'GLOW' Girls Tease 'Bigger and Better' Wrestling Stunts and Secrets Ahead of Season 2 Premiere (Exclusive)

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The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are officially returning to the ring!

GLOW, Netflix's popular show about the formation of a women’s wrestling league for a syndicated 1980s TV series, is back for a second season on Friday, and the fierce, female-driven cast isn't holding anything back, with bolder conversations and even bigger bodyslams.

This time around, the ladies are no longer focused on learning how to wrestle, but instead enhancing their skills, improving their characters and working together as a team to make a series that's fit for TV, with help from their director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), producer Bash (Chris Lowell) and newly appointed producer Debbie Eagan aka Liberty Belle, played by Betty Gilpin.

ET exclusively caught up with a few of the ladies from the series -- Alison Brie (Ruth Wilder), Rebekka Johnson (Dawn Rivecca), Kimmy Gatewood (Stacey Beswick) and Britt Baron (Justine Biagi) -- who shared behind-the-scenes secrets from set and wrestling boot camp 2.0, along with what fans can expect from the all-new season.

Erica Parise/Netflix

ET: Season two, it's finally here! What was it like, the first day back on the GLOW set, reuniting with all the girls?

Rebekka: It's very loud when we're all together, because we're constantly screaming, laughing and hugging. We just love being together and our first day back was actually in wrestling training. Just getting back in the ring felt like home.

Britt: This year, because we already knew and loved one another so much, the atmosphere was all joy and excitement and no nerves. It really is like going back to camp. Everyone was just so happy to be back together. It's a really incredible place to work. We genuinely all love and care for each other so much, so being reunited after almost a year was so exciting. I think we were all just overjoyed to get to do this again!

Kimmy: We were all so excited to get into the ring again and see each other. When we do get back together, it's usually about two hours of excited screaming, one hour of solid hugging, 30 minutes of feelings and crying, back to screaming, and then we get to work.

Erica Parise/Netflix

You all underwent intensive training for this show. Season one, you went through four weeks of wrestling boot camp with the legendary Chavo Guerrero Jr., whose uncle, Mando Guerrero, actually trained the original women of GLOW. Was the training any easier the second time? 

Rebekka: When we came back, we basically reviewed everything we learned in season one in the first week, and then we just learned bigger and better moves during the last three weeks. It really ramped up our wrestling training and gave us way more options to play with when it came to actually filming the matches.

It definitely did feel easier, even though the moves were harder. I think having gone through, not just the training, but the entire process of shooting for season one, and then it coming out and being a show that people really liked and connected with, I think we were all so excited to get back into the ring. But also I think we believed in ourselves in a way that we hadn't when we started the first season. Me, personally, I came into it really confident, as opposed to the year before, when I came into it really nervous and worried that I wasn't going to be able to do it. So that confidence level really changed how we all approached getting back in the ring.

Kimmy: I was a little scared that maybe I had forgotten how to wrestle. But by the end of week one, the cast was looking at each other like, "When are we going to jump off the top rope?"

Season one was about learning to wrestle and season two was about competing with the boys. There were definitely more injuries because the moves were bigger and more complicated. I injured both my wrists during a training session, but our great stunt coordinator, Shauna Duggins, and our wrestling coach, Chavo, altered some moves for me so I could still do them.

Alison: The wrestling training was the most life-changing part of the GLOW process. It was really empowering to just use our bodies in a different way and in a strong way, and for me to think of my body as an athlete and not just as an actress. When we're shooting the show and we're all together, supporting each other, I feel invincible.

Shauna is actually one of the few working female stunt coordinators in television, so having her around was invaluable. Because as much as Chavo knows, he doesn’t know what it's like to wrestle with boobs, for instance.

Erica Parise/Netflix

Is there a specific athlete, or maybe a celebrity, you channel when you step out in the ring?

Alison: I often think I am my truest self when I am Zoya the Destroya in the ring. It's like tapping into my childhood silliness, or any stage of my life. I like to channel myself, I’m very inspired by myself for this role.

Rebekka: Golden Girls is my favorite show. So, for the Beatdown Biddies, I just pretend like I'm some combination of Sophia Petrillo [Estelle Getty] and the mom [Thelma Harper, played by Vicki Lawrence] from Mama's Family. I think that I'm approaching it all more from the acting standpoint, rather than an athlete.
 

Britt, we haven't really seen your character wrestle, at least not yet. Were you exempt from the training?

Britt: I am not exempt at all! After not wrestling last season I wasn't sure if I would be asked to train again this season, but our showrunners, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, both wanted me to and explained that they didn't know where the season was going. I think the writers want the flexibility to throw me in if needed. They are writing episodes as we are filming, so things are constantly changing.

