By Marie Bargas and Tony Sokol
The GLOW TV series premieres on June 23, 2017, but Netflix’s comedy, executive produced by Orange Is the New Black’s Jenji Kohan, is pure 80s. Big haired girls just wanted to have fun on Saturday mornings, and what could be more fun than watching the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling toss each other around the ring in between music videos. MTV put The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling on maps and mats and Eileen O’Hara put MTV in G.L.O.W.
G.L.O.W. (TV series) cast Alison Brie as a cattle-call-weary actress who pins co-star Marc Maron until he puts her in tights as the star of his all-ladies wrestling promotion league TV series, details Rolling Stone.
The original syndicated GLOW TV show ran out of the Riviera Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip from 1986–1990. It was started in 1986 by Matt Cimber, the last husband of the slightly satanic sixties sexy symbol Jayne Mansfield, as an extension of Jackie Stallone’s (Sylvester Stallone’s mom) women-only physical fitness gym. The women were trained by Mando Guerrero and Colonel Ninotchka. Miles Headlock, a Max Headroom clone, and “Motormouth” Mike Morgan commented on eight matches an episode.
Ursula Hayden, who ran the ring as Babe the Farmer’s Daughter, Princess of Darkness and Donna Matrix brokered the Netflix series and the documentary film GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (2011), which was directed by Brett Whitcomb and written by Bradford Thomason.
The new series is not without controversies. In its three-star spoiler-free GLOW review, Collider warned to proceed with cautious optimism. Even the Netflix GLOW billboard, four stories tall, is being challenged to a match in Texas, according to Fox News 4.
The Washington Post pointed out along with reminders that the series was blasted for its sexism, but G.L.O.W. wasn’t just about tight neon unitards.
“Empowerment versus exploitation: they were both there,” GLOW’s co-creator and co-executive producer Liz Flahive told Vanity Fair. “This whole job has been totally female-forward,” Brie added in an interview with People magazine, 34. “Our creators are women, our producers are women, 14 members of the cast are women.”
But Netflix only talked with one of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, writes The Washington Post.
Marie Bargas, the managing editor of Entertainment 2morrow spoke with another of those women. Eileen O’Hara wrestled under the alias Melody Trouble Vixen, MTV for short. O’Hara was in the MTV series GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling from the very beginning. An actress who didn’t get credit for playing Blackbeard’s wife on the 1997 TV series Sea Tales, she recently rewrote a five-season TV series into the novel Ordained. O’Hara published the first novel in her Banners of Avalon series in 2015.
E2: How did your become involved with the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting a.k.a. G.L.O.W.
Eileen: I was a starving actress going on auditions. I wasn’t even there for the GLOW audition. I was there for a Seafood Broiler Commercial audition and the GLOW audition was going on in the same casting office and the receptionist asked me if I wanted to go into and talk to Producer, Matt Climber. I thought for a moment, “It’s the highest rated nationally syndicated televisions show on twice a week and at a principal part. And I heard myself saying, “Sure, I’ll go talk to him.” He looked at my portfolio and invited me to come to Las Vegas for the training. And then he said something that I will never forget. “You are welcome to come and participate in the wrestling training. I think you are going to get your ass kicked. But you are welcome to come try.” I made it through several cuts and was finally offered a contract at the end of the training.
How did you come up with the name M.T.V.?
Our training involved acting as well as wrestling. Since there is not a lot of talking in the ring you had to convey the story of the match like you were in a silent movie. Matt had us doing what he called “three word plays.” Translation? Three people had to play a scene. Each person only got one word. And we would be critiqued on how well we delivered to message afterwards. I had been singing in rock band and on that night I showed up in my corset, crinoline, beads in a full Cindy Lauper Ensemble … because Girls Just Want to Have Fun … Matt leaned over to Steve Blance, the show writer, and said, “I’m gonna call her M.T.V. And we’re have her wrestle with a guitar strapped to her back.” So Matt said, “I want to call you Melody and you should be a vixen.” And I said, “Well you know Matt, Trouble has always been my middle name.
What do you feel was the highlight of your career?
I loved the whole experience from wrestling to putting on the costume and the make-up and mostly meeting the fans. They are wonderful people. I love them. It’s amazing how, especially now, who have been there since day one. Mike Conrad began as a young man watching ringside. He comes and sees us whenever we go to Vegas. Gremlina coined the phrase – FANMILY. We consider our fans family. Without then we wouldn’t be here.
What was dating like for a GLOW girl?
Honey, dating was non-existent. When we were in production we worked 6 days a week. I did date someone in production, but I prefer to keep those memories between him and I. He’s a very dear friend.
How do you think the new Netflix Series should portray Melrose’s love life? Do you think they are going to add men to the mix to spice things up?
First of all, I love Melrose. She looks like a rocker chick and she was on American Idol, so I know she can sing.
Darling, MTV opened every match with a song. Don’t see any resemblance?
I read an interview with some the cast members who they watched our matches in order to understand and better play the characters.
But don’t you think that character was inspired by you?
She reminds me of a combination of MTV and Hollywood.
What advice would you give the stars of the show today?
Really pay attention to everything your body is doing in the ring. That’s where you can make the best moves of your life or end your career very quickly. They have the advantage of rehearsals, choreography and scripted scenes. All our matches were performed and shot in front a live audience. When you are wrestling you have to be so present. You need to enjoy in the moment because you won’t be doing it forever.
Are you still involved in GLOW somehow?
Thankfully, yes. Roxy (Roxy Aster) came up with a brilliant idea for a show called the “AfterGLOW Fan Party.” It’s an interactive show featuring the GLOW fans. The original GLOW girls interact with our fans. This has now evolved into the “AfterGLOW FAN Party at Sea.” Our third cruise will be in March of 2018. We leave out of the New York headed to the Bahamas. It’s the most fun you will ever have on a cruise vacation. I guarantee it. We do all the shore excursions. We hang out. We party with them. We have events and on the main night we are having a fantasy masquerade. The main show is After Glow Fan Party. We play games like Truth or Dare, the Hot Seat, we have an Open Mic … it’s a lot of fun.
What does AfterGLOW mean to you?
It started out as a way to keep in touch with the fans. And it’s turned out to be one of the best tihngs that has ever happened to. I’ve grown so much personally. Getting to know all these beautiful people has been a catalyst for my own self growth. For example: after the first cruise so many of the fans have told me how being on the cruise has given them a safe place to be themselves. We have watched them blossom and form a sense of community. And I’ve grown with them. I consider some of them my close friends and others my family. I attribute it to the power of LOVE.