Tati Gabrielle On ‘You,’ Supernatural Entities, & More
Nylon/Photographer Tiziano Lugli/ Stylist Oretta Corbelli/ Makeup Elie Maalouf

NYLON Nineteen

Tati Gabrielle Is A Black Belt With A Heart Of Gold

You star Tati Gabrielle takes the NYLON 19.

Originally Published: 

Tati Gabrielle knows the strange and fantastic all too well. When we meet for lunch on a rainy New York day, she tells me she’s a firm believer in ghosts. She has a soft spot for Matilda because she was “really enthralled by magic as a kid.” I personally know her as the delightfully nasty witch Prudence Blackwood in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Sure, there’s a common supernatural thread — that’s what makes her portrayal as Marienne Bellamy in the Netflix psychological thriller You all the more compelling.

You is an exciting departure for Gabrielle, who made her rounds on the teen show circuit prior to joining the cast in Season 3. Her character Marienne doesn’t have any magical powers — she’s a woman fighting for sobriety, her family, and thanks to Joe’s never-ending penchant for deranged obsession, her damn life.

Gabrielle doesn’t count herself as a fan of horror and gore — in fact, what drew her to the series was more the reality of its terror. “The thing is that it’s not farfetched. It happens every single day,” she explains. “I feel like You does a great job at showing the dark parts of our society in this entertaining and sometimes funny light, but still being so real and so grounded in truth in that way.”

You is now streaming on Netflix.

1. What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?

I am an Aquarius, and yes, I do believe in it. I think I'm very fundamentally an Aquarius: Aquarius sun, Pisces rising, and Aries moon. And though I dabble in different realms of thoughts to sort of make my own philosophy for life, astrology is something that I definitely do believe in. My signs definitely coincide with who I am: very aloof and somewhat detached on the outside, but very humanitarian and unity-oriented. Then, with my Aries moon, very emotional inside, very sensitive human being. People say that my Pisces rising makes sense, but I actually don't know.

2. Do you believe in ghosts, (and have you ever seen one)?

Yes and yes. My mom says that when I was really little, I used to stand around the house and talk. She would come into my room and I would just be having a full-blown conversation through baby babble with someone standing in front of me, but nobody would actually be there. Since then, it's sort of turned into me seeing figures and shadows or feeling presences throughout my life.

3. What’s your go-to drink order? (And if it's boozy, what’s your go-to hangover cure?)

My go-to drink order, just a normal drink, is a sparkling water because I do need to drink more water, though I have been recently told that sparkling water is dehydrating. As far as alcoholic drinks, my go-to is a gin and tonic with a squeeze a lime. I don't get hangovers often anymore because I don't like them. I very much restrict the amount of alcohol that I take in if I'm going out. But my hangover cure is a Korean stew called Sundubu-jjigae, which is a soft tofu stew. That and some rice, man, that just puts me right.

4. Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?

Oh, okay. That's hard. I would say The Beatles because that would just be really sick if I could ever see them, if I was alive to see them perform. I've already seen Erykah Badu perform, so I'm trying to think of something better. Okay. The Beatles, Pharrell —Pharrell and NERD specifically. I would love to be able to see Josephine Baker or Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra perform live. That would've been awesome. I guess The Beatles, Pharrell slash NERD, and Josephine Baker. I'll do that.

5. What's the weirdest snack that you make?

I make a lot of weird snacks. Recently, I was eating dried tangerines with caramels and taking a bite of each. I think probably the weirdest snack that I've made lately is dipping tortilla chips in Nutella, even the Hint of Lime tortilla chips. I don't know, it's just really nice. Don't knock it ‘til you try it.

6. What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?

I have a really bad habit of going off the grid or not being reachable through my phone, but it's something that I do really want to fix. I'm very notorious for not responding because I just don't check the phone. I've got people out there, friends and family that I love dearly, and how will they know that I love them unless I reach out? I've been really trying to be better about both picking up the phone and staying near my phone so that I can respond to text messages.

7. What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?

Okay, so the last big rabbit hole that I went down was the “Paul McCartney is dead” rabbit hole. Basically, there's this theory that the Paul McCartney we know today is not the original or real Paul McCartney. The Paul McCartney we know today is a man named William Shears and that the original Paul McCartney died, just before the Sgt. Pepper album, in a car accident. I went down this one-week rabbit hole that ended up stopping when I started to get to some scary, I don't know, cult-y type stuff. And then I was like, "Okay, too scared, going to stop this now."

8. Describe your worst date in three words.

A lifeless kiss.

9. What was your first concert, and what are your memories of it?

The first concert that I can remember is this 106 KMEL concert that they used to do every year. I was ninth or 10th grade, and two of the headliners were Miguel and Drake. It was in the beginning of both of their sort of come ups. I remember being disappointed by Drake's performance. I can't tell you why, but I just remember being disappointed by it and being enthralled by seeing Miguel live. It was just him in his gray hoodie sweatshirt on a stage with a microphone, and that man's voice sent chills through me. I remember getting super cute for this concert thinking, “You never know who you might run into!” I went with my brother and my cousin and we had a good time.

