Former Impact Wrestling Knockout and current “GLOW” star Awesome Kong, real name Kia Stevens, recently spoke with The Ringer about the new season of “GLOW”, and below interview highlights.
Unlike most of the other the cast members, you have an actual background in wrestling. As a wrestler, have you also had to struggle with inhabiting stereotypes, as Tammé does?
For sure! Absolutely, for sure. When I first went to Japan, I didn’t get to choose my name, Amazing Kong. In fact, I was training in Santa Monica at the New Japan dojo and Shinsuke Nakamura, who’s now a WWE superstar, called me Kong. I didn’t know if he was just unaware of the connotation that Kong would have for a black person, because he was from Japan, but I got really upset. Then they had to explain to me that they’d recently had a press conference, and that the company that was bringing me over had named me Kong.
So I had to go home and really contemplate and really consider what I’d be getting myself into, and whether or not I should just ditch the job, even though it would be a great opportunity for me. I was at home, in Hollywood at the time, and an N.W.A song came on. I remember thinking, “Hey, N.W.A stands for what it stands for.” Since they can be N.W.A, I could be Kong, and I would make this name my own, and make anyone who sees it, hears it, and relates it to me understand that it’s about respect. And that I did. Anyone who sees Amazing or Awesome Kong respects that name first. I feel that that’s a goal that my people should always work towards, not a meaning of ridicule or put-down, but always respect. I owned it, and I own it today.
Did you have any input during the writing process? Do you talk to the writers about your wrestling experience, and do they draw from that?
They definitely asked me about my experiences as a wrestler, and specifically as an African American woman of nontraditional size in wrestling. I feel that they’ve heard me, and that they’ve incorporated parts of my story throughout GLOW, whether it’s through Tammé or someone else’s character. I feel heard through our overall story.