I love training and wrestling is so rewarding. I would ask to train with the girls even if Carly and Liz didn't think I needed to, just for the experience. It's kind of our team bonding time -- it's just us with our trainers. I think all of us going through that together has made us so close both on and off-screen. And I would love for Justine to get in the ring, so I don't want to fall behind in training!

Erica Parise/Netflix

Let's dive into what actually happens on the show this season. Knowing how close you all are, how fun was it filming that opening credits sequence in the mall, which fans will get to see in episode one?

Rebekka: It was so fun, and the mall was open, so we couldn't contain ourselves. We went shopping, in costume! I went to Forever21 and bought a whole new outfit. People were just looking at us like, "What the hell is going on?" We even shot little sketches on our phones that have not been put out anywhere.

Will we ever get to see those?

Rebekka: I mean, we feel like we should [put them up]. They're really funny. Well, they were, until we got kicked out of Victoria's Secret...

Erica Parise/Netflix

Rebekka and Kimmy, I was excited to hear that the Beatdown Biddies have a new name this season. What can you tease about their new personas?

Rebekka: I will say, it was really exciting to get to play completely different characters and create a persona that was so opposite from what we've been playing. And it pushed us to get to do bigger moves. Kimmy and I did a lot more wrestling this season, so we really had to step it up and see the badasses that our new characters are. 

Kimmy: The Beatdown Biddies are getting a makeover this season! Imagine if Dawn and Stacey could live out their '80s heavy metal dreams in the form of wrestling characters. The new characters are big, glittery, rock 'n' roll maniacs.
 

Did you know early on that your characters were going to change? Were you happy about it?

Rebekka: We were hoping, actually, that we would, not change completely, but that we'd get an opportunity to stretch our sketch comedy chops and play other characters. It's just something that's really fun for us to do!

Kimmy: The showrunners told us that it would be a possibility season one, but they fell in love with the Beatdown Biddies, so they held off until season two. Coming from a sketch comedy background, it was so much fun to create a new character… though, I so hope the Biddies make a cameo if we get a season three.

Erica Parise/Netflix

Speaking of new characters, there's a new girl on the GLOW set this season: Yolanda, played by Shakira Barrera. How does she switch things up? What does she bring to the table that was missing in season one?

Britt: Yolanda actually takes my room when I move out of the "glowtel" and into Sam's house. So, you get to see her interact with Arthie [played by Sunita Mani], and their relationship development, which is hilarious.

Yolanda is so strong and self-assured and very unapologetic, which I love. I think so many of the characters you get to see struggle with insecurities and uncertainty, but Yolanda knows who she is and doesn't apologize for it, which I think is refreshing. She is also the only Mexican-American and lesbian character in our cast, and I think in a cast of 15 women wrestlers, she fills a much-needed space. Shakira is also so kind and fit in so seamlessly with us. She was such a welcome addition, so I can't wait for the audiences to fall in love with her! 

Rebekka: In terms of just representation, I love that we now have a Hispanic character, and a character who identifies as lesbian, that's so exciting. And I think that when she walks in, it represents the change from, "Oh, we're all one team," to, "Wait a minute. What can happen? New people can come?" It keeps our characters on their heels. And Shakira, she's amazing. She's never wrestled before, but she kept up with all of us who had a whole other year of wrestling training under our belts.

Britt, at the end of season one, there was that bombshell reveal that Sam was your character, Justine's, dad. Will we see more of this father-daughter relationship unfold in season two?

Britt: Yes! The majority of Justine's story arc in season two centers around their relationship, because there is so much fallout from that bombshell to explore in season two. Sam is a middle-aged man who suddenly realizes this teenage stranger is his daughter and has to suddenly navigate how to be a parent. Justine struggles with how to reconcile the expectations she had of what she imagined her father to be to who he really is in reality. I mean, she has spent her whole life watching his films, studying his work, idolizing him, and comes with all of these preconceived notions of who he is. She has to learn that you can't force someone to be something they are not.

Sam Silvia is never going to be the guy with a No. 1 dad mug, but there is a joy in seeing these two stubborn characters try and build a semi-functional relationship. I hope that the audience enjoys it as much as I did playing it. To watch their relationship and affection for one another grow, and the inherent comfort and ease they develop is so rewarding. We are reminded that they both do, in fact, have a heart. 

Erica Parise/Netflix

Sam doesn't seem to be a fan of Justin's boyfriend, Billy. With Dad now in the picture, will this affect Justine's dating life?

Britt: I think Sam is very uncomfortable and unsure of how to be a father and what ground rules to set. So, Justine kind of gets to run wild and do as she pleases. She is also so strong-willed and looks at rules as more of a suggestion, so I'm not sure how much pull Sam really has over this teenage runaway. I think Sam really just cares more about Justine's happiness, whether that's with Billy or without. You do get to see him try and teach Justine the importance of figuring out who she is as an individual not in relation to anyone else in her life -- he tries to teach her the importance in loving yourself first.

