GLOW’s Marianna Palka On The Thrill Of Coming Back For Season Two, The Show’s Success, What Message She Hopes Fans Take Away

Photo Credit: Erica Parise/Netflix

I recently spoke with GLOW star Marianna Palka about the show’s second season, which is available on Netflix today:

Marianna comments on coming back for season two:

It was so exciting and such a thrill to do the first season, and what we did in season one felt like it translated into what people saw. It really felt like being a superhero, a Wonder Woman—it didn’t feel normal—it didn’t feel like any job that any of us had ever done. It was amazing because we could be like ‘oh my God, here we are!’

Season one was so great and everyone loved it, then season two we’re like ‘OK, here we are, we’re going to do it again.’ It was even more exciting than what happened in the first season.

Working with Chavo Guerrero Jr. again:

Chavo always talks about how any wrestler, if they don’t wrestle for awhile, they’ll get ring rust. Any big time wrestler, even if you take a month off—we were all really nervous that we would be really bad, that we’d have to start from the beginning. He said the first week that we were back ‘Oh, you know what you’re doing’—it’s like we had the muscle memory of what we were doing with the first season behind us. We’re not doing anything that you can do in a gym, it’s not something you can do in a yoga class. We’re literally picking people up and throwing them around. It’s a specific skill, and I love that we get to do it.

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Marianna comments on filming the ‘show intro’ in character in a mall:

I used to live on the Westside—I don’t live there anymore—but I used to go to that mall. [Los Angeles’ Westside Pavilion Mall] Taking over the mall, and having us all there, this Netflix show where we’re all these badass women, it just felt next level. You can’t really intellectualize it—it felt like we were in charge. We kept going into all of these different stores and people were really nice to us. The mall was technically not open, we were there and pretending to shop. It was funny—we went into Steve Madden in character—people working there were freaking out.

What was your favorite moment about filming season two?

I think my favorite moment—my family has this disease called Huntington’s Disease—it got cured while we were working on GLOW. Just the reaction of the other girls when I came into the ring after that had happened, because I had been working on curing this disease for twenty years, it’s been my life’s journey. When it happened, it was really amazing because we made this documentary on HBO called The Lion’s Mouth Opens. It got nominated for an Emmy and shortlisted for an Oscar. Because we raised money for it and it helped with everything and the cure, I feel like [the GLOW cast] the day after that were the most incredible people to talk to about it. We’re kind of like each other’s therapists.

What is the reaction like to the show’s release?

I think it will be really interesting to see how the different characters develop. I’m really excited to see what happens. I’m really pumped about it. When [GLOW] comes out I’ll binge watch it with everybody else. I take it really seriously, I just love anything and everything that they throw at us. I think we’re lucky that it’s on television and also the fact that it’s on in 160 countries. It’s incredible that it’s come on at the same time as everything—it’s like the World Cup—it has that scope. My family in Poland is like ‘this is the best thing ever’ at the same time as my family in Scotland. I have friends all over the world that are freaking out because it’s happening simultaneously. I went from making my own Sundance movies—I’ve directed five feature films—ad when they come out, they always come out in a staggered way. That’s really nice—my movie Bitch is on Netflix as well—but everything’s sort of been in pieces until GLOW where now it’s just so nice to celebrate in this unified way with everybody.

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Her thoughts on season three, her relationship with the rest of the cast:

We don’t know anything that’s coming, is basically the answer to that. That’s what cool about it. It’s like doing a back bump; you just go for it and tuck in your stomach, so you don’t die or break your neck. We work so hard for each other, and we are so bonded that I don’t feel like other casts can be as bonded as we are because we’ve saved each other’s lives in the ring so many times. You can’t really buy that kind of devotion and I think that translates in the show. Whatever happens in season three of the show, it’s going to be amazing because that bond is there.

What message does Marianna hope fans take from the show?

I think there’s something incredible about standing up to someone who is being mean to one of your friends. It’s almost like what happens in the show is reflected a bit in what’s happening in the #MeToo movement, as much as it could be in the ‘80s. These were strong women, and I think they inspire us. They’ve inspired us to play them, and I hope it inspires people—men and women—everyone that’s watching from all different communities and backgrounds. I hope they are inspired too because we’ve worked so hard on it.