(And I’m saying this from personal experience.)
(Daniel Arnold / Interview Magazine)
When you think about skateboarding, the first thing that pops into your head might be a bunch of straight, white dudes hanging around a skatepark, head-bopping to pretentious punk music that “you wouldn’t know.” Or maybe, if you’re like me, you immediately get Avril Lavigne’s hit song Sk8er Boi stuck in your head for the millionth time. (Sorry if I just did it again).
Regardless, skateboarding has long been a male-dominated sphere, and the rising stars of HBO’s new show Betty are fighting to make things more gender-inclusive. The show is all about the day-to-day lives of NYC-based female skaters, or “betties,” trying to diversify the skating world.
The main story revolves around the characters of the 2018 film Skate Kitchen: Janay (Ardelia “Dede” Lovelace), Indigo (Ajani Russell), Honeybear (Kabrina “Moonbear” Adams), Camille (Rachelle Vinberg), and Kirt (Nina Moran). It illustrates how women, especially women of color, struggle to feel accepted and how they find freedom through skating.
These are the real-life skater girls behind the show, and the Gen Z feminist icons you should totally be keeping up with:
1. Dede Lovelace: The Mixtape Master
Twenty-two-year-old Dede Lovelace has been skating for seven years and her approach to skateboarding has always been casual and laid-back.
In an interview for Vice Media, she said she’s “not trying to be a pro skateboarder,” but rather she’s just “having fun.”
She may be a skateboarder by day, but by night she’s a DJ putting together chill and moody rap remixes. Her most recent major gigs were the Jazzy Jeff X Fresh Prince Summer Blockparty and a set for Boiler Room TV.
Lovelace’s go-to DJ outfit usually includes a lace or fishnet mask paired with a bucket hat, shades, or some other fun accessory. Her mold-breaking fashion sense, vibrant makeup looks and effortless way of making skating look easy inspires many people around the globe.
In an interview with Fashionista, she describes Skate Kitchen, their all-girl skater collective, as a way to “embrace each gender” and “create a voice for girls and anyone else who may feel excluded,” which has also been her personal motto from the start.
2. Ajani Russell: The Renaissance Woman
Certified cool-girl Ajani Russell makes me want to bleach my eyebrows ASAP. Not only has she been skating since high school, but she’s also a multi-medium artist, model, amateur filmmaker, dancer and student at CalArts (to put it simply, a jack-of-all-trades).
She even co-created her own unconventional art magazine called Pinky Ring Publishing. Her art style is most definitely avant-garde and abstract, and it’s impossible to not feel emotional when admiring her dream-like, whimsical work.
When it comes to skateboarding, she said it “gave [her] the confidence to take the space [she] deserve[s] and create space for other women unable to do so.”
Russell hopes to teach women and non-binary individuals that they should be able to express themselves through art, including the art of skateboarding, without fear of failure or judgment.
3. Kabrina “Moonbear” Adams: The Business Lady
Moonbear is a skater and queer woman who likes to share her various passions on YouTube channels. Just like her character, Honeybear, Adams knows her way around a camera and likes to vlog her everyday experiences.
This badass business lady helps her followers learn about finance on Moneybear Gang, serves major fashion inspo over at Moonbear Wears and documents her daily life on her channel MoonbearDiedHere. The first thing many notice about Moonbear is her love of bright printed clothing, intense accessorization and rocking the shirtless look.
As a champion of body positivity, she always sports her signature nipple stickers and spreads her message of female empowerment on her website Free My Boobs. Needless to say, she’s like the big sister I never had.
4. Rachelle Vinberg: The Chilled-Out Cool Girl
Rachelle Vinberg has been skating for an impressive ten years, and she’s interested in filmmaking, acting and sharing clips of her skate skills on social media.
She’s also a lowkey fashion influencer. Her signature street style includes a pair of dad-approved denim, basic sneakers, a classic collared shirt and her go-to clear-framed glasses to tie it all together.
Vinberg isn’t a stranger to misogynistic stereotypes, joining male-dominated sports, like football, growing up.
“I get a lot of people assuming I only skate for clout,” she told The Lexington Line, which is a common assumption for girls and non-binary people in the skating community.
But Vinberg doesn’t care about the mean-spirited comments. She won’t let a few sexist boys ruin the sport that she loves.
5. Nina Moran: The Wild Card
Tie-dye-loving lesbian skater Nina Moran’s mission in life is to show young girls that they can skate too. Her gregarious and bold persona is so magnetic that whether she’s on her board or the big screen, she’s hard not to pay attention to. She’s been skating since she was 12, but on the side, she freestyle raps and takes care of her four pet rats, chinchilla and betta fish.
Similar to her character on the show, she’s an advocate for young girls to feel confident while learning to skate, be comfortable at skate parks and fall without embarrassment. Moran once did a TEDxTeen Talk in which she described her all-girl skate sessions as a way to end the gender stigma around skateboarding. After all, we could all use a little bit of Moran’s confidence no matter what the situation.
Skating has a history of being an exclusive, “guys only” activity, and many women and non-binary people in skateboarding have experienced some sort of sexism or prejudice.
When a girl wants to skate, she shouldn’t just be written off as a “poser” or “groupie.” Misrepresentation and stereotyping often make it difficult for young girls to not be intimidated by the sport, but clearly, as these trailblazing women show, it’s most definitely not impossible.
So, go cop a new pair of Vans, grab a board and get your girl power on.
Maya Lang is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She enjoys playing guitar, staying up far too late, and daydreaming about living in the '80s. You can reach her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and movie recommendations.