Ajani Russell

The Betty star on bringing her own stories to the screen, the complexity of cannabis, and making art in quarantine.


This is our first Conversation wholly-produced during quarantine. Since we obviously couldn't send over a photographer, we asked Ajani to shoot some self-portraits.

I didn’t expect to start modeling or acting when I was younger. 

I was actually really shy and wanted to stay out of the spotlight. I got into modeling because of art. 

I hated being in pictures as a child; I always wanted to be behind the camera. In middle school, I had a teacher, Ms. Bennett, who was an amazing artist. You could see her passion in how she taught the class—she took it seriously. She had high standards and high expectations for me as well as my art. She showed me all the techniques. Well, maybe not all of them. But she showed me that art could be a profession.