SN Q&A: GLOW Girl Roxy Astor on evolution of women’s wrestling from GLOW to WrestleMania 35 main event, AfterGlow, new Netflix show
Roxy Astor (real name Tracee Meltzer) never wanted to be a professional wrestler. In this world, though, life takes unique twists and turns.In 1987, Astor went through an audition and ended up being selected to be on the first all-female wrestling show Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), which Astor played a socialite from New York City’s Park Avenue. The show was a massive success until it went off the air in 1990. It’s changed so much. I look back at the some of the older wrestlers and give them a ton of credit like Fabulous Moolah, Matilda in the 1960s and 1970s and then GLOW happened. Everything from managers to the Divas, you had to be beautiful. Now, it is starting to look a little bit like GLOW. I think we were ahead of our time, but it had to be at that moment. I don’t think the wrestling would have been ready for having the whole diva thing or someone like Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka and having great workers. I think there’s a much better appeal to different audiences. WWE now has all shapes and sizes. That has always been my thing. Not everybody can be a diva and look like that. Now they can compete and show that they want. Now they are taking independent wrestlers to be in the company. I think it gives people hope.Women’s wrestling was around 70 years ago with Mildred Burke and Moolah. But it didn’t get mainstream attention until GLOW started. People say if it wasn’t for GLOW maybe female wrestling never receives the care that you guys did because it wasn’t much of a thing in WWE and NWA/WCW. If it wasn’t for GLOW, maybe we don’t see women closing Wrestlemania 35 with three women in the main event. Do you think that’s true?Right. You know what’s funny is that I did an interview where I found out Moolah hated us because of the success we were having. Her and Mae Young were huge in the ’90s and the early 2000s. They were matched in wheelchairs. I knew I couldn’t do that. We do get a little bit resentment from some of the girls that have been wrestling for a while. Nobody knew how GLOW was going to be. Nobody knew how it was going to change. Honestly, to be a part of that and to look back is that I went from nobody to being on TV in about seven months. I was unknown to being on tour. It was extremely fast. I wish the pay had been better. It was great. I think GLOW played a significant role in how wrestling has changed and how everything evolved. Astor went on to live a normal life. She became a mother of three children (two girls and one boy) and became a hairdresser. But GLOW came back to life in 2012 when a documentary was done on the promotion. Wanting to keep the name alive, Astor started a Kickstarter campaign and called it AfterGLOW, where she needed to raise $5,000 to get the name trademarked and also do a reunion Q&A called “The AfterGLOW Fan Party” that would feature several of the original members of the show. The financial goal was met and the event took place in October 2014. Since then, Astor continued running the AfterGLOW brand to highlight the original GLOW brand. Astor has organized numerous AfterGLOW events for fan meet-and-greets and done three cruises.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearIn July, Astor will be joined by former GLOW girls Matilda The Hun, Sunny California Girl, MTV, Jailbait, and Gremlina at NostalgiaCon’s Ultimate 80s Reunion starting July 4-6, 2019 in Anaheim.Astor took time out of her schedule to speak with Sporting News about the evolution of women’s pro wrestling from when she started on GLOW to the main event of Wrestlemania 35 with Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. She also discussed her time on GLOW and what she thinks about the show returning on Netflix.Sporting News: You and some of the GLOW girls are going to be part of Nostalgia Con’s Ultimate 80’s reunion coming up July 4-July 6 in Anaheim. How did it all come about and how do you like doing events like those events?Roxy Astor: Because if it’s 80’s nostalgia and I will call to be there. One of my friends told me I have to check this out. I called and talked to a lady named Mandy and asked her if she wanted us to be a part of this. I told her I would bring some new girls with some of the original GLOW girls. I think this is a perfect blend for us to have our AfterGlow group. I’m looking forward to it.How did you get approached to do GLOW?I was never approached. I am the approacher. I was already a fan of GLOW. I drove my Porsche 924 to Los Angeles not wanting to be an actress or anything like it at all. But, I watched GLOW every Saturday. I loved it. There was nothing like it. They had an audition to be a GLOW girl. So, I called because I knew I had to be on this show. Three days later, I was in their offices. I just walked into that room knowing that I was going to be a bad girl. I came in there dressed like a bad girl. I hit the table thinking I blew the audition. I went home and ended up getting the call. I was asked to audition with what I was told later was 3,500 girls. So, I drove my little Porsche 924 to Las Vegas and tried out. It went down to 500 and then to 100 and then down to us.At that point, did you watch the show or any pro wrestling whatsoever?I usually watched WWF. My first thought was always, ‘Where are the women’? I thought the guys were ok, but I wanted to see the women kick some butt. I think that’s why GLOW was so popular. If you saw a woman in the WWF, she was usually just in the back. I loved watching Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan.GLOW was extremely popular because it was different from the WWF and the NWA/WCW because it just highlighted women. Do you have good or bad memories from your tenure on the show?Honestly, I had the best time of my life. Girls were crying on the show quite often and I could understand why they did. I wasn’t like that, though. If I want to do something, I will do it. I never thought I could wrestle in front of a million people in a wild outfit. I was a little insecure. But I broke that as time went on. I would never be able to do the things I’m doing if it wasn’t for GLOW. It made me feel more outgoing and more comfortable with people. It was a fantastic time, but I made it