Gloria is a lanky woman with a yellowish skin tone, who looks like she might be middle-aged. Her head resembles a theater mask, and it is surrounded by her most notable feature: her red, branch-like hair, chaotically curling up and out in all directions. One of the "branches" of her hair seems to be partially broken, as it dangles down midway. As a former actress, Gloria still seems to wear a lot of makeup, having thick black eyelashes and dark red lips. She has a mole on the left side of her mouth. She also wears large hanging earrings, uneven in length, composed of multi-colored beads.
Gloria is usually seen wearing a long, filthy-looking hospital gown that's been crudely painted on, most likely by Gloria herself in an attempt to fashion a more colorful costume to act in. The gown is encrusted with dirt and moss at the bottom, and one of Gloria's thorny pot plants has gotten caught on the hem, dragging behind her when she walks in her typical elegant strides.
Gloria is typically a harmless person who, as a former actress, adores the spotlight. However, by the events of Psychonauts, traumatic events in her past had taken their toll on her mind, causing her to suffer from severe mood swings and delusions. As long as she was standing in the light, Gloria was so kind as to be almost saccharine, but when she stepped into the shadows, she became defensive and outright hostile.
After Razputin ventured into her mind and defeated Jasper, Gloria's inner critic that was blocking her attempts at coping with her past by ridiculing everything she tried to do, she seemed to get a healthier grip on reality again, returning to being an overall more balanced person.
–Character blurb from the original Psychonauts website
Gloria was raised by single mother, who was an actress. She never knew her father, who is implied to have left her and her mother when she was very young. Eventually, her mother's manager/boyfriend convinced her to send Gloria away to a boarding school called Hagatha Home in order to better focus on her own career as an actress.
Hagatha Home was run by a vicious headmistress, who trained the girls under her care in the arts of theater, punishing her students with a whip if they made even the slightest mistakes. Amidst constant ridicule, Gloria desperately wished for her mother – whom she still loved dearly – to take her back home, forever waiting for the letters her mother had promised to write to her every day. However, it is implied that her mother's boyfriend/manager deliberately neglected to actually deliver any of them.
As she waited for the letters that would never come, Gloria learned to act well, appearing to have a natural talent for the stage. Eventually, Gloria's mother came to collect her, and she perused eventually became a very successful, famous, sought-after actress. The world fell in love with her superb acting, and wherever she performed, theaters were packed with eager fans and spectators. Gloria earned trophies, critical acclaim, and was able to purchase a seaside home, all in the hopes of making her mother proud.
Unfortunately, her mother's own acting career was nowhere near as successful as her daughter's. While Gloria's star continued to rise, her mother became jealous and bitter towards her daughter. This upset Gloria, as she never wanted to be famous, she only wanted her mother's love. Eventually, as implied one of the plays in her mind, her mother's jealousy got to the point that Gloria grew to resent her mother, disowning her and setting up a tour in Europe to get away from her, despite her mother's pleas to stay with her. One day, while Gloria was away, she received news that her mother had committed suicide, by throwing herself from the off the roof of a building.
Gloria was so traumatized, and possibly guilt ridden, by this that she began to doubt her own acting abilities, causing her talents to decline. Critics who came to watch her from around the world both ridiculed and berated her performances, eventually leading to her falling from stardom in disgrace. Gloria, suffering from harsh criticism from both herself and others, began to think she was always on stage, while also developing severe mood swings. This all eventually resulted in Gloria getting committed to a sanitarium.
The Li-Po backstory document offers extra backstory information on some characters in Psychonauts. It has not been stated canon by DoubleFine Productions.
|Little Gloria Von Gouton was born in scandal. Her mother, the famous opera star Estrella Von Gouton, had the child out of wedlock, and kept the identity of the father a secret. Estrella was famous for her strong-headedness and independence, and she seemed unphased by the flood of puritan judgment that was heaped on her by the conservative opera press of her day. She declared her intentions to raise the child alone, and it seemed the world turned on her. Her popularity faded overnight. Producers stopped calling her, casting her, or even inviting her to parties. The public, it seemed, did not approve. The critics were merciless. Gloria’s sole confidant, her controlling and shifty manager, Loman Kricke, who had pleaded with her not to have the child, pressured her endlessly to put little Gloria up for adoption to save her career. Estrella refused for a very long time, but not forever.
When it looked like her career might actually come to an end, she finally conceded to Loman’s demands. She dropped Gloria off at Hagatha Home School for Girls. A sort of Peking Opera of rigorous—and sometimes brutal—schooling in the performing arts, Hagatha Home was a cross between Juliard and the Gulag. This is where little Gloria spent most of her childhood. Estrella would write Gloria long, loving letters from her world tours, but Mr. Kricke would intercept them. He was afraid the child would write back, and he wanted nothing distracting Estrella from her career. Estrella was Loman’s meal ticket, but little did she suspect the truth: that he was eating a little more than his share.
She trusted him completely, and it took her 12 years to realize that he had been cooking some pretty shady books when it came to her accounting. She finally fired, sued, and wrote a book about her ex-manager, but was only able to reclaim a portion of the funds he had embezzled from her. In the book she dispelled rumors that Loman Kricke was Gloria’s secret father. She would never reveal the true father’s name, but did confess that he was a fellow opera singer, and had seduced her with his angelic voice.
