Y’all probably know I’m crushing on Ava, hard. But there’s another gorgeous blonde I’m keeping my eye on. When I was in New York last Summer, I almost saw Kinky Boots on Broadway. Well, to be honest, I also almost saw The Glass Menagerie (starring Zachary Quinto and Cherry Jones) and Wicked, and ended up really seeing none of the above. But if I had seen Kinky Boots, I would have been introduced to Annaleigh Ashford’s awesomeness even before Masters of Sex (of which I did see the giant posters in Times Square) premiered. Because, like for Samira Wiley last month, I really only know Annaleigh as bawdy, brash, beautiful Betty Dimello on the Showtime show. But boy, do I love her!
Betty only appeared in 3 episodes last season, as the blonde prostitute who’d magnanimously let Dr. Masters hide in a closet (ironic as it is) and watch her work through a peephole for the benefits of his groundbreaking sex research. Betty is also the one who suggested, voraciously biting in a burger, that Bill find himself a female partner -which he did. When Barton throws the study out of the hospital, Betty opens the doors of the brothel she works at. When Virginia seems unaware of Bill’s infatuation with her, shrewd Betty opens her eyes. But if Betty seems to be the study’s and Bill and Virginia’s good fairy, fate is not so kind with her. Because Betty is a prostitute, she sleeps with men for a living; but her heart belongs to women. Being a woman in the 1950s is hard enough, so being a closeted lesbian is definitely no bed of roses. Although she loves Helen, Betty marries into money and is truly devastated when Bill tells her he can’t invert the procedure she had years ago to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and she can’t give her pretzel king husband children. And that’s where all the beauty of Annaleigh Ashford's interpretation lies, in that fine line between unfailing strength and fragility. Betty is a broad, she’s outspoken and free-spirited, but she’s also a girl whose mother never looked at with pride and who suffers from not being able to be with the one she loves. So far, Betty was in every episode of the second season, and I hope it conti ues that way because Annaleigh's talent shouldn't be wasted.
I wished I had seen Kinky Boots!