Warning: spoilers ahead for GLOW season 3 episode 9, “The Libertines.” Read on at your own risk!
GLOW season 3 may have landed a legend with Geena Davis‘ recurring role, but it’s Davis who actually had her dream come true.
The legendary, Oscar-winning actor joined the Netflix dramedy about women’s wrestling as Sandy Devereaux St. Clair, a former showgirl turned entertainment director of the Fan-Tan Hotel and Casino. Sandy became a mentor to Debbie (Betty Gilpin) as a fellow woman in a position of power, and it was amazing to see the two formidable businesswomen bond over the course of the season. But episode 9 is where Sandy truly wowed the crowd (and viewers) by showing that she still has what it takes to go back to her showgirl ways.
During a benefit, Sandy surprised everyone by donning her old showgirl costume and taking to the stage in a moment that brought the house down. The audience went wild, before disaster struck and homophobic protestors ruined the event. For Davis, the moment when Sandy walks onstage in her white and gold costume is one she’ll never forget.
“I said to them right in the beginning when I found out she was a former showgirl, ‘Please find some way to get me in a showgirl costume!’” Davis tells EW with a laugh. “And they did! I was so excited.”
Below, the actor breaks down that surprise costume change, what it was like to finally live out her lifelong dream of being a showgirl, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: That moment when you walked onstage as a showgirl was just … wow. Instantly iconic. What was it like getting to pick out that costume?
DAVIS: The fitting was fabulous. They had racks of one after another of incredibly outrageous showgirl costumes and I got to try them all on. The funny thing was that the headpieces were so tall in this costume room that I had to kneel down to try them all on! [Laughs] I didn’t get to look at myself in a mirror standing up in that costume which is funny, so I look forward to seeing the show to finally see how I look. But that outfit was the one from the very beginning. In fact, one of the costumers said, “There’s a white one we have but it’s just too big. Nobody can wear that thing. We have others you can try.” But this one just absolutely stuck in my mind, like, “What’s the white one?” They didn’t even have it in the room where I was trying on the costumes and I kept asking, “Where is the white one?” They were like, “Oh god, really?!” “Yes, bring it!” And then everybody was like, “Oh my god!” It’s very heavy, very, very heavy. You have to really be very careful about your posture because it wants to sway and throw you off balance. But I loved it. I could have worn it for days and days [laughs].
What was the first thought that ran through your mind when you put it on?
My first thought was if I had to come up with a dream showgirl costume, it would have been that. It was perfect. I just loved everything about it. The other ones, there was always something that wasn’t quite right or I didn’t quite like about the headdress or the clothes. And this one, everything from the hat to the whole deal I just loved.
How many people did it take to put that headpiece on? That thing was huge.
The big part of it was actually sitting on my shoulders. It was a giant fan that had a brace over my shoulders. It took a few people to help get me into it. It was just so heavy and unwieldy because it was so big. Somebody always stood in the front and held my hands to make sure I didn’t topple over and to keep it on.
Now that you’ve finally worn a showgirl costume, how did it change your opinion or perspective on that career?
Oh yes! I can only imagine how hard it is to actually dance and move around vigorously in a costume like that because it’s really heavy and really tippy. I’d imagine you’d have to be very careful about keeping the balance. I almost kept falling over and I was just standing! And also keeping it on for a long length of time was exhausting. It really pressed so hard on my shoulders and spine. So now I feel like I achieved my dream, got it out of the way, I don’t have to do it again! I’m satisfied with the experience in every way. I checked that off my bucket list.
When you walked onstage while filming that scene, what was the feeling like on set?
They did it in a really fun way. The people that were hired to be the crowd other than the core cast, everyone in the audience at this club was not told that I was there or anything about the scene. They filmed the first time I walked out and it was super fun! [Laughs] Nobody shouted “Geena!” which everyone was really grateful but everyone went nuts. It was really fun and I was really looking forward to the girls seeing me in that costume and it was amazing. I loved that surprise element and that they were able to catch a real reaction on film. When we were making Thelma and Louise, there is a scene where I go into a liquor store and hold it up and I said to Ridley [Scott], “Let’s shoot it without my ever going in there first. I won’t know where things are and where the counter and clerk and all that will be. I think it will be so cool and great to really get something interesting and real.” And everyone let me do it. It was such a bust! Ugh. I seemingly couldn’t manage to improvise that scene. [Laughs] So it ended up being utterly useless.
Now you’ve come full-circle and you finally did it with GLOW. That’s perfect.
Exactly! I finally pulled it off!
GLOW season 3 is now streaming in full on Netflix.
- Everything you need to remember about GLOW before watching season 3
- GLOW‘s Jackie Tohn on Melrose’s emotional season 3 journey: ‘When I read the scripts I was weeping’
- How Geena Davis is battling ageism with her GLOW season 3 character
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