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As the patriotic pro wrestler Liberty Belle on Netflix’s GLOW, Betty Gilpin often rules the ring in rehearsed battles against fellow performers. Offscreen, victory isn’t so sure for the actress at the Emmys, where she has been nominated in the best supporting actress in a comedy category with seven other nominees.
Still, the nomination itself was a win for Gilpin, 32. “I was facedown on my living room floor in shock. I just wasn’t expecting [the nomination] at all, and I was completely knocked over by the news,” Gilpin told The Hollywood Reporter.
Gilpin, a firsttime nominee, discussed how the second season of the 1980s-inspired hit focused on her character Debbie Eagan’s rage after her life was turned upside down in the show’s debut season.
“I mean, we’re learning [as a society that] all women have within them a person who is ready to throw a watermelon through a window pane,” said Gilpin. “I think wrestling in a weird way is this perfect vehicle for [Debbie] to use that rage in a constructive and strange way.”
The actress admitted that training as a wrestler for the show is often intense, but it’s outweighed by the perks since it has allowed her to peel back a toxic, internalized male gaze, she argues.
“My brain was like, ‘Your body’s function is to stay as small and still and sexy and young as possible. And then when those things fade, maybe go live in a tundra and read the classics because no one’s going to want you around anymore,'” Gilpin joked. “And I think that wrestling was the first time where I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m not just obliques and nipples and calves and ankles.'”
Gilpin also clued THR in to the inspiration for her wrestling persona and how the alter ego is really a love-hate letter to the entertainment industry, where complex women are often ignored.
“I try to play Liberty Bell as someone trying to be like a perfect Toddlers and Tiaras [version of] Blanche Dubois but who has severe instability happening behind the eyes.”
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