‘Betty’s Cast & Director Tease a ‘Snappier’ Comedy About Female Friendship

Betty Season 1 cast

“I really was drawn to the girls first, not to skateboarding,” filmmaker Crystal Moselle says. Her 2018 film Skate Kitchen serves as the inspiration for HBO’s latest half-hour series Betty, which follows a crew of female skateboarders in New York City.

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Season 3 will air its finale on May 3.

Directing all six installments, Moselle reunites with the cast and real-life skaters — Ajani Russell as Indigo, Dede Lovelace as Janay, Moonbear as Honeybear, Nina Moran as Kurt and Rachelle Vinberg as Camille — that featured in her film. Tackling topical subjects such as race, gender inequality and sexual identity, Betty sells an authentic tale with a different perspective. “I think it’s a little bit snappier and more fun,” Moselle says of the series versus the source material. “But it’s totally the same world and it’s definitely just an extension but a different story.”

Filming across the city, most of the action takes place in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but other boroughs get their due in the show where New York is essentially another character. And while the landscape of the city contributes to the fabric of these girls’ stories, there’s bigger ideas at play. “I think that the show is almost a microcosm for a bigger idea of women entering into male dominated spaces,” Moselle says. “To inspire people to do things they think they can’t do and to be a part of a bigger story of women and men being more equal.”

Betty Season 1

(Credit: HBO)

If skating isn’t your knowledge base, no worries, “This show isn’t about skating at all,” Moselle promises. “It’s about friendships and women’s relationships and relationships in general, so you’ll be hooked in by the drama.” But even with that promise, you’ll be looking a while to compare with any other shows highlighting female friendships. “I think it’s its own thing,” Moselle declares.

Betty, Series Premiere, Friday, May 1, 11/10c, HBO

Betty Season 1 Ajani Russell

Indigo (Ajani Russell)

“She’s a very free spirited person,” Russell says of her character Indigo, a mysterious girl who is new to the skating scene. “She’s curious and interested in the vibrancy of life,” she adds, “and she likes to go on adventures and tries to be the cool kid sometimes. She’s very genuine and honest … most of the time.”

While not all will be revealed about Indigo up front, Russel says “she has a lot of insecurities and fears regarding her identity and she wants people to see who she really is on the inside and disregarding where she came from… she wants to be the best version of herself.”

Betty Season 1 Dede Lovelace

Janay (Dede Lovelace)

“Janay is a sometimes stubborn but very strong hearted, good-willed friend,” Lovelace says of her skater character. “I think she can be a little overbearing at times with her friends and the people that she cares about. But it comes from a good place,” she adds, “I think she’s just trying to find the right way to go about things, and sometimes being so determined to do that hurts her.”

How will that hurt her? Lovelace teases, “Sometimes things need to go really bad for someone to understand a part of themselves. And for Janay, she definitely learns a lot.”

Betty season 1 Nina Moran

Kurt (Nina Moran)

“My character Kurt is a very funky person,” Moran says. “She has no filter. She doesn’t really understand how to control herself, and doesn’t even know that she basically has a problem.” Kurt is one of the first characters viewers meet in the series, and her quirky personality is immediately apparent. “She loves to have fun and she’s a colorful person,” Moran says, adding, “She’s also just kind of weird.”

“She’s definitely similar to me, for sure,” Moran reveals about Kurt, who is a little spacey in her cannabis-induced hazes. “She’s just a higher, little bit crazier version of myself. She does things and doesn’t realize until way later that she messed up in real life. I would realize way sooner than my character,” Moran says, revealing where she and Kurt’s similarities end.

Betty season 1 Moonbear

Honeybear (Moonbear)

“People should expect Honeybear to be more quiet,” Moonbear says of her character, who has an affinity for filming the skate world around her. Reuniting with her Skate Kitchen costars, she says, “We weren’t professional actors before, so I think it makes it way easier for the authenticity to come through onscreen.”

This authenticity shines through in her exchanges with the other stars as she says, “Filming Betty was more of a challenge [than Skate Kitchen]. But I liked the challenge, it was a good challenge.”

Betty Season Rachelle Vinberg

Camille (Rachelle Vinberg)

Vinberg’s character Camille meets the other ladies in a chance encounter and doesn’t get along with them right away. “She isn’t a bad person but she’s a girl that doesn’t really know what it is like to have female friends,” Vinberg shares. “It’s like girls out there who don’t have that [in their lives] and they don’t even know that they need it, because I think everybody needs friends like them.”

“She wants people to see her and cares about how they see her,” Vinberg adds. “I think she’s very self conscious and wants to maintain an image, but it’s not always the best for her.”