“Just a chemical girl in a chemical world.”
Sarah Nicole Prickett
I walk up to the front door of Sarah Nicole Prickett’s brownstone apartment, only to find that there’s no doorbell. I text her, then call her, and after waiting for a while she comes down and opens the door. “Why didn’t you call the house phone?” pointing to a rather large sign on the door, that I had not seen, instructing UPS and FedEx drivers to call her landline about deliveries. As we walk up the stairs, she brings me up to speed: she hasn’t slept because she stayed up working and by the time she was done, it was too late to sleep.
“It’s easier for me to work at night, I don’t know if I’m any smarter or better then, it’s just that I’m not responsible for anyone. Jesse goes to sleep, everyone goes out, and no one is emailing. Today, I kept working. I took a shower, I sort of cleaned. I called Jesse like seventeen hundred times, because I wanted to know if he was coming home.”
Sarah Nicole reads a text from her husband Jesse. “‘Do we have food or no?’ The answer is no to that. I want a steak is what I want. Oh my god, it’s only five o’clock. Hang on, one sec ...”
Sarah Nicole Prickett is a writer and editor who I’ve been following, admiring from a distance since we started Mask. Originally from Canada, she’s been living in New York for three years. During that time, she’s founded Adult Magazine together with her friend Berkeley Poole, been published in numerous magazines, been featured in many more (along with a fashion short film for Coach), and coached many young women on how to be a person and a writer in the 21st century at the same time.
To us, she wins the cliché “voice of our generation” badge she never asked for, but deserves nonetheless. There’s a lot about her online, which she hates but also seems to have moved past. Besides, a lot of it is suspiciously broken. Her tweets auto-delete every week, adult-mag.com is down following a hack, and many of her widely shared blog posts are no longer visible. What is visible are the many articles and essays she’s written for Hazlitt, T Magazine, Artforum, The New Inquiry, among others.
Joined by photographer Luis Nieto Dickens, we enter her apartment. After a quick three-minute tour of her home, we awkwardly begin taking photos. Like anything that begins too abruptly, my enthusiasm to get right to work stirs the air a little too much, so much so that Sarah Nicole has to give us a warning to slow down. “Be careful, I’m an actual cat,” she says, setting down the receiver of her landline.
When Sarah Nicole agreed to the interview, I knew that I would be anxious before, during, and after. I was anxious, but something about her presence made me feel okay about whatever outcome. I knew it wouldn’t be easy; even though her tone of voice might trick you into thinking that she’s frivolous, if you listen for more than two seconds you’ll hear that she’s stern and unyielding like an old divorcée. She tells it like it is without sugar-coating, which I think is the most generous way to be around other people, and it’s also why regrets and embarrassment are unnecessary distractions around her.
So, here I am, sitting on her floor, practically kneeling by her feet, eating the burger she ordered me, and completely messing up all of the questions I foolishly prepared. In the kitchen, Sarah Nicole’s Know-Wave radio show partner Sam McKinnis is pouring himself a drink. I guess Sarah Nicole Prickett is the type of person around whom my guard just drops. Not because she’s nice per se – I mean, she is, but that’s not the point. Rather, in her chaotic yet self-aware way, she commands the room with enchanting gravitas.
I follow you on Instagram, and I always admire your skin. How do you do it?
I don’t have a very routinized life, as you can probably tell. I can’t even make a vodka tonic without forgetting one of the ingredients. Skin care is the one thing that is routinized, sort of, because the bathroom is a contained space, and I can see everything in front of me. I like Cosrx toners and chemical exfoliants and things. I like this Clinique stuff called Even Better, which says it’s specially formulated for Korean skin, but I think that’s a marketing thing. The one thing I can never find is a moisturizer with SPF I like, so I wear a Neutrogena sunscreen that doesn’t make you break out and either Weleda’s rose day cream or something by Cerave.