The second season of Netflix’s wrestling comedy, “Glow,” premieres June 29, and looking at the trailer, Indian American actress Sunita Mani seems to have proven herself to be a brilliant addition to the cast led by Allison Brie and Marc Maron.
Inspired by the short-lived but beloved show from the ‘80s, “Glow,” aka “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” tells the fictional story of Ruth Wilder (Brie), an out-of-work, struggling actress in ‘80s Los Angeles who finds one last chance for stardom when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling.
In addition to working with 12 Hollywood misfits – one of whom is Arthie Premkumar, played by Mani – Ruth also has to compete with Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), a former soap actress who left the business to have a baby, only to be sucked back into work when her picture-perfect life turns out not to be what it seems. At the wheel is Sam Sylvia (Maron), a washed-up, B-movie director who now must lead this group of women on the journey to wrestling super stardom.
Mani plays the recurring role of a mild-mannered Indian American pre-med student, who transforms into “Beirut the Mad Bomber” for her wrestling scenes.
Mani, a dancer and choreographer for Cocoon Central Dance Team, a comedic dance group, gained national recognition after she “danced” in DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s 2014 music video, “Turn Down for What.” She also appeared in the drama, “Mr. Robot,” as Trenton.
In an interview with Nylon, Mani expressed that she doesn’t mind talking about how it’s like being an Indian American actress since she doesn’t feel defined by her race, especially with her background in comedy and performance, which is rooted in absurdity.
“It’s funny being in contexts with ‘Mr. Robot’ and ‘Glow’ where I am more defined by my ethnicity or the way I look — that is the reason why I’m there in the story. I struggle with that idea of ‘token identity,’ but it’s way more in-depth with ‘Glow,’” she told the publication. “We (the cast) had a lot of open discussions with the writers because the situation was so meta. For me, I’m playing a new-to-acting Indian American woman who is stereotyped and cast as an Arab, and thusly a terrorist, but I am also, as an Indian American, playing a stereotype to make a comment on it. It was exciting to figure out the role and the conversation, even though I can’t always pinpoint how I feel about it.”
“Glow” is executive produced by Liz Flahive (“Homeland”) and Carly Mensch, Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann (“Orange is the New Black”).