Britney Young is one of the many ladies who’s stepping into the wrestling ring when GLOW hits Netflix today. From her crazy audition story for the show to her own similarities to the character, Young’s on-screen and off-screen journeys are just beginning.
How did you get your start in acting? When did you know you wanted to be an actress?
I probably knew in preschool that I wanted to be an actress. I was obsessed with Shirley Temple and Raven Symone. I wanted to be that Disney Channel triple-threat – singer, actress, dancer. Growing up I participated in a lot of plays and concerts. I was in choir and honor choir. By the time I got to college, I started to get scared. I realized I need to figure out something I could get a degree in that I could fall back on in case acting doesn’t work out, so I went to the USC film school. I loved my education there and I’m so grateful I went there. Upon graduation, life hit, I had about $60,000 worth of debt, and I thought to myself again, “I’m scared. How do I make money? Let me go into production.” I worked in production for the past six years. I was a production secretary, a set production assistant, an accounting clerk and a post production assistant. I’ve now spent the past three years being a producer’s assistant, and in that position I was able to see all of the casting tapes came in. With each tape I realized I wanted to do this. This dream of mine was still strong and I needed to transition over. I asked all my friends out here who were actors if they had any advice. One of my friends said she had a part for me on her web series and it was mine if I wanted it. I went and did it and it really lit a fire under my butt. From there I met my manager and he started sending me out on auditions. I started booking things and it led me to GLOW!
How did you get your part on GLOW?
Serendipitously, I read an article about it on Deadline and it announced that Netflix was creating a show with Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann. I thought to myself, “Wow. I’m pretty sure there would be a cool part for me.” I had all intentions of emailing my agent for him to look into this, but I completely got distracted. Two days later I got an email from the casting office with sides for the audition of GLOW. I thought it was fate. We got a little clip of the raps that the original GLOW girls do and I watched it, thought it was insane, and knew immediately I had to be a part of it. It sent me down this rabbit hole of YouTube clips and I fell in love with the show.
I went into the audition and thought I did terribly, so much so that I walked out, called my agent and told him, “I’m so sorry, that ship has sailed.” But our casting director, Jennifer Euston, gave me a call that night saying I got a callback for the next day.
I went in and Tara and Jenji were there, as well as creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch. They were very straight-faced and I didn’t know how I did until I walked out of the room and told myself, “That was fantastic.” Three weeks later they wanted me to come in for a stunt audition with our stunt coordinator Shauna Duggins and our wrestling coordinator Chavo Guerrero Jr. I showed them what my athletic abilities were and they said that it was great and they would let production know what they thought. And I was like, “I cannot leave this room without picking up one of these people.” I picked up Shauna and then I picked up Chavo and that’s when I knew the part was mine. I found out next Monday that I got the part.
So you actually picked two people up?
Yeah, I was a cheerleader in high school, so I know how to throw people in my arms and do different things with them. They told me at the start of the stunt audition that I wasn’t on their insurance and I couldn’t do that many things. I just did some forward rolls, threw a few punches and did some kicks. When I told Shauna to jump in my arms, she was like, “You’re not on my insurance!” I was like, “I know how to do it. Don’t worry.” I think both of them knew they could work with me after that.
What can you tell me about your character?
Carmen Wade. I love her. She is a very sweet and shy (almost introverted) young woman. She grew up with her dad and brothers, who are actually very famous wrestlers. It’s been her dream since she was young to be a wrestler, but unfortunately her dad and brothers don’t want her in the spotlight. She actually shows up to GLOW with the intention of following her dreams. Once she makes the team, she realizes she actually has a lot of anxieties about being in Hollywood and being the center of attention. She’s such a great character to play and she has so many layers. The thing I really love about her is that we get to watch this woman make friends and believe in herself for the first time. I think it’s a very endearing story.
What personal characteristics did you bring and share with the character?
I’ve been playing the typical “mean girl” during my career up until this point. It was a very big stretch for me to play this sweet and kind soul. It’s very strange for me to say that because people describe me as very sweet and kind, but to actually play that was very fun and a huge acting challenge for me. I very much did bring those characteristics to these women, especially in real life, because I’m in such awe of all of them. And of course the physicality. It was a new thing to learn how to wrestle, but my family is very athletic, so that was something else I also brought.
What kind of world can you paint for us that Netflix created for GLOW?
Netflix has been so fantastic. They have been so excited and so encouraging. To be a part of something that your bosses are fans of is really amazing and I’m so appreciative.
They’re very professional to work with. We had such a great crew – we were like a huge family, which I think is something Netflix prides itself on.
In regards to in front of the camera… To have our executives come and sit there and love the work we’re doing is something that makes me love going in to work every single day. I hope everyone else on other shows and other networks feel that way, but we definitely felt it.
Did you have a favorite moment behind the scenes?
I know this is going to sound so cliché, but I have so many moments. Our set was filled with so much laughter. We would play pranks and little tricks on each other. We had a lot of great talks. Obviously with the political atmosphere that’s happening and everything coming out, us girls really got to bond with each other on a different level. We’re not clique-ish at all. You could see three people having lunch one day and a different three the next. I think we all enjoyed each other’s company, creating this family on set.
But if you really want to push me to one moment… In the finale episode, it’s essentially us shooting the pilot episode of GLOW. We had a bunch of extras come in (and some of these extras had been with us on previous episodes), and to have them remember our names and be so excited, I think is something that really stands out in my mind. So much so, after we wrapped, I grabbed the microphone from the assistant director and thanked the extras because they were so fantastic. That pumps us up as actors to have that energy.
What do you hope is the biggest message people take away from the show?
We are really trying to push out this sisterhood message because that’s what it became. But what I think I realized, unfortunately in our society, we have kind of turned individual success and passion into a selfish act, and I don’t think it is that, especially with GLOW. With my character Carmen, I think her wanting to follow her dreams to be a wrestler in turn made this community of women stronger because she inspired them and she’s inspired by them. We need to think as a society that the success of one person is the success of the community. We need to start celebrating that. It will make us a stronger unit going forward.
Watch the trailer for GLOW below. Out TODAY!