Meet the star of The 100 and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
If you don’t know the name Tati Gabrielle, this is shortly about to change. Proving her versatility as an artist with roles such as Gaia in The CW’s The 100, Birdie in Freakish and other voice acting stints in The Owl House and Tarantula. Tati’s choice of roles sets her apart from a league of young artists who are trying hard to finding their voice in Hollywood.
The 24-year-old Korean-American star received further acclaim for her role as Prudence Blackwood in Netflix’s gripping supernatural drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – the wicked Wiccan in charge of a group named Weird Sisters at the Academy of Unseen Arts. Based on the Archie comic books, the plot centres on the lead character Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka), who soon learns of her ability to practice magic but is now torn between the realms of mystic energy and a normal life. As Sabrina’s journey advances, she meets a string of new characters along the way, and bizarre challenges ensue. Tati, who effortlessly depicts Pru explains the backstory of the character and how it was playing the lead villain.
Check out the interview below…
Do you feel that your modeling gigs as a child star has made you more confident as an actor?
It’s funny because I get that question a lot but I don’t know why people think that (laughs). I wouldn’t call myself a real model. My mom volunteered to get me in a few fashion shows for Macy’s and Nordstrom at the Westfield Center in San Francisco and a couple others in high school, but nothing serious or paid. So I guess, to answer your question, no. In fact, my mom recalls me freezing in the middle of my first ever runway. I was a shy but eccentric kid and I always had a fire in my heart. I feel that fire is where I got my confidence from!
You have portrayed quite a few different characters in a short time span including a witch, a flame keeper and also voicing television roles. How do you bring variation in your characters?
No two people are ever alike, right? Of course, I am the common denominator in all the characters I play but I always try to take myself out of them. I may look for points of relativity to understand the character better, the same way you would your best friend. This method allows me to act out nuanced characters naturally.
Moving on to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. What appealed to you in Prudence Blackwood’s character and are you enjoying the process of playing her so far?
I have heard actors say that villains are the most fun to play. I had never played one myself but always wanted to. Prudence was a strong woman who unapologetically stood up for what she believed in. She and the Weird Sisters are embodied differently in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s series of Archie’s comics so I knew this would allow me the freedom to play Pru’s role distinctively. Although she has begun to redeem herself, the rumours are true; playing a villain is fun!
How was it like finding yourself in the shoes of someone who practices dark art?
Honestly, it is freaking cool! Not so much of Satanism and cannibalism though. Those parts were disturbing but everything else made my inner child come alive! As a kid, I was fascinated with magic so in a way it was like a childhood dream come true.
How did you prepare for the role of Prudence?
I started out by reading the first 6 books of the comics. I wanted to understand the world like Roberto had originally imagined. Seeing that Pru was an orphan but a very proud witch, I did a lot of research on orphans and their psychology. I also studied the culture of real witches including Wiccans and Pagans in ancient history and modern times to ground our fictional reality in depths of realism and understand the perspective that Prudence may have of the world. Despite her being a bitch of a witch, I made sure she always had a method to her madness. Eartha Kitt was a big influence in helping me embody Pru’s essence.
How is this character similar to who you are as a person?
Other than being passionate about the things we believe in, there weren’t many similarities between Prudence and myself. However, I do feel that Pru has taught me a lot about who I am and how I wish to be as a woman. In that light, we share a headstrong spirit and maybe bits of unapologetic honesty (laughs).
Your role as Prudence has garnered acclaim and people want to mimic her and be like her. Why would the audience seek inspiration from a character who is deemed evil?
See that’s the thing, I don’t think Prudence or anyone is evil for the sake of being evil and I didn’t intend to play her in that vein too. I saw her as a deeply pained, abandoned and an angry human being who was led astray in how she chose to overcome her upbringing. That is what people related to in her. They, like myself, appreciate her fierce attitude. Pru says and does things we think about saying or doing but don’t have the guts to come through with. She is more of a spirit animal for people and a liberating medium for them to live through.
We will see you next in your first mainstream feature film Uncharted opposite Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. What details can you share with our readers about this project?
I’m sorry, unfortunately at this time I don’t think I can say much more other than it is a Sony Pictures action-adventure film based on the Uncharted video game series.
What kind of roles do you aspire to play in the future?
I would love to do a biopic at some point. I really want to play Eartha Kitt in a film! I just know I want to tell real stories; stories that bring awareness and give voice to the voiceless. Maybe someone suffering from a mental illness or someone combating race and poverty or even a struggling youngster! It would also be really cool to play some sort of a creature or animal that can challenge me physically!
What do you wish to explore outside of acting?
I want to write, produce and direct as far as the film industry goes. I plan to get into the music business. I am currently learning music production and would soon like to explore disc jockeying.
Do you miss living a regular adult life without the cameras rolling all the time?
Sometimes – I do miss my anonymity and have struggled with the objectivity I am often subjected to. I miss being seen as a human being than a commodity, and feel like my humanity has been taken away from me.
Do you feel that fame can sometimes overwhelm you especially when you start off so young? How so?
Definitely. As a youngster, you are still trying to find yourself. You are constantly shaping your identity, and when you have a million eyes on you and a million opinions of how you should be, it makes that process of self-development a lot less streamlined. There is so much you have to filter out and ignore, which is difficult to do when you are in a search to finding your inner voice that is supposed to guide you.
What one thing about Hollywood do you not get?
Since our industry is a creative medium, I have never understood why uncreative people are usually dictating creative individuals what they can and can’t do. That is so unfair.
How do you hope to inspire youngsters as an influential artist?
I hope that young people can look at me and see infinite possibilities for their own future, especially kids of colour who look like me. I hope there is a little girl out there who will not let her circumstances define her future. I also hope to inspire the next generation to be just as loud if not louder than we are, to stand up for what they believe in and to continue on the path of light, love, unity and equality.
What is your routine like during this quarantine period?
I am still on my regular routine. It helps me stay sane (laughs). I work out every morning and go on walks with my dog. I usually have some work to do as I am preparing for a film, rendering voiceovers and have even commenced two of my own projects. I try to make time for at least one miscellaneous fun activity every day, so I’ll maybe paint, take my dog to the park or watch a movie.
Would you call yourself inherently shy, extroverted or a mix of both?
I would consider myself an extroverted introvert. I am quite socially awkward and have a lot of social anxiety but most people tell me I don’t seem that way at all. I suppose I am friendly and hide that side of me pretty well. I was an introverted kid but I do like meeting new people.
What is your personal style like?
That’s always such a hard question to answer! I just dress how I feel like so my style varies depending on my mood. Sometimes I am a tomboy, sometimes I am bohemian and sometimes I am a hipster. I guess you can say my style is eclectic that way.
Your biggest pet peeve?
When people mistreat other people for no reason.
What do you wish to see differently in this world?
I hope I am alive to be able to witness a world where there is truly a value for all life.