Interview with Pretty Sick

Originally printed in Issue 20
Interview by Erika Houle
Portraits by Siam Coy
Assisted by Jesse Crankson

Ask Sabrina Fuentes about her animal familiar and the 19-year-old model, musician, and alt-influencer will describe a monster-sized sea creature with three hearts and fluorescent superpowers. The analogy barely requires a stretch of the imagination—the New York-born, London-based rockstar has gained an international audience, with a super-sized resume (including a job at Helmut Lang and collaborations with streetwear brand Stüssy) and an it-girl appeal that seems less Sports Illustrated, more Powerpuff Girls. With a crew of close friends and fellow musicians, Fuentes formed post-punk band Pretty Sick when she was only 13, and now they’ve teamed up with The Virgins’ guitarist Wade Oates and Onyx Collective’s Austin Williamson, playing shows with L.A.’s Starcrawler and touring around the world. Fuentes faces the obstacles of her early rise to fame with the wisdom and nonchalance of a long- established pro: “People expect you to have every facet of your personality figured out, or pigeon-hole you into a category that is easily understood,” she says. “They jump to conclusions.” Here, Sabrina the sea-monster momentarily emerges from her ocean to paint us a picture of her mystical reality.

Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?

“Sweet love of mine, please be mine, I love you so, sweet love of mine, all the birds in the sky, why oh why, I love you soooo, sweet love of mine…” to the tune of a song that a cartoon dog sings to his girlfriend on a CD my grandmother gave me. I think I wrote it when I was six.

What live show left the biggest impact on you?

My parents took me and my sister to a Sound City Players concert when I was 12—my dad really likes the Foo Fighters. Stevie Nicks played.

As a kid, did you have any fashion obsessions?

Fingerless gloves.

What about fashion faux pas?

Cutting all the fingers off my wool gloves.

How do you define the word “sick”?

“Wicked” would be the closest synonym.

What are the top three items on your tour rider?

Hot tea, champagne, Hennessy—but only if they can get the big bottle.

If you weren’t modelling or making music, what would you be doing?

I’d be a mortician.

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

I would make myself the boss of everything and I would give every girl a guitar, and every musician a million dollars. Then I would force the general public to listen to good music and take out the mind- controlling frequencies that they put in the music so that people could have real opinions instead of being lobotomized by the same three shitty songs for years on end.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I think something that’s really important about being an artist is learning the perfect balance between trusting your gut and not getting stuck in your head/ in one creative place for too long. Making art is a process and it cannot be good if one doesn’t dedicate time and love to their craft (but time and love can mean different things to different people).

Any major celebrity crushes?

Probably Chad Michael Murray in Freaky Friday, or Megan Fox.

Where’s the best place to unwind?

In bed with a hottie ;*