Betty Who? Thanksgiving Parade 2022 artist supports women in STEM

Bruno Cooke November 24, 2022
Betty Who? Thanksgiving Parade 2022 artist supports women in STEM
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

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Spectators gathered on the streets of New York on Thursday (November 24, 2022) to ring in the holiday season, with Australian-American singer Betty Who making her Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade debut aboard the Olay STEM float. Many praised the message it sends to have an artist who has been open in their support of gay rights feature prominently at the parade. Who married her husband in 2020.

She appeared on the brand’s Her Future Is STEM-sational float, because everyone loves a pun. 

The annual parade first took place in 1924, meaning we’re fast approaching its centennial. It’s the joint second oldest Thanksgiving parade in the US.

Who is Betty Who, when did she and her husband Zak get married, and what has she been up to for the last 10 years besides preparing to sail Olay’s galactic Thanksgiving float?

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Who is Betty Who? Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sees Aussie’s STEM-sational debut

2022 marks Betty Who’s first appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. She’s an Australian-American singer-songwriter and musician, born Jessica Newham. Who is from Sydney, in New South Wales. Who is? Betty is!

Born October 5, 1991, her age at time of writing (and at time of singing aboard Olay’s STEM-sational float) is 31.

She broke onto the scene with the independent release of her debut single Somebody Loves You in 2012. Her debut EP, The Movement, followed a year later. After that, she signed with RCA Records and her debut studio album, Take Me When You Go, came out in 2014.

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Billboard

The Valley followed three years later. This year, she made her reality TV debut by hosting the Amazon Studios dating show The One That Got Away. Three weeks before it premiered, she released her first single in over two years, titled Blow Out My Candle. 

Is Betty Who married?

Betty Who describes herself as a “queer, bisexual woman” – she told the Hollywood Reporter in 2019 that she was enjoying “basking in the glow of all the gayness going on in pop right now.”

“My best friends and a lot of my collaborators are gay,” Betty Who elaborated. “From the very start of my career, the LGBTQ community has taken a liking to my music, and their support has changed my entire life.”

“And everyone around me is a much better person because of it. My fiancé and roommate, who are the straightest men ever, now hang out exclusively with gay men – and then me. It’s not that they weren’t open-minded and open-hearted before. They just didn’t know the LGBTQ community. But to know us is to love us.”

Betty Who and Zak Cassar announced their engagement in November 2017, and married three years later, in 2020. 

What’s the idea behind Olay’s STEM float?

Betty Who performed on the Her Future Is STEM-sational float, sponsored by Olay. When it launched in 2020, the float was the first from a skincare brand, according to its initial press release.

It features visual representations of the core STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The main feature is an astronaut holding her helmet in front of her. That’s the science part. The robot arm is a nod to the world of engineering; mathematical symbols and computer codes are visible on one half of the float; and the circuit tree next to the astronaut represents technology. S T E M.

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

“As we continue our mission to face the STEM gap,” Olay’s senior vice president Chris Heiert said ahead of the float’s debut two years ago, “we saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as another great, large scale opportunity to spread the message that women can face anything, and that we are here to support them in doing so.”

How did audiences react to Betty Who’s STEM float gig at the Thanksgiving Day Parade?

By and large, the reaction over on Twitter has been very positive. 

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“Betty Who performing on an OLAY float celebrating women of STEM,” tweeted one spectator. “I have ascended.”

Others have supported the message of gay rights it sends by putting Betty Who, who has been vocal about gay rights in the past and who is openly bisexual, front and center. 

One wrote on the platform that she is a “very underrated pop girlie,” and that it “makes me sad that not enough people talk about her.” Well, here we are.

Not everyone was bowled over, however. One tweeted: “Betty Who… More like Betty Who? I am old.”

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.