Netflix Series ‘GLOW’ Introduces A Badass Latina Character And We Stan
The Netflix comedy series “Glow” premiered its second season in June 2018, bringing new adventures, dramas, bad 90s hair, and costumes to the world of the gorgeous ladies of wrestling. But it also brought something else to shake things up.
A new character named Yolanda, a badass Latina who doesn’t take any crap in or outside the ring.
Here’s a few things to know about Yolanda!
1. She’s played by Shakira Berrerashakirabarrera / Instagram
The Nicaraguan-American actress doesn’t have a ton of acting credits to her name, but has appeared on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lethal Weapon,” and “Queen of the South.”
2. Her character Yolanda has a nickname.shakirabarrera / Instagram
What is it? I’ll give you a hint. It’s after a childhood toy from the ’80s. It’s Yo Yo!
3. Shakira, and Yolanda, can move!shakirabarrera / Instagram
Shakira graduated from Rutgers with a B.F.A. in dance. That came in handy for this character, who uses her dance moves in the wrestling rings…and elsewhere.
4. Yolanda is Mexican-American.shakirabarrera / Instagram
Which is great considering the lack of representation of Latinx characters on television. We need more that have actual depth.
5. She’s bisexual.enjolrasandrson / Instagram
Yolanda is the first bisexual character to appear on the show, though arguable not the only LGBTQ+ character. She’s out and proud, and doesn’t feel the need to hide her identity.
6. That’s important for a few reasons.LuxuryLexxx / Twitter
TV and film has a tendency to portray people from the LGBTQ+ community as tragic characters, reducing them to their traumas. Or they’re in the closet and battling with their identity.
7. Not here though.krystalllrose / Instagram
Nope, Yolanda thrives in her sexuality and while we can assume she’s had some hardship, it’s not the focus of her story. Perhaps that will come up in season three, but this proves it isn’t necessary to always lean on characters like Yolanda to only be compelling if they’re tragic.
8. In fact, she finds love.ElaineAtwell / Twitter
Spoiler alert, but Yolanda is so fly and cute one of her wrestling colleagues falls head over heels in love with her. And it’s totally adorable.
9. And her love interest…shakirabarrera / Instagram
Is also a woman of color – and it’s Arthie, aka Beirut the Mad Bomber. After being paired together for a dance routine, they become totally smitten. Showing the blossoming love of two women of color is something beautiful to see.
10 . She’s a stripper.afearlessevil / Twitter
Yolanda was “discovered” by Sam, the creator of the wrestling show, at a local strip club where he saw her dancing.
11. And once again, she’s not ashamed.shakirabarrera / Instagram
When anyone tries to make her feel bad or embarrassed about her day job, she shuts it down real quick. Having an unapologetic stripper on TV is awesome and helps reduce stigmas.
12. Well, she might be a little embarrassed.enjolrasandrson / Instagram
But only when she was about to drop her top and her boss was there in the front row. She warns him that it’s about to come off and he leaves the room because now that he knows her it’s harder to watch. Men, I tell ya.
13. Her wrestling persona is Junkchain.vcxx0 / Instagram
The character initially belonged to Cherry, but after she left the wrestling show to star on a cop series she had to forfeit her character.
14. But then is forced to fight for it.shakirabarrera / Instagram
In a very offensive match where Sam makes “Chola Junkchain” fight “Black Junkchain” to see who gets to keep the name.
15. Her character, and others, delve into racial and ethnic stereotypes.enjolrasandrson / Twitter
That fight, and the wrestling personas of several of the other characters play into stereotypes that are not just offensive but super reductive. It gives the show a place to speak on these stereotypes and why they’re not ok. That includes Junkchain.
16. In real life, she’s backed that up for big stars.shakirabarrera / Instagram
Shakira has used her dance background to dance on stage with Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Don Omar, Chiquis Rivera and others.
17. Is Yolanda inspired by anyone?CaseyRackham / Instagram
Maybe! There was a wrestler back in the day who was the first open gay woman wrestler. Her name was Sonya Deville. And before her there was a wrestler named Tiffany Mellon, only she sued the original real life GLOW for harassment stemming from beliefs about he sexuality.
18. She landed the job with a tape.GozaRoza / Twitter
Shakira recorded an audition tape and submitted it to a casting director. That tape landed in the hands of the show’s creators and the rest is history.
19. She wasn’t welcomed at first.Lailoca / Instagram
On the show! When she first arrives on the series, the other characters don’t like Yo Yo, thinking she’s going to take their job. But that proved to be untrue. And in real life that wasn’t the case either. The cast was happy to have her, and she was already friends and former colleagues with Britney Young, who plays Carmen/Machu Pichu.
20. GLOW isn’t it for Shakira!shakirabarrera / Instagram
She just signed on to be a series regular on the comedy “Three Rivers.” She had these words to say: “Representing every dreamer out there. Every Latina. Every underdog. Every fighter. Don’t stop knocking on those doors. And if you get tired of knocking, kick them down. I promise, the right one will open for you.”
Shakira is someone to look out for, and out there representing Latinas with style, grace, and fierceness. We can’t wait to see more!
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