How Betty Gilpin Found Her Power on ‘GLOW’ Set: ‘I Took Up Space’

“I quickly learned big boobs have the effect of announcing your presence in a room,” actress says in essay about body image and finding self confidence

Last Updated: January 25, 2018 @ 5:33 PM

Betty Gilpin, known for “American Gods” and “Nurse Jackie,” has written an essay for Glamour magazine about growing up with no self-esteem and finding body confidence on the set of her latest project, Netflix’s “GLOW,” which stands for the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.”

In the essay, Gilpin describes what it was like going through puberty seemingly over night: “Physically, I went from Justin Bieber to Jessica Rabbit. I gained 30 pounds of thigh, booty, and certified American jugs,” she wrote.

“And I quickly learned big boobs have the effect of announcing your presence in a room as if you’re cradling Gilbert Godfrey singing the opening to the ‘Circle of Life.’ Pretty hard to disappear into the wall, which is what I’d taught myself to do before my tits grew to the size of pudding-filled manatee pups,” Gilpin said.

Before working on “GLOW,” in which the ensemble cast of 14 women really learned how to wrestle before filming, the actress worked hard to keep her body from being a focal point. “Having to use this gross ghost in a functional way was not something I had ever thought about,” she wrote.

Gilpin said she found power in the female-driven project. “Creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch commanded our set with a greater authority than any of the bro-gargoyles of yore, but with open arms, back rubs, and eye contact,” she wrote.

“This created the constant sense of: You are loved and celebrated-and now that you’re comfortable, please give us your goddamn guts and soul so we can make the best thing possible. Also, have this Philly cheese steak for God’s sake.”

Near the end of filming, Gilpin realized that she no longer felt uncomfortable in her own skin, despite the skimpy wrestling costumes. “I hadn’t winced at the mirror in months. I stood taller. I took up space.”

“GLOW” is now streaming on Netflix.