Tati Gabrielle on Wellness, Bold Makeup, and What It Takes to Play a TV Villain

Updated 12/11/18

From actress Tati Gabrielle's mile-wide smile and giddy falsetto voice, you'd never guess she plays a villain on TV. The effervescent 22-year-old Bay Area native has been entertaining since she was old enough to speak. At age 3, her parents, unable to deny the kid's infectious charisma, started her on a couple modeling jobs, and by 5 she was performing on stage. In 2015, Gabrielle moved to Los Angeles, and a few short years later, she can be found spooking and enrapturing audiences at the same time on Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as Prudence, the villainous HWIC of the Academy of the Unseen Arts and nemesis to spunky Sabrina, played by Kiernan Shipka.

Gabrielle fondly calls Prudence her "complete opposite," though she knows better than anyone that deep down, the character is more than just a chic bully. "I don't think anyone is evil for the sake of being evil," Gabrielle offers. "The way that mortals have treated witches through the centuries is something that Prudence holds very close to her heart, so she holds that grudge against Sabrina. … It's a deeper issue than just being mean." As Vulture recently put it, Prudence is "one of the most fascinating, stylish, and simply fun-to-watch witches pop culture has seen in awhile" with a storyline that "carries weight and dimension in ways black witches are rarely granted in pop culture."

Speaking of style, Gabrielle pulls off the gothic black lips, winged eyeliner, and ruthless disposition of her supernatural character effortlessly, but in real life, her aesthetic is much more down to earth. We got an afternoon with Gabrielle to play with colorful holiday makeup looks and chat more about her character, her skincare and makeup routines, and her wellness goals for the coming year. Read on for the photos and conversation.

Tati Gabrielle

How would you describe your current makeup aesthetic?

I tend to keep it really minimal: natural beauty, less is more. My skin is really sensitive, so I never wear foundation because my face just breaks out too easily. In my everyday life, if I do wear makeup, it's just mascara and blush. My favorite mascara right now is Benefit Roller Lash. I have naturally long lashes, and it just gives them this lift that I like. And for blush, Benefit's Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain.

But it's been interesting working with the makeup girls on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina because my look on the show is so different from my everyday look. It's super embellished and, well, scary. I've learned a lot of tricks on set. So now if I go out at night, I might put on a little more makeup. I've learned how to do a smoky eye. I'm very proud of myself for it. They taught me what my eye shape is and the different makeup looks that work for it. I've fallen in love with the Anastasia Soft Glam palette; it just has these nice warm tones.

I'll wear either a nude or a blood-red lip with that. And I've learned what my favorite foundation would be if I wore it every day, which is the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation. My color is #9. I love the way that it glows, and it's really easy on my skin. So now when I work on other projects I always ask if we can use Charlotte Tilbury.

Tati Gabrielle makeup

What beauty trends are you currently loving and hoping to see more of in 2019?

Everything Rihanna is doing with Fenty I am absolutely in love with—all those edgy looks and colors. If I could work with her one day on a Fenty project or product, I'd love to do that. Another look I'm loving right now is when you place blush on the side of the eye, like not exactly on the cheek. I also follow makeup artist Priscilla Ono on Instagram, and I really like her looks.

Tati Gabrielle actress

How has your self-care routine changed as you've come into your early 20s?

I've started paying closer attention to how my skin and body react to things. Growing up, I'd just use whatever products we had around the house. But now I have a very specific routine that I follow every day. I take about 10 minutes every night to care for my skin—one of my favorite products is this Grease Lightning spot treatment from Lush.

As far as mental health stuff, I try to meditate as much as I can, especially in the morning. I create a list of everything I'm grateful for each morning, if not a written list then a mental one, just to put myself in a positive place and bring that energy into the world for the day. Oh, and baths. It's such an important thing just to relax for a second, have a glass of wine, drop a bath bomb in the bath, and chill out for a minute.

Tati Gabrielle interview

What is it like playing a villain in Chilling Adventures? How did you prepare for the role?

It is fun to become a completely different person from myself. I'm a very happy, bubbly person and a little kid at heart, so the complete opposite of Prudence. But it's cool to play a badass. I took a lot of inspiration from one of my idols, [1950s performer] Eartha Kitt—just the way that her energy radiated so powerfully, I brought that into Prudence. In terms of all the evil things my character does? I just have to just rationalize it. Everything she does, I bring it back to the intention: What in her life has caused her pain and trauma?

What has birthed this rage in her, which she needs to reflect back on the world? I don't think anyone is evil for the sake of being evil. Even in real life, when I go into a store or something and the person working there is being mean to customers and seems to really hate their job, I honestly just think to myself, what happened? Something must have happened to make your heart bitter. Because you very rarely see a little kid that just hates the world. So I want to give people like that, and Prudence, the respect of not just writing them off as evil.

In Chilling Adventures, the way that mortals have treated witches through the centuries is something that Prudence holds very close to her heart, so she holds that grudge against Sabrina. It's a similar battle to the way that many African Americans feel about slavery. So it's a deeper issue than just being mean for the sake of being mean.

What are your beauty and wellness goals for 2019?

I want to get into a better massage routine, like going to get massages regularly. Like once a week. Also, more baths. And I want to start getting facials. Trying to live that luxe life, you know?

Photographer: Paley Fairman
Photography Assistant: Anthony Espino
Stylist: Christian Stroble
Hairstylist: Matt Fugate
Makeup Artist: Dana Delaney

Photographer: Paley Fairman
Photography Assistant: Anthony Espino
Stylist: Christian Stroble
Hairstylist: Matt Fugate
Makeup Artist: Dana Delaney

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