How I Shop: Tati Gabrielle of 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina'

The head witch in charge talks about chopping off her finger waves, dressing "eclectic tomboy chic" and shopping with the Weird Sisters.
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Tati Gabrielle and a guest at the 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' premiere in October 2018. Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Netflix

Tati Gabrielle and a guest at the 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' premiere in October 2018. Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Netflix

We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."

No disrespect to the titular Wiccan in "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina", but Prudence Night, played by Tati Gabrielle, is the baddest, chicest witch at the Academy of Unseen Arts — if not Greendale and all the 'dales in the Archie-verse. 

The HWIC not only leads the Weird Sisters — with their coordinated lace-collared, Victorian-mod LBDs and clever spells — but also kills the witchy-goth beauty and hair game. First with her retro-glam finger waves and now a punk-rock, ultra-short cut that makes double-sword throwing seem even more aerodynamic. Plus, she's not only a practitioner of the dark arts, but also self-care — more specifically, warm buttermilk baths accompanied by a plate of macarons.

"This season, Prudence's costumes get darker progressively for a point," says Gabrielle, over the phone, in her warm, chill and soothing Californian drawl (which couldn't be more different than Prudence's grand and fairly intimidating British-accented inflection). "It definitely reflects the transition that she's going through, after finding out who her father is, and this quest for not only belonging, but a sense of power — and just trying to fight back against the feeling of being powerless."

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Despite how different Gabrielle is from Prudence IRL, the actress says her personal style overlaps with her on-screen alter ego — and she actually called the shots on the stunning (and meaningful) hair evolution, as she'll explain in a bit. Raised in the Bay Area, and now splitting time between her base in Los Angeles and shooting "Sabrina" in Vancouver, Gabrielle has cultivated her own confident — and at times experimental — sartorial sense.

"Everybody should feel free to express themselves through fashion and style, as opposed to trying to fit a mold that you see in current trends, media and whatever," she says, about staying true to herself when it comes to fashion. "Trust your personal style and trust that form of expression — and don't let anybody knock you for it." And if we've learned anything from "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," it's always wise to not defy Prudence. 

L-R: Abigail F. Cowen as Dorcas, Gabrielle as Prudence and Adeline Rudolph as Agatha in season two of 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.' Photo: Diyah Pera/Courtesy of Netflix

L-R: Abigail F. Cowen as Dorcas, Gabrielle as Prudence and Adeline Rudolph as Agatha in season two of 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.' Photo: Diyah Pera/Courtesy of Netflix

"I actually dyed my hair blonde about six months before starting 'Sabrina.' I dyed it for my previous role on The CW's 'The 100' and I decided to keep it. So when I went for my audition for Prudence, my hair was two-toned because my roots were growing in and [casting and producers] liked this icy sort of look. I did the finger waves myself and they liked it and they decided to keep it. So for the whole first season, I was doing my hair myself.

Then, I cut it between seasons, so it will be short for most of season two. It was marking, too, Prudence's character arc and what she's going through. This Samson sort of idea: When you shave your head, it's a release of a lot of things. It's also a stripping of identity in a way. 

I was super gung ho about it at first. I was the one who suggested the idea and then the day I went to go get it cut — 15 minutes before my appointment — I freaked out. I was like, 'What if it doesn't look right? What if I have a weird shaped head? I'm just going to look strange!' It was really scary, but once it was cut, it felt really liberating and I had nothing to hide behind. It definitely forced me to reconcile with my own beauty and learn to appreciate myself a bit more and appreciate the way that I looked without having hair. It was a transformative experience.

Angus Strathie [the costume designer on 'Sabrina'] is a frickin' genius, this guy. All the costumes he pulls out for everyone are just incredible. But I've always had an affinity for vintage style, so dressing for Prudence isn't too much outside of my own style. Other than the fact that I wouldn't be as — what's the word — prissy or girly as Prudence. 

Gabrielle styled by Charlie Brianna and makeup by Elie Malouf. Photo: Courtesy of Tiziano Lugli

Gabrielle styled by Charlie Brianna and makeup by Elie Malouf. Photo: Courtesy of Tiziano Lugli

The one thing that Angus has taught me — that I pulled for myself — is understanding my body shape because I don't always wear more fitted clothes. It taught me to understand how to pair certain things with my body shape — for example, with the gold dress in the Feast of Feasts and the costumes you'll see this season.

In my natural style, I'm very tomboyish in the way I dress. I made up the term 'eclectic tomboy chic.' You add 'chic' to anything and it makes it great. As a kid, I wore very boyish clothes all the time. I did not want to be put on anything girly because I was a very active kid and it restricted me from movement. But as I got older and I grew into womanhood, I started merging my still-tomboyish style with more feminine aspects. Now it's like, a crop top or a bandeau with baggy pants or a dress with some tennis shoes. So a mixture of masculine and feminine styles. I like a lot of patterns and colors and I like to pair weird things. 

I'm a big thrift shopper. I go in with the idea, like, 'What do I need in my closet?' Whether it's tops, pants or jackets. So I try to keep that idea in mind — and that idea may not always stay. As I'm walking through, I go to things that stand out to me. In thrift shops, there's tons of racks and tons of clothes, so I don't want to be in there all day. I shop in both the male and female sections because I like oversize clothes, too. So I go through the aisles and I look at things that jump out at me. 

I'm a very feelings-based person. I definitely go by impulse or instinct, rather. I speak in spiritual terms of like, 'If it's jumping out to me, it means I'm supposed to have that thing.' So I'm going to grab that thing that's shown itself to me and it usually works out that way. 

Gabrielle at a preview of 'Sabrina’ at the Spellman House last October. Photo: Sarjoun Faour/Getty Images for Netflix

Gabrielle at a preview of 'Sabrina’ at the Spellman House last October. Photo: Sarjoun Faour/Getty Images for Netflix

I haven't been shopping in a couple months, but most recently I went to this place in Vancouver [where 'Sabrina' films] called Hollywood Boutique. We were having a wrap party for 'Sabrina' and I was in there looking for an outfit. There's this big oversize fuzzy jacket and I was like, 'I need that.' I see a red one, too, and I was like, 'I can't choose,' so I got them both. 

I also shop at Urban Outfitters in Vancouver, but only because it's close to where I live. I've had people tell me I have a very 'hipster-type style' and it has that vibe and they make vintage-looking clothes that are new. There's this place I found in this little nook in Chinatown called Blim. I got this awesome tiger fanny pack; It's like a tiger's head. It's one of my favorite vintage things that I have. One of my more recent discoveries is Mintage Mall. I didn't know this was here.

I've definitely done a few shopping trips with Addy [Adeline Rudolph, who plays Agatha] and Abby [Abigail F. Cowen, who plays Dorcas]. Jaz [Sinclair, who plays Rosalind] and I have gone once. I like to go shopping, but I can't be in any place for long or else I start to get overwhelmed. It gives me anxiety. So I'm like, 'OK, I've got 30 minutes.’ Jaz and I, we're both like that, so we're in, we're out. We find our pieces and once that's done, we're out. We get tired from shopping very quickly."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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