Kimmy Gatewood, one half of the Beatdown Biddies from Netflix’s GLOW, talks to Awards Daily about Dawn and Stacey’s backstory, the rise of the “fame machine” in Season 2, and whether women are “too emotional” for the ring (Spoiler alert: They’re not!).
On GLOW, Dawn (Rebekka Johnson) and Stacey (Kimmy Gatewood) are a package deal as the Beatdown Biddies. You can’t imagine one without the other. Off-screen, it’s not much different, since the real-life acting duo have their own comedy team The Apple Sisters.
“It’s funny how that reflects real life in a weird way,” says Gatewood, “because Rebekka and I have been a team for so long. What I like about Dawn and Stacey is that they are very loyal to the people around them and each other. It’s so fun to see a positive female friendship on television.”
GLOW Season 2
Season 2 of GLOW picks up after a short hiatus from the finale, with the ladies returning to the ring to start making the GLOW series for KDTV. And with creating and starring in a TV series comes more competition among the wrestlers, including some uncharacteristic deception from the Biddies.
“When the fame machine starts, people start acting strange. It does weird things to people. I was a little mad at Dawn and Stacey, but then I understood where they were coming from, because I think they felt they were underestimated as the Biddies and felt like they really needed to make a big splash. I guess this is reality television before it actually became a reality competition. We were giving full Bachelorette realness this season.”
But given how little audiences really know about the Beatdown Biddies, maybe they were always capable of such deception. Gatewood says that she and Johnson have a specific backstory in mind for their characters.
“Dawn and Stacey have one car: our gold Caddy. They’ve been living in the same apartment forever. They went to beauty school together, ended up working at the mall, the Beverly Center, and then started getting into the heavy metal scene at night. So in the daytime they cut hair, and in the nighttime, they try to get laid. Only they’d try to have sex with the lead singer, but would end up with the drummer’s cousin. We imagined they were always the funniest people in the salon, everyone loved them, but it didn’t really seem like they’d amount to anything. So finding GLOW was kind of like the perfect place for them because it’s a bunch of misfits who are up for anything.”
“A Bunch of Misfits Who are Up for Anything”
An “up for anything” bunch also describes the actors on the series, as Gatewood describes the GLOW cast as forever bonded.
“We’re kind of obsessed with each other and so proud. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to be able to text a group of 15 friends, and they’re all screaming and yelling and cheering for you constantly. Wrestling really brought us closer together than I think anyone could ever imagine. Having to entrust your body with a complete stranger and let them throw you across the ring is basically the best corporate training.”
And the moves only get more challenging in Season 2, with Gatewood injuring her wrists after performing Pat O’Connor and Sunset Flip stunts (she’s officially nicknaming her wrists these moves).
“We’re competing with the boys now and we’re expected to keep up, so that means we as actresses, as well, are expected to do those big moves, which are pretty jaw-dropping at points. There were a lot more bumps and bruises because we were doing bigger, more daring moves.”
Luckily, the doctors and experts on set take good care of the cast, with safety being the No. 1 priority.
“We love doing our own stunts, which is such a rarity as an actor. When you’re doing these complicated moves for the first time, if something’s slightly out of place, you’ll end up tweaking something, muscles you didn’t know you had. We have a stunt coordinator named Shauna Duggins, who is incredible. She breaks down the moves of our wrestling coach, Chavo Guerrero Jr., who comes from a legacy of wrestlers. His uncle actually trained the original GLOW girls and that wasn’t even planned. An amazing coincidence. He teaches us the moves and talks about wrestling culture, so it’s not just learning how to do a headlock to a hammerlock; it’s about the reasoning behind things, the teamwork, the history. We get it all from Chavo. Then, Shauna and Helena [Barrett] (stunt utility on set) break down the moves so we can do them 20 takes in a row.”
So Emotional, Baby
In Season 2, tension builds among the group, and Carmen (Britney Young) accuses the girls of being too emotional compared to wrestlers like her brothers, even though her brothers get pretty emotional when Carmen “borrows” their moves for choreography in the ring.
“I think that’s inherently a conversation about how men and women approach life and work in general. Women are often accused of being too emotional at work when it’s not the case at all. It’s listening and responding appropriately rather than barreling over someone. And that is the irony and the frustrating thing about it all: that being a fully formed human being requires emotions [whether you’re a man or woman].”
And the group’s emotional touchstone in Season 2 may prove to be the ultimate heel from Season 1: Ruth (Alison Brie). The group really rallies around her and supports her in the new season, something Gatewood attributes to the character’s steadfast heart and resilient attitude.
“Being the leader and taking charge is not an easy task because you have to listen to everyone’s problems and concerns. I think the fact that she took charge and listened to everyone made everyone rally around her. She also 100% put herself out there, made a fool of herself, but worked her ass off. And you cannot deny that that is something that a person can respect. She really is the heart and soul of us all.”
Seasons 1 and 2 of GLOW are now streaming on Netflix.