If your Netflix queue isn’t set to include GLOW, you’re missing out on some major laughs. 

The comedic series chronicles the adventures of out-of-work actresses in Los Angeles in the ’80s who quickly become a collective of badass misfits who join the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling. 

One of those ladies is Cherry “Junkchain” Bang, played by actress Sydelle Noel, a former student-athlete who had a track scholarship to the University of Georgia before an injury sidelined her dream. The actress, who most recently played a member of the Dora Milaje in Black Panther, talked to ESSENCE about her character, the importance of proper representation of Black love on TV and why she proudly represents for the “tomboys” all over the world. 

What can you tell us about the growth of your character in the new season?

In the first season you saw the dynamic of Cherry being a badass, you saw her pretty much being a coach to the girls, more so a mother figure. And they’re more so serious one of the bunch. Really going to her job and really for her job. In the second season, you see Cherry hit a rollercoaster. Now, you’re seeing a more vulnerable side of Cherry that you haven’t seen before. So I’m glad people get to see [that], a different side of her. 

How excited are you that Cherry and her husband Keith’s marriage will be showcased a lot this season? We see that Black love is getting a lot more screen time and audiences are drawn to it!

That’s one of the things that I really love about this show and I really love about our creators Liz [Flahive] and Carly [Mensch]. I didn’t even know if my character was going to be married. I found out the second episode of the first season when introducing my husband, his name is Keith Bang [played by Bashir Salahuddin], and I put two and two together. They came to me and they said, ‘So we really want to show a loving relationship, and out of all the characters you have a stable, loving relationship.’

I was blown away and I was telling them, literally commending them, and saying thank you because you hardly see that. You see the exact opposite. You see the single mother struggling with kids. You hardly see a woman in the growth of her career and then a husband supporting that. I was so grateful for that. And you still get to see that, even more so in the second season, you get to see Keith really supporting Cherry and really being by her side through all of the emotional trauma that she goes through. He’s right there by her side, and I’m so glad that they got to show that, and I’m so glad that everybody gets to see that.

Why do you think it’s so important for young Black girls, who are watching this show to see this kind of Black love story and this type of Black female character? You have a woman who’s not the “stereotypical” stay-at-home wife. She’s tough and not afraid to use her muscle.

It’s so important. I’m just going to use myself as an example. Being a tomboy growing up, being someone who is very physical, I didn’t see that growing up. I never saw that on television. I’m glad that you see that a woman, as strong as Cherry, is a working character and that [she has] Keith. He was a stay-at-home dad but now he’s worked his way into the wrestling area as well.

Growing up, I was always like ‘should I be athletic? Do I need to be a little bit more girly?’ I was a huge tomboy, and I hardly saw tomboys on television as myself. I didn’t see a representative of myself. For me, to be a representative for little girls out there, I’m very thrilled and I hope it doesn’t change. 

Give fans three reasons to tune in to season two of GLOW. Go!

I’ve been saying this all year. It’s becoming a little trademark for myself. This season is literally going to be bigger, badder, and better than the first season. You’ll see more wrestling. You’ll see more of an emotional rollercoaster for Cherry. You’ll see the girls themselves dealing with becoming local celebrities, and you’ll see the struggles of actresses in the 1980s that you didn’t get to see before. There will be more glitter and more spandex and you’ll see a lot of that. And you get to see the wrestling as well.

The season 2 of GLOW premieres on Friday, June 29th on Netflix. 

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