But I do adore the Billy-Justine dynamic. I feel like most girls had a crush on a guy like that at some point or another, so I was so happy he was back for season two!

From what we've seen so far in sneak peeks, there are plenty of memorable moments. But is there a specific scene you're most excited for fans to see?

Kimmy: In one episode, all the GLOW girls have to make out with fans and groupies and the showrunners asked us, "Who do you want to make out with?" {meaning], do we have any friends who would cameo and make out with Rebekka and me? So, GLOW fans (and Mean Girls fans) get an amazing cameo from Danny Franzese as the dude we make out with. I think it's the greatest cameo of all time and he is the best friend a girl could have.

Rebekka: What I'm most excited for is a scene in episode eight. When we read it, we literally couldn't believe that we were going to get to make it. It's just some of the most fun I've ever had, and I've been working in comedy for a long time. It blows my mind that this was for a television show and not just in those regular comedy venues where I've performed in before.

Britt: In episode two, I get into a nasty fight and it was one of my favorite scenes to film. I think I've wanted so badly to wrestle that this felt like the closest thing. I am proud to say we never once used the stunt double. The fight is all me.

Erica Parise/Netflix

On a more serious note, this season covers some heavy, very timely topics: respect in the workplace, sexual harassment, women fighting for directing roles, etc. How do you feel about these issues being addressed on GLOW?

Rebekka: I think it's amazing to be a part of this show, that is talking honestly about what is going on, not only in Hollywood, but in the rest of the world for so long. It's a topic that I'm really passionate about, so hopefully it will change the way people think about it.

Britt: I feel that the topics we cover are the biggest strengths of season two. I'm so proud to be on a show addressing what is going on in the world, and I think our writers are so brilliant. They incorporated sensitive topics in such creative, bold and intelligent ways. These issues are still in the spotlight today, arguably even more than they were in the '80s, and I think that our show is a great example of the empowerment women gain when they confront these issues, especially in the workplace.

I think that's where having strong writers becomes so valuable. Almost all of our writers are women, which is also why I think we can cover things like sexual harassment, competition between the women for roles, women asking for more opportunities, etc., in such thought-provoking, spot-on ways, because our writers have lived some version of a lot of this. I am proud that we don’t shy away from addressing these topics, but we do it very sensitively, and in ways that are intimate and unique to each character.

What message(s) do you hope comes across to fans?

Kimmy: I hope that the themes explored in GLOW, a show that takes place in the '80s, will shed light on what's happening today in 2018. Women are still dealing with the same struggles they did 30 years ago, and that speaks volumes. The message I hope that gets out is that there is strength in numbers and we need to back each other up. We are stronger together (and in spandex).

Britt: Our country is so divided right now. My hope is that, in some way, GLOW can help breach the gap. Being set in the '80s affords us the liberty to address sensitive topics with the veil of it being the 1980s, so perhaps people are able to watch with their guards down and maybe be reminded of how powerful love, acceptance and support for one another can be. 

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Lastly, we love that this show is so female-centric. What's your favorite thing about working on a show with such powerful female forces?

Alison: It's inspiring. It's inspiring to look around and see women doing all different types of jobs. And just getting s**t done. It's cool.

Once I got the part, I didn't even realize how amazing it would feel to be around 13 other women. It's such a large cast, and for them to be all women is crazy! And our writers are predominantly mostly women, 50 percent of our directors are women, our showrunners are women. Our producers are women. I feel like the most important thing has been having women at the top of all of it, and having that be the perspective through which we look at everything.

Kimmy: I love the authenticity of the female characters' relationships and emotions. I love that, as a cast, everyone can show their emotions, be unabashedly hilarious and have bad days with complete support and empathy. We always feel safe and that’s why we can give so much of ourselves.

Rebekka: I just am always inspired. I'm inspired by Liz and Carly and the way they run the show, the way the show's written. I'm inspired by directors of the show -- I'm a mom, and we've had a lot of moms directing, which is so exciting to see how they kind of manage it all. And I'm constantly inspired by the girls. Just supporting each other, it's legitimate. And we all feel the same way about each other.

Britt: Working with our cast of women has taught me how empowering support and love from one another can be. We are so much stronger when we stand together, and I think the #MeToo movement is the perfect example of that. When women support other women, we are unstoppable.

I am surrounded by women I look up to on this show, not just in the cast, but our writers, producers, directors and many of our crew are women. They are so smart, kind, accepting, creative and bold. I feel like being on GLOW these past two years, and around so many inspiring women who speak up when they see injustice and support each other in good times and bad, has just made me a better person overall. So, the relationships are my favorite thing. I think those are the things that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Season two of GLOW begins streaming on Netflix on Friday. In the meantime, hear more teasers from the cast in the video below: