Rebekka Johnson Talks ‘GLOW’ Season 2, Back Bumps and Beatdown Biddies (Interview)
As a young girl, I remember watching the WWF (Let me explain here because when I was young it was not WWE it was called the WWF but some lawsuits and copyright issues it was changed to the WWE), but when I sat down to watch a new wrestling program my world was changed forever. I remember the first episode of ‘GLOW’ aka “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” and I remember thinking ‘wow’ I want to be one of these “ladies” when I grow up. They were over the top with their make-up, their costumes, their characters, their wrestling and frankly dear readers that is me in a nutshell. However, just like all good things, ‘GLOW‘ came to an end. That was until Netflix brought it back to life last year with a new 80’s comedy series about an eclectic group of ladies who become the faces of a brand new show named ‘GLOW‘. The fans quickly fell in love with the quirky bunch of females during season one and with season two about to hit Netflix I had a chance to chat with Rebekka Johnson who plays Dawn Rivecca and who is half of the feisty tag-team duo “The Beatdown Biddies“.
Rebekka Johnson is a lady with many talents. When she is not in the ring taking people down with sleeper holds and walkers, she has an amazing career that includes acting, writing, producing and directing. She has had an extensive career in improv acting as well as writing that has helped in her not only in her role on ‘GLOW‘ but her new projects as well. When the chance to speak with her came up it was like a childhood dream come true. I was able to finally get to talk to one of the “GLOW” ladies so I could not wait to ask her about what it is like to be one of the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” and what we can expect from the new season.
Rachel Bryant: I am so impressed with your career. I see you have been an actress, producer, director and even a writer. Which one have you enjoyed doing the most?
Rebekka Johnson: I like acting and writing the most. I think it is because I started as an improviser. I started doing improv when I was 17 at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and at Harold’s Team when I was 21. I just really have enjoyed doing improv for so long and it really utilizes all of those skills but mostly acting and writing but you are just doing it on the fly. The best part is when you turn those skills into paid work which is nice but acting and writing is the most fun for me.
RB: Did you watch ‘GLOW’ when it was on originally?
RJ: Oh yeah, I would watch it on Saturday’s after my piano lessons. My piano teacher was a teenager and she lived down the street from me so even though I was like five years old my mom would let me hang out with her, probably because it was like free babysitting. We would watch ‘GLOW‘ and I loved it. I specifically remember “Godiva” and I remembered thinking “I can’t believe someone is naked on TV AND riding a horse, MAN THIS IS GREAT!”. It was just wild, and I think it informed my taste in some way because I tend to love campy over the top stuff. Between ‘GLOW’, ‘PeeWee’s Playhouse‘, ‘The Carol Burnett Show‘ and ‘The Tracey Ullman Show’ all combined turned out to be the kind of comedy I love so when the role for ‘GLOW‘ came up I was pumped.
RB: What kind of training did you go through for your role on ‘GLOW’?
RJ: After we booked ‘GLOW‘, it was two weeks later we went into wrestling training. It was four weeks of wrestling training with a pro-wrestler and two stunt women. They taught us all kinds of wrestling moves like forward rolls, back bumps, running the ropes and eventually into bigger and bigger moves. I was terrified. I thought I was going to wrestling training and it was going to be like a boot camp. I mean I don’t sign up to do boot camps anyway. When I workout I prefer to take a dance class or take extremely slow walks. So, I was extremely nervous that they were going to be like “do a million push-ups” but instead they were like “fly thru the air and land on your back” but somehow it turned out to be a lot of fun.
RB: I love your character duo “The Beatdown Biddies” that you share with your friend and castmate Kimmy Gatewood, did you have any input into their development?
RJ: We had input as basically our audition was to come up with our tag-team characters. We came up with five different ones and like twenty minutes of sketch comedy. We got the callback but the none of the characters we used were “The Beatdown Biddies” but they did have that sketch comedy spirit. So, the first time you see “The Beatdown Biddies” is in season one episode three in the original script. “Hi I’m Ethel and I’m Edna and We’re the Beatdown Biddies” and that was the only dialogue. They said, “listen do whatever you want”. So, we took like an hour and wrote a bunch of old people jokes and they gave us several takes, so we had several options. Then what is in that episode is actually the stuff we wrote. Honestly, that meant so much to me. As you heard me say acting and writing are my favorite things so when I saw that our jokes were in that episode I cried. I feel like I am living my dream and my joke about fiber cereal and making you sh*t your pants is a culmination of everything I have ever done. So, we get to improvise as “The Beatdown Biddies” and write our own stuff and obviously that is something me and Kimmy really enjoy doing.
RB: What can we expect from Season 2 of ‘GLOW’?
RJ: We get to stretch the sketch comedy skills even further and you may get to see us play other types of characters which is a blast. Also, you get to see all the girls get more competitive because they are competing for more screen time. They are influenced by their small-time fame and it sort of changes the dynamic of the group, but ultimately they all love each other, and they come together it is exciting and empowering and people are really going to like it. And if they don’t like it we will have to forcefully make them learn to take a “back bump” (by the way from someone who has actually learned to take a back bump ‘GLOW‘ fans I urge you to LOVE season 2)
RB: Do you have any other projects we can look forward to seeing you in?
RJ: I just directed a couple of sketches for College Humor which is so exciting because they are such a funny group of sketch comedians. They have such a huge following which was fun for me. Then I wrote a short film that I am going to star in and Kimmy (Gatewood) is going to direct called ‘Consent: A Comedy About A Serious Subject‘. I am going to start Crowdfunding this summer and I am shooting it this summer. We hopefully will get it into some festivals as well. I have really been focusing on that and of course, we are hoping to be back in “the ring” if we get another season of ‘GLOW‘.
There you have it dear readers from one of the “gorgeous ladies of wrestling“. This interview had me laughing the entire time it was so much fun. If you are interested in learning more about Rebekka’s crowdfunding campaign for her new short film check our her Instagram page @hellorebekka for updates and of course ‘GLOW‘ Season 2 to is coming to Netflix June 29th so lace up those L.A. Gears, dig out that glitter eyeshadow and get ready to binge watch it now……