'GLOW' Star Ellen Wong Explains How She Bodyslammed Stereotypes in Season 2
Published Jul 04, 2018Entrenched in silliness and over-the-top '80s camp, Netflix's GLOW is back for a second season complete with bright spandex and even wilder wrestling moves. In this season, the gorgeous ladies of wrestling are also pushing back outside of the ring — against the male-dominated tv industry, and the stereotypes they are asked to portray.
"It's really exciting to see some of the girls really shine and be able to go deeper into their characters," says Scarborough-born actress Ellen Wong, who plays Jenny Chen, with the wrestling persona "Fortune Cookie."
Behind the scenes, there are plenty of women writing, directing and producing the show, and Wong says creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch took care to create a collaborative environment where actors could speak up if they weren't comfortable with something, or if it wasn't culturally accurate.
"They put a lot of trust in us as actors to advocate for our characters and ourselves," says Wong. When the script had a line about Jenny's uncle owning fried chicken restaurants, Wong explained the history of Cambodian-owned donut shops in California to them, and they rewrote it.
"Something like that is exciting because you see those little details and you relate to it, or you know that experience.... I think that hits home." Wong's character is Cambodian to reflect her own background, and she says she called up friends in Long Beach to confirm that the donut details were accurate.
"The more that I work in our industry I realize a lot of it is about getting behind the camera too and figuring out how you can either write a story or collaborate with somebody," says Wong.
While Season 2 revisits tensions from the first season, such as the primary rivalry between Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), who wrestles as Soviet caricature "Zoya the Destroyer," and Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), wrestling as the all-American "Liberty Belle," the show's strength is its ensemble. In fact, some of the more peripheral storylines end up being the most engaging.
"I hope that as we continue on we get to dissect each one of the characters more," says Wong. "It's heading in that direction."
GLOW Season 2 is available on Netflix now.