10. What was your favorite movie as a kid?

Matilda. It really inspired me as a kid and gave me a lot of hope. I was always really enthralled by magic as a kid. And Lavender was my favorite character, she resonated with me. Lavender was the little black girl with the raspy voice, which is a lot of how I sounded and looked like when I was a kid. I saw a lot of myself in Lavender, but I think it's a really wholesome, heartwarming, and inspiring movie.

11. What was your teenage AIM screen name? What lyrics would make up your AIM away message today?

I don't remember my AIM screen name, unfortunately. I really wish I did, but I do not remember it. What would my lyrics be today? Either, "I've been losing friends and finding peace, and honestly that sound like a fair trade to me," or, "Feeling like my gravity bounce above my salary." I'd probably choose one of those two. That's how I'm feeling in this moment.

12. What's your go-to breakup song?

“On My Mind” by Jorja Smith was a go-to breakup song that I had, I think, two or three years ago. I think it's still a go-to breakup song. Or “I Hate U” by SZA, which is also really great.

13. What is your favorite red carpet look of all-time worn by someone else?

I would say Rihanna's see-through moment with the [Adam Selman] crystal dress. Rihanna has always been a really big role model for me growing up, as far as her unapologetic nature and her unwillingness to be put in anybody's box. That's goals. Still to this day it’s my favorite red carpet look of all-time that I've seen somebody in.

14. What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?

A plant. I think everybody should have a plant in their house. We need more plants, everywhere to help us create more oxygen, whatever the case. But also having a piece of life in the home, if you don't feel responsible enough to have a pet or whatever the case. I think seeing life, growing life is really important for everyone's mental health.

15. What piece of clothing from high school do you wish you kept?

My last pair of old, dirty Vans. In the Bay, or I guess California in general, a very common thing that you do is buy a pair of all white, high top Vans. You bought this pair a year ago, and you've been wearing them everywhere and they have a story with them. I had a few pairs of dirty Vans throughout high school, but I wish I kept the last pair because there was so much story in those shoes. I used to wear them with tutus over my jeans in high school. Now, I'm low-key like, "Damn, I really wish I still had that tutu!" because I could just do so many things with it now. But yeah, those two items, if you'll give me both.

16. What is one question you never want to be asked again?

What's my life like? And what I mean by that is that since I was a kid in this industry, I always wanted to break the idea of a celebrity. I always believe that celebrities are people, the same as a person working a 9-to-5 job. They just happen to have a job in the public light, but that doesn't mean that they should be glorified or seen as if they're luxurious. Because I know for myself, I'm not that. I guess when I'm meeting new people, people always, I don't know, I feel like they're disappointed by when I answer that. They're like, "Oh, what's your life?" And it's like, "Well, don't reduce me to my job."

My job is not my identity. I am me. I was like, "My job and my career are an extension of me." When I'm not filming and stuff, I like to do normal stuff. I like to go surfing, I like to hang out with my animals. I like to go hiking, be out in nature, go to the beach. I don't want people to come at me with this image of who they think I am or who they think I should be. I would like to be greeted and seen as myself without all the fluff and glitter and whatever.

17. What reality show would you most like to appear on?

There's this reality show called Special Forces: World's Toughest Test, where they take 16 celebrities and they put them through the training that special forces officers have to go through in their selection process. I only saw one episode, but there was this helicopter flying about 10 feet over the ocean, and the contestants had to dive backwards into the ocean. Some people were really terrified, some people were like, "Okay, let's do it!" I have a martial arts and athletic background, and I would want to do this just to see if I can. I'm very much a person that likes to test my physical limits, and in the best way test my mortality by seeing how much my body can do. Doing something like that show would be really rewarding and you get to walk away from that being like, "Yo, I did that!"

18. What is your best beauty tip or trick?

This might seem super hippy dippy, but I feel like my best beauty tip or trick would be to not wear any makeup and learn to find the beauty that's already been given to you. People be like, "That's easier said than done." And I'm like, "It's not." Take it a day at a time and every day that you look in the mirror, find one feature where you're like, "I really like that. I really like that mole on my face. I really like the shape of my eyes. I really like the way that my lips curl." I think that with that, you'll never need another beauty tip or trick because you'll always feel beautiful. That’s something that I strive for every day, to find the beauty within.

19. When I used to eat fast food more often before I became gluten intolerant, I used to love Burger King, particularly Burger King's breakfast. They have French toast sticks in the morning, and French toast sticks were my jam. French toast sticks with tater tots from Burger King, or In-N-Out. For those of you who don't know about the secret menu at In-N-Out: Animal Style fries with no cheese.

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