“GLOW” and Kia Stevens are shining brighter than ever.
Stevens and the ensemble of the 1980s-set professional wrestling-business comedy are back in the ring for the series’ 10-episode third season.
The new season ollows its Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling to Las Vegas, where their show launches a residency at the Fan-Tan Casino. And it looks at the mental and physical wear-and-tear that comes with a life in the business.
That focus hit close to home for Stevens, a longtime professional wrestler.
Kia Stevens attends the Netflix FYSEE Glow ATAS official red carpet and panel at Raleigh Studios on June 1 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Emma McIntyre, Getty Images for Netflix)
“I thought they were spot-on, especially because I actually struggle with back injuries,” says Stevens, who underwent back surgery last year. “So, when I read through my script it was (like it was) straight out of my diary.”
Inspired by a real Reagan-era women’s wrestling promotion, “GLOW” has earned 13 Emmy nominations.
This year’s Emmy contenders include an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for co-star Betty Gilpin, also nominated last year.
Stevens appears as Tamme Dawson, who competes on the show-within-a-show as the villainous Welfare Queen.
While she came into the series with more than a decade of wrestling experience under her belt, Stevens says it’s been rewarding to see her co-stars develop their in-ring skills.
“The girls, they know their stuff now, so we just had to shake off a little bit of ring rust and just do a little bit of getting back in the ring and re-familiarizing ourselves again,” Stevens says. “But they know that any one of them can go out there and have a great wrestling career.”
Stevens began hers nearly 20 years ago, starting in Japan before working for Total Nonstop Acting Wrestling as Awesome Kong, Ring of Honor as Amazing Kong and World Wrestling Entertainment as Kharma.
Kia Stevens attends the Netflix FYSEE Glow ATAS official red carpet and panel at Raleigh Studios on June 1, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Emma McIntyre, Getty Images for Netflix)
In recent years, she’s witnessed the ascendancy of women in the professional wrestling business; earlier this year, women headlined WWE’s WrestleMania event.
“It’s a long time coming,” Stevens says. “I’m just really happy that women are finally being seen as athletes and people who can compete, can perform at the caliber of the men and are given the opportunity to be performers and not like a sideshow. So I’m glad that I feel like I had a little bit to do with that. I’m glad I’ve been able to do my part.”
In May, Stevens shocked the wrestling world when, as Awesome Kong, she was revealed as a surprise competitor at rising promotion All Elite Wrestling’s sold-out Double or Nothing event in Las Vegas. It was her first time playing the character in years.
“It was strange to slip back into her skin and psyche because Kong is a totally different psyche from Kia,” she says. “The reception was so breathtaking that my knees almost buckled. I almost didn’t make it to that ring because my legs turned to jelly. I love wrestling fans for that.”
Stevens sees a future where she balances work as Awesome Kong with time on “GLOW.”
“I think it’s possible, I think it’s very possible,” she said. “We’re certainly going to try. AEW is very flexible, and they want to give the wrestling community what they want.”
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