Welcome to Admiring Betty Gilpin, your online resource dedicated to the amazing Betty Gilpin. You may better remember Betty for her award nominated role in GLOW. But her career also expands to other acting projects such as Nurse Jackie, Gaslit, The Hunt, Stuber, Masters of Sex, Roar, Isn't it Romantic, and most recently, Mrs. Davis. This fansite is under construction and hopes to become a comprehensive resource dedicated to Betty Gilpin and her career. We are absolutely respectful of Betty and her privacy and are proudly a paparazzi-free site!!!
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2018 – The Last

Lily Sullivan

July 31, 2018


“I always find this to be a really weird place,” Betty Gilpin notes of Los Angeles, where she’s been busy promoting Netflix’s hit Emmy-nominated series GLOW, a raucous behind-the-scenes look at an Eighties female professional wrestling show, alongside co-star Alison Brie, who plays her best friend-turned-rival. “Ali and I are going to the MTV Movie Awards tomorrow and we are introducing some gentleman named DJ Mustard and I thought that was a joke until today,” she says, laughing.

Born into an acting family, the 32-year-old Gilpin has been exposed to the industry her whole life. “I grew up in stage manager’s booths watching my parents playing seemingly every character under the sun,” she recalls. “That was my first window into being an actor—the magic underbelly of this world.” When the time came, her parents told her she could become an actor only if she went to college first, so she studied theater at Fordham, gaining as much experience as she could before pursuing her chosen vocation full-time. “I played Hamlet my senior year,” she says. “That was the first time I could see the marriage of two parts of the brain, an intellectual side and a darker side. It’s so fun to reinvent yourself in a performance.”

Following in her parent’s footsteps, Gilpin has since appeared on both the stage and the screen. She was best known for starring in Showtime’s Nurse Jackie before landing the role of the robust and strong-willed Debbie in GLOW, for which she also recently received an Emmy nomination. She acts with passion and forms a deep kinship with all of her characters, about whom she talks as if they were long-lost friends. “It’s a strange experience, I will say,” she notes. “I had it with Nurse Jackie, where you have these off seasons and a break from the character. Certainly the first couple weeks back, you scramble to remember this persona and then they show up one day.”

Gilpin had an immediate and intense connection to GLOW and to her role as a Spandex-wearing beauty queen wrestler known as Liberty Belle. While preparing for her last audition, she told herself, “Why not just really go in there and really be here? Don’t protect yourself and don’t put walls up because you don’t want to say goodbye to her. If this ten-minute audition is your last time with her, try to enjoy her as much as possible,” she notes. “I said goodbye to her and goodbye to the experience.” Her courage and commitment proved to be to her benefit when she landed the role and signed on for season one: “The odds of an actor getting the job they want [are low,] but once I got it, I loved being able to play with Debbie’s crazy brain.”

Now back for season two, the powerhouse is continuing to expand her performance. “I wrestle a lot more in this season,” she laughs. “It made me feel physically powerful.” She trained for a month before filming and then on set daily with a personal trainer, usually lifting large tires. Her Debbie was a somewhat reluctant participant last season but now has moved into a leading role, which Gilpin is relishing. “I loved getting to play so much with Kia Stevens who plays Tammé, the Welfare Queen,” she offers. “I love that whole fourth episode so much, we just go wild. I kept feeling like they were going to ask us to reel it in, but they never did, they never asked us to be smaller.”

Playing opposite Alison Brie’s Ruth, who cheated with Debbie’s husband before the first season began and has been trying to make amends ever since, has also been supremely rewarding. “I really love all my scenes with Ruth this year. It’s so complicated between the two of them,” she says, “with the duality of hating Ruth so much and wanting to rip out her organs and parade them around the town but also being lonely and knowing she is lonely too and that they are the only people seemingly left on earth that really know each other and that it would be a lot less lonely to feel known by someone.”

In discussing this season, Gilpin has come to realize that she feels very protective of Debbie and the crossroads with which women are currently faced, especially in terms of workplace equality and motherhood. Having previously starred on a soap opera, Debbie is the most prominent among the female wrestlers and negotiates a producer role for herself, which is continually undercut by the male funder and director with whom she is forced to work. “We can either claim our Amazonian, strongest thousand-year-old self or we can go into Kylie Jenner selfie-land and cut ourselves off from our full capability as women,” she argues. “In GLOW, I get to use that first Amazonian self—but to promote it and to be an actress, it’s very much the latter.”

She is vividly aware of the painful irony that in contemporary society and especially in her job, it is nearly impossible to have one without the other. “I think it’s dangerous if you spend too much time in Instagram-filter Barbie world that you aren’t going to be let back in so easily into the thousand-year-old Amazonian world,” she continues. “I felt that going into season two, I’ve spent too much time looking at my phone and putting on lip gloss to look into a camera on a red carpet. [I had to ask myself,] ‘Is that [Amazonian] part of me dead now because I didn’t revisit that place over the last nine months?’ Scrolling through Instagram, I’m like, ‘Am I going to lose the ability to read a book?’”

Gilpin says she’s a feminist, of course, and speaks convincingly about the dual presence of both identities in our culture and the difficulties of accessing what she sees as our true selves. “We spend so much of our lives as little girls scrambling for the right identity, trying to find the right version of ourselves,” she says, “and what we are realizing is that while we’ve been scrambling and the world is saying that the most valuable thing about us is what’s temporary, there’s another part of us that was there whole time. As soon as we are ready to give up the pose, the superficial, we can turn around and see that this other part that has been waiting this whole time—this warrior that we can be until we are eighty-five—it doesn’t care that our tits are in our chin and prefers lines on our face.”

Gilpin’s message is powerful and uplifting, a call to action in the aftermath of the #MeToo era. Through the strength and tenacity of her portrayal of Debbie, she offers a vision of an empowered future—and a pathway to get there. “I need to be a social worker on behalf of my own creativity,” she reasons, “and I’ve tried to do that in the last year and a half. In the past, I’ve wasted so much time. It’s not my fault—it’s the patriarchy’s fault.”

GLOW is now streaming on Netflix.


Script developed by Never Enough Design