Betty: All you need to know about Sky Comedy’s skater series

Based on Crystal Moselle’s critically acclaimed film Skate Kitchen, this new six-part coming-of-age series follows five young skateboarders as they hang out in New York City.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 23 June 2020 - 12.49pm
NOW TV Comedy

Nina Moran

Watch Betty from June 9th on Sky Comedy with NOW TV.

Betty is a coming-of-age series about a group of young women growing up in the predominately male world of skateboarding in New York City.

For UK viewers, the show’s premise may sound a bit niche, but don’t worry if you don’t know your Ollie from your Heel-flip: there is so much more to enjoy in this series than tricks and flips in skateparks.

A follow-up to director Crystal Moselle’s 2018 movie Skate Kitchen, this six-episode series captures the spirit, sounds and sexism facing five young skaters as they navigate through emotional moments in their lives.

The beautifully shot series can often make you feel like you’re watching a documentary unfold. The stripped-back conversations and dreamy skate sequences across New York make the show stand out from a stereotypical ‘growing up’ drama.

Nina Moran as Kirt & Dede Lovelace as Janay in Betty © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The diversity and organic feel of Betty is what makes it so compelling, capturing an chilled-out authenticity as its characters work their way through the sort of problems any tight-knit group of young friends can recognise.

Raw, cool and with a powerful outsiders message, Betty is a series for the non-conformists and socially awkward who want to make a stand.

How to watch Betty

Dede Lovelace as Janay & Rachelle Vinberg as Camille & Nina Moran as Kirt © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Watch Betty from June 9 on Sky Comedy with NOW TV.

Sky Comedy is one of the channels available on the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.

The reviews are in...

The Guardian hailed the show for its "authenticity". It said that the series had something "lacking in other teen shows that claim to capture the Gen Z experience: the high-budget, hyper-sexualised Euphoria or the silly seductiveness of Riverdale."

Variety critic Caroline Framke said that the series “zips alongside its characters as they weave through traffic, across parks, over bridges on their skateboards."

She said Betty compared favourably to the film Skate Kitchen because the format allowed Moselle to explore the skaters' lives in more detail and "indulge in more visual and narrative grace notes".

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone sang the show's praises, writing:  "Betty gives you the privilege on skating a mile in these womens’ shoes and letting you into their experience, the good and the bad and the sexist and the unfair and the ugly of it all.

The Hollywood Reporter also loved the "soothing" nature of the series.

"The series thrives in its urban textures: It makes you sweat the humid summer air, smell the city's stink and taste the potential of an endless diner menu," they said.

"The dream of the '90s is alive in Betty."

Betty season two is confirmed

Don't worry if you fall in love with the characters - this isn't the last you've seen of the Betty gang.

HBO has confirmed a second season of six episodes.

"It’s been a joy to ride through the streets of NYC with the inspiring women of Betty, and we’re grateful to them and to Crystal for sharing their stories and friendships with us,” said HBO executive vice-president Amy Gravitt.

"We can’t wait to watch where our beloved Bettys go next."

Who are the cast of Betty?

You will fall in love with the characters of Betty, who are an extension of the real-life skaters and non-professional actors who play them.

The charisma of the five young stars and their skating skills is endearing and the beating heart of what makes Betty so emotionally engaging.

 

Rachelle Vinberg as Camille

Rachelle Vinberg as Camille © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A passionate skater who really wants to fit in with the dudes at the skatepark. Camille is learning that being 'cool' and one of the guys won’t ever give her a sense of connection and friendship.

 

Dede Lovelace as Janay

Dede Lovelace as Janay © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Described by Lovelace as “stubborn”, “loyal” and “headstrong”, Janay understands the importance of the group working as a collective and the meaning of sisterhood.

 

Ajani Russell as Indigo

Ajani Russell as Indigo © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A street-savvy, born and bred New Yorker, who tries to remain aloof and cool while keeping her rich-girl Soho roots hidden.

 

Moonbear as Honeybear

Moonbear as Honeybear in Betty © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A quiet but perceptive filmmaker who lives a double life. Honeybear transforms her appearance each day on her commute from Staten Island.

Talking to Refinery 29 about her character, Moonbear said: “She is very reserved and pays attention more to what's going on than saying anything that comes to her mind. I think she brings a light and guiding perspective.”

 

Nina Moran as Kurt

Nina Moran as Kurt © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nina describes Kurt as “eccentric, kidna quirky, kinda weird” which pretty much sums up the firebrand and childlike member of the group. Dramatic and with a habit of instigating fights, she brings some chaos to their lives.

Who is on the Betty soundtrack?

The soundtrack is by Japanese composer Aska Matsumiya, who was also part of the music on Skate Kitchen.

Her full soundtrack, which is all deep slow grooves and trippy sonic sounds, is currently available on Spotify.

Perfect for helping you pretend you’re skating across the parks of New York City, even when you’re stuck in your bedroom.

Why is the show called Betty?

Rachelle Vinberg as Camille in Betty © Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The show’s title reclaims a term that was often used in a derogatory manner to describe pretty girls who took part in previously male-dominated activities such as surfing or skating.

Betty and Skate Kitchen director Crystal Moselle told Refinery 2: “It's a word that's been used in a positive and negative way.

“It used to only be used for surfers. Then it kind of transformed into like a girl who hangs out with skaters and surfers. Back in the day we called them ‘pro hoes,’ so we're reclaiming that word. Like, ‘Oh, you’re going to call me a skate betty? Then, let’s skate.’” 

It’s the same ethos that the team had with Skate Kitchen, which got its name from the insult the girls used to get from boys at skate parks telling them to “get back into the kitchen”.

Taking their comments literally, the girls built their own Skate Kitchen community on social media and inspired a whole new generation to pick up a board.

What was Skate Kitchen?

Crystal Moselle met two of the Betty cast on a subway train in 2016 and overheard Nina Moran talking to Rachelle Vinberg about a girl she made out with.

Moselle approached the pair on the platform, bought them a coffee and was they’ve been collaborating ever since. Firstly they worked on a Miu Miu ad campaign before going on to make the movie Skate Kitchen in 2018.

The film encapsulates the essence of what first caught Moselle’s imagination when she observed the girls on the Brooklyn G train. Young women working their way through life and love, navigating sexism and doing it all with skateboards in tow.

Watch Betty from June 9 on Sky Comedy with NOW TV.