"GLOW" debuted on Netflix in June 2017, but it wasn't until four months later — in October — that Alison Brie, who stars as Ruth "Zoya the Destroya" Wilder, realized what an impact the series was having on its female fanbase.
"I realized that GLOW had really struck a chord, because so many women dressed up as our wrestling characters for Halloween and sent pictures through social media," the Golden Globe nominee told the latest issue of emmy magazine, which hits newsstands on May 22.
"We all got tons of pics of women, different shapes and sizes, wearing leotards, in crazy wrestling positions and pulling faces — the antithesis of those sexy-kitten Halloween shots," she continued. "It had a total 'take back the night' vibe and felt really powerful."
The response is especially rewarding for the "Mad Men" and "Community" alum considering how hard she fought to win the role of the struggling actress-turned-wrestler.
"Their initial impression of me — who I was and what I had done — was not what they'd envisioned for Ruth," Alison said of the show's creators, adding that she actually turned down other pilots just in case she landed the lead role on "GLOW."
Explained the 35 year old, "At first I was told I couldn't meet with the showrunners, but they had me in for a pre-read, which is something you don't usually have to do after working for a long time. I wanted this role so badly, I fought tooth and nail for it because it was unlike anything I'd ever read. So, basically, I just beat them down."
Show co-creator and co-executive producer Liz Flahive told emmy that she and her colleagues "looked at a lot of women for Ruth." And they knew what they were looking for: a less well-known actress.
"It was in our heads to pick someone that we'd never seen before," she said.
"It was an extensive process," chimed in the other co-creator and co-executive producer of "GLOW," Carly Mensch. "We were telling the story of a woman who wasn't finding her place, was overlooked. Ali came in to audition, and she basically had to play someone who doesn't have nearly the amount of talent that she herself has in real life."
After multiple callbacks, Alison flew to Toronto to audition opposite Betty Gilpin, who stars as Ruth's best friend, Debbie.
"Honestly, I was initially horrified that they were flying her out to audition with me," the blonde beauty told emmy. "In real life, I'm one of those people who gets anxiety meeting a new friend for coffee, so this totally stressed me out."
"The second Ali walked in that door for the audition, I thought that this woman couldn't be more kind or more game, and I could tell she wanted her part as badly as I wanted mine," continued Betty.
Alison's hard work eventually paid off. But winning the part of Ruth was only the beginning. Up next was a month of wrestling training, and after that were non-stop workouts and choreography training sessions.
"When I first watched Season 1, I'd be amazed at the different bruises all over me," Alison said. "In the ring, we all just had to throw ourselves into it, and the most beautiful thing was that no one hesitated."
And it wasn't just her physical strength that grew — her confidence increased too, which came in handy when she was cast as Lally Graham alongside Meryl Streep in "The Post."
"I totally felt the weight of being on the set of 'The Post,'" Alison told emmy. "But landing 'GLOW' gave me this amazing confidence because of how I fought to get it, and I truly feel like it has helped me come into my own as an actress."
It's a sentiment Betty shares.
"It was like our own little secret environment for a few months, this feminist theater biodome," she said of the "GLOW" set during Season 1 of the Netflix show. "And because it was a female-run set, a lot of us felt braver, which lends itself to taking bigger creative choices and risks. I mean, on one hand we're all shooting these wrestling scenes with crazy physicality, no facial expression too garish, and then it's punctuated by these quiet, deeply emotional, kitchen-sink-type scenes."
The second season of the show, which debuts on June 29, promises to be just as complex.
"It's a lot of wrestling in this season, because it's more about the filming of the actual show. I'm in my Zoya the Destroya costume 90 percent of the time," Alison said of Season 2.
"I'd love this to go for years and years," she continued.
Apparently she's not the only woman who feels that way!