like forward rolls and kicks and punches. And then, the following Monday found out that I had booked the role and then the following Monday after that we had started training for season 1. I found out that I was the only girl that did the stunt audition."
She is not complaining, though. Even though she may have had to jump a few extra hoops, Britney is glad to be part of this amazing women-rich cast. Everyone is as close as family, and it is by choice, she says.
"The set is great for us. Because everyone's hair and make-up is so intricate you do tend to arrive two to three hours before crew call and a lot of craziness does happen. We are a tightly-knit group and celebrate each other's birthdays," reveals Britney, adding she personally has a hand in ensuring everyone interacts with everyone else.
"I go and change up the positions of cast chairs every day so that the same people don't sit together – between breaks – so we can all get to know each other a bit more. There is a lot of fun, there is a lot of laughter," she says, further letting me in on a set secret: "We have a little chant where when our directors let us improv, we chant, 'always roll, never cut, always roll.' A lot of stuff comes from it."
From the on-screen chemistry, it is quite evident that these girls are close as a cast. The "Glow Girls" even have a group chat where they plan pizza parties and other cool hangouts. Alison Brie, who plays Ruth, Britney claims, really loves a good joke. "She loves dancing around and starting little dance parties."
"We really are a group of 16 friends," she says. "We do so many things together in small groups or just one on one. That's the great thing about it. We are not clique-ish at all. We tend to really hang with everyone regardless of who it is. We are such a good group that vibes together."
However, it is not just an all-girl love fest either. Marc Maron, who plays the girls' alcoholic, selfish mentor Sam on the show, is just as loved – even though he breaks character the most. "He is so fantastic on the show and he is just such a good guy. We are all so proud of him because you know this is his first real acting role."
From the cast to the crew, everyone just loves each other and that makes us love this cast all the more. The girls and their wrestler alter-egos have some of the biggest and craziest fans. Britney thinks all of them are fantastic but then for her, her very first fan interaction also holds a special place in her heart.
"I was walking with my mom a couple of weeks after the show had come out and all of a sudden, I hear [someone shouting] 'Machu Picchu' and I look and I see this guy running over to us and he just told me how much he loved the show and how he wanted to take a picture," she reminisces. "My mom was just so excited and tearing up a little bit. Of course, we have to take a picture for us too, we have to remember this. She was way more excited than me or the fan was, which was very sweet."
Britney has fans in Hollywood too, even people she has been inspired by. Few of the girls have appeared in a recent episode of the TV show 'Drop the Mike,' where they freestyle rap battled a few women of wrestling – including the Bella sisters. The show is hosted by Method Man, who went up to Britney and told her how much he loved Carmen.
"While we were shooting he was chanting 'Machu, Machu,' and that just blew me away because I am just a big fan of his and for him to know who I was or who we were, was just mind-blowing," relates an ecstatic Britney.
Post 'Glow' - which we hope isn't for another decade at least – Britney wants to work with the likes of directors such as Edgar Wright, Guy Ritchie, and Melissa McCarthy. "I think Melissa is just so inspiring to me, with what she has been able to do with her career, become a leading woman as a plus-size woman is just great," further adding she would love to everything from comedies to action-adventures. "I want to do it all," she says.
We cannot wait to see Britney do it all, but for now, you can watch her kill it as Carmen aka Machu Picchu on 'GLOW,' season 2 of which will be added to the Netflix library on June 29, 2018.