Free from Loman’s spell, Estrella returned to Hagatha Home and rescued her daughter from the confines of her theatrical death camp. She brought her now beautiful, 18-year-old around the world with her on tour, where Gloria enjoyed a most celebrated coming out. She exploded on the social scene with a fanfare. She was famous even before she followed in her mother’s footprints onto the stage. Her training in theater, although painfully learned, served her well. She could dance; she could sing; she could act. She would star in huge Broadway musicals, full of synchronized dancing and elaborate production numbers like “Sunshine Shenanigans.” She was the happiest she would ever be in her life, and also the most popular. She quickly became ten times the entertainer of anyone else working at the time, including her mother.
And her mother noticed. Her own daughter had shoved her out of the spotlight. Once again, work started slowing down for Estrella. The press, the fans, they only wanted to hear about Gloria. As her fame ran through her fingers like sand, Estrella’s heart became twisted and dark. Another side to her personality emerged, seemingly out of nowhere. She became a cruel and bitter old woman, bent on destroying Gloria’s self image. “They only want you because you’re young, you know. When it fades, you’ll have nothing!” She would tell her. “You know who your father was? He was my gardener! And he couldn’t carry a tune!”
Gloria was destroyed by the cruel words of her mother. She would beg Estrella to stop, but the old woman had snapped. Gloria left for an extended production in Paris, just to get away from her mother, but while she was away, Estrella broke in to her old theater, climbed into the catwalks, and leaped to her death on the boards of the stage far below.
Gloria, already a tortured soul from her harsh childhood, was not prepared for this shock. Guilt pulled at her and unraveled her sanity like a nail pulling on a sweater. She tried to throw herself into her work, but she began to have panic attacks at the thought of taking the stage. Her performances became nervous and agitated. She would fumble her lines and trip during stage numbers. Finally, when a moving cloud platform pulled her up over the stage for her show-stopping solo, she looked down at the stage and became paralyzed. She just froze. She couldn’t say a word. They lowered her down and she ran back to her dressing room and refused to come out--Ever again. Eventually, they had to have her dragged out by the police. She was thrown into a paddy wagon an in no time she found herself at a new sort of Hagatha Home, this time Thorney Towers Mental Sanctuary. She would ignore the doctors’ attempts to get her involved in some of the plays the inmates put on for each other. She chose instead to spend all her time in the garden, tending roses. She isolated herself in her secret garden so completely, that when they cleared the place out, she was simply overlooked.And now she still lives in that garden, performing daily to an audience of dead roses and dried up shrubbery. Waving and taking bow after bow to applause that only she can hear.
Razputin finds Gloria in the garden just off the asylum entrance. In the midst of a manic episode, she performs and bows to the imagined accolades of flowerpots with drawn-on happy faces, thanking them as if they are her adoring audience.
Behind Gloria floats a golden claw-like trophy. If Razputin talks to her before retrieving the trophy, she mistakes him for the new leading male actor, speculating that her "eternally young" face is the reason she continues to be paired with such youthful male leads.
However, if Razputin tries to pick up the trophy, Gloria recognizes the object as her old acting award. She at first offers to tell Razputin about how she got it, but upon stepping out of the spotlight and into the shadows, quickly grows suspiciously angry, accusing Raz of trying to steal it because he believes she does not deserve it. In spite of Raz's protests, Gloria takes the trophy away from him, and claims that she never asked to become famous; she only wanted to be loved. She then threateningly advances on Razputin with the razor-sharp trophy, scaring him into retreat.
Hoping to learn the source of Gloria's mood swings, Raz enters her mind, where he navigates stage-plays representing Gloria's childhood memories, albeit strongly colored by her emotions to be either excessively happy and heroic or hopelessly sad and cruel. Eventually, Raz finds his way into the catwalks above the stage, where he tracks down the Phantom that sabotages Gloria's inner theater. He discovers that the Phantom is really her oversized inner critic Jasper, and defeats him, reducing him to a more manageable size. This eases Gloria's mood swings and the inner torment that affected her for so long. Now at peace, Gloria happily leaves the greenhouse, looking forward to retiring comfortably from her acting career.
After Loboto has been defeated, Gloria meets up with the other inmates on the courtyard and decides to finally move on. The gas valve she opened (thinking it was the water supply) reacted with Boyd's thrown milk bottle Molotov, blowing up the entire Asylum. Gloria, Boyd, Fred, and Edgar escaped the island before the explosion.
Gloria appears in the Psychonauts recap animation in Psychonauts 2.
- Main article: Gloria's Theater
Gloria is friends with Edgar. They escape with the remaining inmates from Thorney Towers before it's destroyed. The full extend of their relationship is up to speculation.
Gloria is friends with Boyd. They escape with the remaining inmates from Thorney Towers before it's destroyed. The full extend of their relationship is up to speculation.
Gloria is friends with Fred. They escape with the remaining inmates from Thorney Towers before it's destroyed. The full extend of their relationship is up to speculation.
Gloria views Raz as a young stage performer and a fan of her work. If Claivoyance is used on Gloria, Raz will appear as an autographed picture of Gloria.
Gloria loved her mother dearly and was devastated by her suicide. She spent years mulling over it during her extended stay at Thorney Towers.
Cispin is Gloria's fellow asylum inmate. They do not interact directly within the game, therefore their true relationship is up to speculation.
- "Oh, you must be my new leading man! Aren't you handsome? But, my gracious, you're so young! Tell me why do they keep casting me with such mere babes? I guess that's the curse of having an eternally young face."