amazing. I didn’t get caught up in any politics.If you didn’t nail the audition and get onto GLOW, what would you have done with your life?I was a hairdresser before I did the show. I graduated from beauty college, and I got asked to do some of the girls’ hair for GLOW. I’m a girl from Auburn, Washington, who played a bad girl on a hit show named Roxy Aster from Park Avenue. I looked at a lot of things to see how I could develop the character more. I had never acted before, so a lot it was me but amping it up 10 times. Roxy Astor https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/29/fb/roxy-astor-glow-040219-ftr_su7scrqhx9fy1beiulcqcmndb.jpg?t=-549619935&w=500&quality=80 A lot of rumor and innuendo is out there about how the show ended. Can you set the record straight on what happened to where you and the girls were no longer on the show?You are always going to have your rumors. I ended up leaving because I was waiting for GLOW The Movie. I met someone in Las Vegas and ended up having a baby. I was about two and a half months pregnant at the time. I was still doing some filming where I was playing something like my Roxy character. Then, I had to take time off as I got farther along in my pregnancy. Then, production on the movie halted for a bit. I was like, ‘What is going on?’ And that was it. After I had my son, I thought they were getting everything together, and we were going to get back to shooting the movie. But, it died out. There were rumors that Peter Sedora was starting to mess around with the girls. So that everyone knows, I wasn’t a part of that.When it ended, and it all came to a close, how did you feel? The show was very successful. You were very successful and a big part of it. Everything looked to be going so well and then it came to a screeching halt.For me, it was a slower crash than a lot of the girls. Because when I left, some of the girls went to Hawaii and were doing a lot more. I was going to go back to it. For me, I had just become a mom and I was going to work my way back into it. For the rest of the girls, it was they left and were told that they would get called back. I think a lot of the girls freaked out and they didn’t have backup careers. They didn’t know what to do with themselves. I look back and see of the girls went to POW and Boxy Boxing. They were grabbing onto anything that was like GLOW. Nothing else worked after that. Fortunately, I had a backup plan.A lot went into getting the AfterGlow name trademarked as you didn’t have the rights to the GLOW name. There was another member who had the name, who licensed it to the people at Netflix to do the show that airs on there right now. What is the story behind all of it?Ursula bought the rights for $1.00. I should have bought the name (laughs). I didn’t own any trademark. If I’m going to give 100 percent to something, I wanted to make sure I have the AfterGlow with the Original GLOW girls trademarked. Otherwise, whatever we would do, we would have still been worried about the GLOW licensing because it wouldn’t have worked with the Netflix deal.How did you find out Ursula licensed the rights to Netflix?She had the rights for a while. She was doing little sideshows. She counted on us helping to do the shows. Most of us were there for her. We were hoping that with that name, something would happen with it. I did that in 2002. She couldn’t plan something as big as this. I think Netflix came to her and said they wanted to buy the rights. It was like a jackpot, but we were left out of the jackpot.Was it upsetting to you because the girls had done so much to help her out, yet you were left out in the cold? I didn’t want any part of that and to be in cameos. My thing is I wish she would have helped others who were on the show who were less fortunate. Help them out or do something. I never wanted any part of it. I think Ursula could have worked out as part of the deal to get some of the other girls involved.When it came to getting the AfterGlow name, I found out that getting it trademarked came because of the fans. How did all of that come about?I came back with this idea. We had done this documentary back in 2012 before the show on Netflix. There was no talk about GLOW. I was doing a radio show, and I wanted to do something for the fans. All of a sudden, there was a Kickstarter, and you could do it. I didn’t have anyone like that to help me out. I did research and got a Kickstarter up the next week. I said at an AfterGlow party that I want to raise $5,000 to get AfterGlow trademarked in one month. I honestly thought I was going to get a dollar from our millions of fans. But that didn’t work. And I saw right away the fans wanted this to happen. But I did raise the money. The fans got so wrapped up into it. We were only a $1,000 away and then one fan who wanted to have dinner, put down that money, and he ended up doing all of our artwork. It’s because of the fans that the AfterGlow is here and I will never let that go.Have you watched the reboot of the show on Netflix and what are your thoughts on it?Oh my god, yes. I have watched all of the shows on Netflix. I met some of them at a WWE pay-per-view about a year-and-half ago. I don’t think they knew we were going to be there. I found it very odd that we were there when the cast of Netflix was there. We were backstage filming and the entire cast except for Kia Stevens (Awesome Kong), who was the real wrestler of the group. They were freaking out when they saw the original GLOW girls. I’m looking forward to season three.Does the show do a fair depiction of how it was?It is in the sense that we lived in apartments and how we did our auditions. There were a few stories with a couple of girls fighting. Again, I have to say that the stories that happened back in the 1980s would blow people away if they knew some of the real stories that happened to us.Women’s wrestling has never been hotter. You look at Wrestlemania 35 on Sunday night, and it’s headlined by Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair. What does it mean in terms of the evolution in women’s wrestling? You looked from when you started to where it was right now, and it’s come full circle. You go from the GLOW girls to nothing to then women being in matches just because of their looks to now being in the biggest match on the biggest show of the year for pro wrestling.