Britt Baron was simply 6 years previous when she first performed a person onstage. It was the summer season earlier than first grade and Baron was at camp in Connecticut. But enjoying Snow White and Cinderella didn’t curiosity her—she needed to be Sherlock Holmes. “I insisted on playing Sherlock even though it was traditionally a boy’s part,” Baron says. “I had a track record of always trying out for male roles.”
Baron’s tendency to subvert gender stereotypes is clear all through her life—from childhood, when she would faux to have historically male occupations (“I loved doing a British doctor”); to center faculty, when she duked it out with male classmates for “juicier” leads; to her present gig on Netflix’s “GLOW.”
The ’80s-set dramedy facilities on a ragtag group of down-and-out actresses who rating their large break as newbie wrestlers. The position, which Baron went all-out for in her audition (extra on that later), modified her notion of what girls’s our bodies ought to be based on Hollywood and on-screen requirements.
“I want real parts, real women, real characters,” Baron says. “I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman. As long as the character’s interesting, charismatic, and dynamic. I don’t want to be the secretary.”
Raised in a small city in Connecticut, Baron begged her mother and father to let her pursue performing professionally after her camp debut as Sherlock Holmes. Her mother, a former publicist who’s represented little one actors like Raven Symone, advised her no. “She wanted me to learn how to ride a bike and be a normal kid,” Baron says. “She had an awareness of what this industry can do to child actors.”
So as an alternative, Baron grew up as a daily child, sneaking in performing in school performs and neighborhood theater. Still, after seeing components for “ingenues” and “women waiting for princes to come save them,” Baron realized her choice for male roles went past her camp expertise. “Growing up, there was a lot of Cinderella and Snow White. I really never identified with those kinds of characters. They always seemed, for a lack of a better word, boring,” Baron says. “I didn’t want to just whisper and smile.”
I would like actual components, actual girls, actual characters.
As a end result, Baron started battling her male classmates for meatier roles. She auditioned in wigs and drawn-on mustaches, and practiced her voice in a decrease register to persuade administrators she was proper for the half. “Sometimes I got to play them and sometimes the director was like, ‘No—I’m sorry,’” Baron says.
Though she didn’t at all times land the components she needed, the expertise pushed Baron to pursue performing as an grownup. After incomes a theater diploma, Baron dabbled in Chicago’s theater scene earlier than making the soar to Los Angeles to strive her hand at display screen performing.
Among the primary scripts to come back her means was for “GLOW,” an ensemble collection based mostly on “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling”—a 1980s tv phenomenon Baron had by no means heard of. “I remember the email being like, ‘This is based on a true thing. And then in parentheses, ‘No, seriously. Google it,’” she recollects.
When she did, Baron got here throughout a campy, over-the-top wrestling program the place girls rapped, spat soiled insults, wearing ridiculous costumes, and flung one another off wrestling ropes. “I had never seen anything like it,” she says.
I didn’t need to simply whisper and smile.
Considering her lack of display screen expertise, Baron knew she needed to do one thing excessive for her audition. So she choreographed an authentic wrestling sequence, pretended the small audition room was a boisterous, fan-filled enviornment, and prayed her over-the-top theatrics would repay. “I remember running it for my friend, asking, ‘Is this too crazy?’” Baron says. “I didn’t know if I was about to finish my monologue and the producers were just going to have their jaws open like, ‘This girl totally missed the mark.’”
The mark was spot-on. Shortly after, as Baron was babysitting for some further money, she obtained the decision that she booked the half for Justine Biagi (a.okay.a. “Scab”), an ‘80s film-obsessed anarchist with fringe bangs and a game-changing secret.
Like the present’s characters—a gaggle of actors who fall into wrestling to interrupt free from the stereotypical components for girls—Baron additionally noticed “GLOW” because the advanced, female-driven mission she’d been ready for. It’s a breakthrough she credit to showrunner Jenji Kohan, who additionally created “Orange Is the New Black,” for casting so many various girls of various colours and sizes.
“I think this is the only project I’ve done that I’m working with so many women. There are 14 of us on the cast,” Baron says. “Jenji includes so many women, not just in front of the camera but behind the camera. I’m really fortunate to be part of a show that’s really pushing the needle forward.”
Though “GLOW” has been praised for its various solid, the present has additionally been criticized for maybe pushing the boundary too far with its tongue-in-cheek tackle Hollywood racism. (An African-American character’s wrestling persona is called “Welfare Queen;” an Asian-American character’s is “Fortune Cookie;” an Indian-American character’s is “Beirut the Mad Bomber.”) Given the setting, Baron sees these depictions as obligatory to focus on the ugly stereotyping of that period that, in a whole lot of methods, persist at present.
I like ‘GLOW’ as a result of it’s about being loud, large, and exhibiting personalities.
“This was in the ’80s. Not that things haven’t ultimately changed, but I’m happy that they didn’t shy away from any of this,” Baron says. “You see these women struggling with, ‘I want a job. I need the money, but I have to do this awful stereotype.’ I have actor friends who are still dealing with that in 2017.”
Baron admits the problem she struggles with most as an actress in 2017 is nudity. Her “GLOW” costar Alison Brie lately made headlines after an interview went viral wherein she revealed that she was requested to strip down in an “Entourage” audition.
“There are still a lot of parts that are questionable. I have a friend who did a show where she had one line, but she just had to be butt naked,” Baron says. “I love ‘Game of Thrones’ but there’s a lot of women who don’t even speak and are just naked in the background. How many scenes do you see a bunch of naked men walking around a room?”
For Baron, this cultural fixation on girls’s our bodies—which manifests significantly strongly for actresses within the public eye—translated to insecurities early in her profession when her first response to rejection was to research her weight. “It’s hard to sit in a waiting room and look at a bunch of girls. My internal monologue was ‘I’ll never get this part. Look at this girl. she’s 20 pounds lighter than me. She’s prettier,’” Baron says.“You get to a point where if you’re not cast, you think, ‘Maybe I need to lose weight. Maybe that’s why.’”
You get to some extent the place when you’re not solid, you suppose, ‘Maybe I need to lose weight. Maybe that’s why.’
This is probably going why Baron cherishes “GLOW,” the place she discovered on day one which—regardless of the rigorous coaching the solid must undergo to play wrestlers—none of them had been anticipated to shed weight. “I remember in one of my first costume fittings, they told us, ‘No. They don’t want you to lose weight. Stay the way you are,’” Baron says. “They cast all of us because of the way we were. It was not about losing weight or getting a six pack.”
Though Baron continues to be concerned about enjoying male components (her dream can be Jafar from “Aladdin”), she’s able to put down Sherlock Holmes and catch the wave of higher illustration for on-screen girls.
“As a kid I was so drawn to male roles because a lot of times the men get the best part. Luckily, today, there are more interesting female parts being written,” Baron says. “I love ‘GLOW’ because it’s about being loud, big, and showing personalities. It’s different types of women. We’re starting to see real characters and real stories being told—not cookie-cutter images.”