If you have yet to stream all 10 episodes of the first season of GLOW, get thee to your Netflix account immediately—the series is a fictionalized take on Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, which was a real, syndicated wrestling show that was huge in the 1980s, featuring the most badass women clad in equally-badass character costumes.
It was a passion project for makeup artist Lana Grossman in particular, considering that she actually grew up watching the original GLOW on TV back in the '80s. "It was sort of serendipitous because when I was doing Masters of Sex, Betty Gilpin, who played Debbie Eagan, had an arc on the last season. She came in and asked to borrow a wig for an audition, and while the hair department helped her out, I asked her which show it was for," she tells us. "Betty was like, 'some show called GLOW,' and I was like, 'You mean the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling?' When I was 10 years old, that was my obsession in life. I was at that age where I was old enough to stay up and watch it, but too young to have a life on Saturday night, and I was just obsessed with it. I was always asking people if they remembered the show, but they never did, so I lost my mind when she told me. I called my agent to see how I could get involved. Like, I was born to do this show."
And we're pretty confident that no one else could have done it better. Because the characters in the Netflix series weren't direct interpretations of the real-life wrestlers on the original, Grossman pulled a few reference photos from some of the women who were in GLOW, as well as from her own childhood. It was also a reunion of sorts—she had actually worked with the show's hair department lead on Mad Men, not to mention, Alison Brie and Rich Sommer, a.k.a. Trudy Campbell and Harry Crane, respectively. "The differences this and Mad Men were that I wasn't around for the time Mad Men was happening, so extensive research went into those looks," Grossman tells us. "I remember GLOW vividly, so I basically got to relive my glitter fantasy."
For Grossman and her team, it was important that the makeup looked like the girls could have done it themselves. "Trying to make it look not perfect is hard because our instinct is to make the actors look their best, but we'd have to go back in and make one eye slightly uneven for the sake of realism," she adds. For the final match, the team experimented with graphic Jem and the Holograms-esque shapes, which ended up looking more editorial than home-grown.
We asked Grossman to recount some of her favorite beauty moments from filming, what the biggest obstacles were with each girl's super-physical role, and of course, the inspirations she drew.
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