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‘GLOW’ Star Kia Stevens Talks Women’s Endurance in Wrestling

In the second season of “GLOW,” the wrestling comedy dove deeper into the stereotypes of the women’s ring personas and how they affected the women in their real, daily lives.

“Being a woman’s wrestler, you have to shine in a smaller period of time,” said Kia Stevens at the Netflix Television Critics Assn. press tour panel Sunday, noting that promoters often don’t take women as seriously and give them less time in the ring to tell their story. “Women have to endure so much more to make it.”

Stevens shared that when she first started wrestling she was asked to take the name Amazing Kong (also known as Awesome Kong). Being an African-American woman, that wasn’t something she was comfortable with, but she did it and did it in a way that she could reclaim the name.

“Now they respect and fear that name,” she said.

But, like her “GLOW” character of Tamme who wrestles under the moniker Welfare Queen and started to rethink her decisions when her college-age son came to watch a match in the second season, Stevens was once concerned about how her family would react to her playing the character.

“When I’m in there, I’m serious,” she said. “How are they going to receive that? They were extremely supportive, but there was that moment of, ‘Oh god what do you think of this?’ [I’m] being banging my fist like a gorilla.”

Stevens noted that what is most important to her now is that she is “in a position, or at least working towards” one to help the future generation not be powerless.

“If you want to be a Kong, be a Kong —  but not because you feel like you have to,” she said.

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