When Dede Lovelace was 14, she was not even remotely fascinated by skating. “I didn’t even know what the world of skating was,” she informed me after a day of skating round her previous downtown haunts: Washington Sq. Park and the Decrease East Facet. “I used to be only a large tomboy, as a result of I used to be round my dad rather a lot, and once I would go away faculty at 3 P.M. and see the boys skating, it appeared like one thing thrilling.”
That was lengthy earlier than the Brooklyn native grew to become the star of HBO’s skateboarding dramedy sequence Betty, primarily based on Crystal Moselle’s film Skate Kitchen (which was impressed by the real-life skate collective of the identical title). Earlier than she was skating on display, Lovelace was similar to anybody deciding to choose up a board for the primary time. She is an autodidact, which, for her, meant she was not going to be excellent at it instantly. “Simply studying the way to ollie is essentially the most primary trick. It’s the pre-requisite you could know earlier than you attempt to do the rest, and it took me over a yr to be taught,” she defined. “Even to at the present time, I’m nonetheless form of trash,” she demurred with amusing, “However I’m higher.”
Ultimately, she discovered herself within the firm of some skaters who’ve since change into good mates. Nina Moran, who performs Kirt on Betty, was an enormous assist for Lovelace when she felt like quitting. “It’s arduous to skate,” she stated. “There was a time once I actually beat myself down. I used to be going to stop, I used to be like, ‘I’m not doing this, I’m not getting anyplace, I don’t need to really feel like this.’ Nina talked me out of that area, introduced me to the park, and I met her mates.”
Now, at 22 years previous, she’s on HBO, pulling off not solely feats of skating however performing as properly, which was additionally one thing she by no means envisioned for herself. Learning images at New York’s famed LaGuardia Excessive Faculty, Lovelace was continually surrounded by performers, however as she was extra on the shy facet, she noticed herself behind the digital camera. After semi-reluctantly being pushed into performing, she has discovered peace with it. “It’s helped me hook up with my inside youngster and achieve my confidence again,” she stated. “I’m far more comfy.”
Within the second season of Betty, that development right into a deeper consolation in entrance of the digital camera is palpable. Her character, Janay, was launched because the vlogger of the skate crew and has since put her YouTuber days behind her to concentrate on group organizing. She even finds herself in a complicated romantic entanglement with one of many guys in her skate crew. The second season was filmed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, incorporating masks and social distance protocols into the story. “Working with all people on Betty, we had been all there with the frequent understanding that we need to get this accomplished and we’re excited to have the chance to have the ability to be right here, so let’s do our greatest,” Lovelace defined.
Along with artwork remedy, which has all the time been an curiosity for Lovelace—who spends her free time visiting galleries and museums and scrolling social media to find artwork talks—she additionally likes to place collectively playlists. She is reticent to name herself a DJ, although it was an exercise she relied on earlier than performing to generate income right here and there. “I make playlists for enjoyable,” Lovelace stated, citing Fela Kuti and Sault as a few of her favourite artists. “It’s an awesome vary of music with sounds all over.”
Dede Lovelace curated this playlist of dreamy R&B, jazz, and soul tracks to be “enjoyable and uplifting and enjoyable on the identical time.” Songs to skate to, songs to vibe to, songs to stand up and dance round to—in accordance with the actress and DJ, it is all love.
“This yr was actually arduous for everyone,” she stated. “However I believe we simply have to determine the way to take our ache and people unlucky circumstances and use them as motivation. In order that’s what I attempted to do,” she stated, citing skating as one of many strategies she employed to remain sane previously yr. Lovelace additionally maintains readability by sticking to a really regimented schedule, which incorporates waking up at 6 A.M. to wish and meditate, adopted by journaling and consuming tea. Then, she works out and begins portray. “That’s what helps me perceive every part else,” she went on. “After that, I get into my work—however that starting portion of my day between the artwork and waking up is what helps me heart myself.”
Dede Lovelace photographed by Tyrell Hampton and styled by Christina Holevas for W Journal. Hair by Mideyah Parker. Make-up by Katie Mellinger at The Wall Group. Photograph Assistant: Sawyer Michaels. Stylist Assistant: Julia McClatchy.