• The Persona Issue

    Interview with Sarah Nicole Prickett

    The Persona Issue
    Nieto dickens snp mask mag 2015 13 web

    All photos by Luis Nieto Dickens.

    “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.
     

    I feel like everyone is swearing by Korean skin care products these days.

     
    It started with the sheet masks. Berkeley [Poole] gave me some when I was really stressed out and not sleeping, and now I always keep some in the fridge, because they make my skin calmer and also my head.
     
    I’m a believer in chemicals, generally. People are like, “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin,” which is fucking insane. I wouldn’t eat cotton, but I’m wearing a cotton t-shirt right now. I’m wearing a gold ring, which I wouldn’t eat. It’s like those Paleo freaks. Like, you work at a hedge fund, you live in fucking Manhattan, you go to Burning Man to meet women, and you want to eat like a caveman? Nothing about your life suggests a cave, yet you feel the need to eat only raw meat for a week. I actually don’t know what a Paleo diet is, but I know that I don’t approve of it. I don’t think you should cleanse. Have you seen where you live? Maybe these people don’t, maybe they just drive in organic cars, and go to organic hotels ... You know, maybe it’s just one long organic rollercoaster.
     
    Anyway, I’m just a chemical girl in a chemical world. I put acid on my face every day.
     

    What about coconut oil? Isn’t that supposed to be the all-inclusive solution to everything?

     
    I like it, but I don’t use it. I have some kind of oil now, majula. A lot of plant oils make my skin freak, like one time I did Bio-Oil because Into the Gloss told me to, and it took me three months to recover.
     
    Here’s another thing I don’t like – this is a very North American thing – products that are two in one, three in one, seven in one. I want just one thing. Like, do your fucking job. I’ll actually use two products for one thing before I’ll use a two-in-one. I don’t believe in it. I mean, I’m a three-in-one product myself and I don’t work at all.
     

    It seems that you live a pretty public life, in that sense that you, ...

     
    I don’t at all ...
     

    ... Okay, well, I’m just gonna say it. You write about your life, ...

     
    Not really.
     

    ... you have a pretty public Instagram and Tumblr. There’s a lot about you online, and it feels like your public persona is very consistent.

     
    Mine is?
     

    Mhm.

     
    I find myself to be a very inconsistent person. Talking about myself is fine, but describing myself – it’s not that I’m so complicated, it’s more that I can feel indistinct. But I don’t wake up in the morning thinking, who am I? Nor do I think, who am I going to be today? I’m neither a this-is-my-uniform person nor an everyday-is-Halloween-type person. Aesthetically, I have a style that has accumulated over time, and there are certain things I’ve liked my entire life, which is comforting, but I don’t have a singular look, at least not to myself.
     
    My first thought every single morning is basically, where am I? I’m much more interested in where I am than who. The thing that I trust most about myself more than anything is the feeling of, okay, I can’t be here right now. Or, I need to be in this other place. I very much know what lighting level I can be in or what kind of atmosphere. But I don’t stress about questions of identity as much, because ... I don’t know. So funny that you say it’s consistent. Maybe it’s just that I use the same handle for everything.
     

    Perhaps consistent isn’t the right word. But as someone who doesn’t know you, when I read you online I still feel like I know you, because there’s a common thread through everything.

     
    I think despite my best efforts, I still end up being myself. But I have tried to help it. There’s still part of me that’s a real home-schooled freak, and the most basic things can elude me. I’m like, if I were a person who knew how to do this, what would I do?
     

    Maybe you don’t see yourself as having a public persona then?

     
    I very much have a public persona, even though it’s a small public, but I feel detached from it. It’s exactly that. It’s something I have, not something I am. It’s not even something I feel like I made with any intent, which is also not something I’m proud about. If I were to Google myself, I would be horrified. So I don’t. Wait, is that true? I did once six months ago, but I spiralled so fast I’ll probably never do it again. The problem is that I’m incredibly vain but I also forget that I’m vain, so I’ll do something on the Internet not thinking how it’ll look later, or that it’ll last at all, and the only solution is not to look back. I’m always envious of people who decided how to look before getting anyone to look at them. That’s a kind of persona I would love, but I would also have to be a different person. I never learned anything about the longterm, which has to do maybe with parenting or my attitude towards being parented.
     
    One thing I did do right was not have a Facebook after, like, 2012. One day I was like, who the fuck are all of these people? I don’t want them to know me. Or vice versa. I really hated the one-to-one reciprocal thing of Facebook. Like, that is not how I want to have online interactions. I want to follow people who don’t follow me, and I’m sure a lot of the people who follow me, presumably because of my work or … I don’t know, don’t want me following them back either. What if they want to subtweet me? So anyway, I already hated Facebook, and then they added a pop-up at login that had the gall to ask me how I was feeling. I just snapped. I was like, you can have everything but you cannot have my feelings.
     
    Once my friend Fiona was talking about boundaries and she said well, I’m not like you. Where other people have boundaries you have castle walls. I don’t know if that’s a fact or anything, but I like the image. It’s true that I’m extremely, viciously protective of certain people. My siblings. Jesse. My very best friends. My tolerance for people talking about me is like, I mean I’m sensitive to it but I don’t react to it with anywhere near the anger that I’ll react to, for example, some guy I’ve never met in Toronto telling my sister she’s crazy. Which I hope isn’t just another kind of narcissism, but it probably is. I’m wild about my space now, too. I’ve never lived anywhere so nice, and both Jesse and I like for people to come over, but I in particular have days where I can’t see anyone, and in general, you can’t just show up.
     
    Anyway, other than six months ago, the only time I think about Google results is if someone else is like, “Oh, I Googled you.” I’m like, why would you do that? I don’t Google anyone I’m going to meet, I think it’s bad manners. I think it’s an outrageous breach of etiquette. Unless I’m writing about them, which is already not great manners. I prefer to let people show me themselves who they are.
     
    In this respect I am old-fashioned. But is it old-fashioned? Maybe it’s my generosity of spirit. Wait, that’s a joke. I don’t have a different voice for joking.
     
    Sam: You don’t Google anyone?
     
    Not unless it’s an emergency. I had to meet a book editor the other day and I didn’t know what she looked like. I was meeting her at a restaurant, and I thought, I’m sure that the two of us will figure out who’s who. I wasn’t going to like, Google Image her. I Google image artists and photographers and film stills and all kinds of things, but not just like, people.
     
    I do understand that other people don’t think this way about the Internet. They’re like, “The internet is public.” A lot of things are public, but it doesn’t mean they’re for you. For instance, you can walk down the street and you can look into all of your neighbors’ windows should they have chanced not to draw the curtains. If you really lean in, you can listen to all kinds of conversations that are too quiet for you to just overhear. You can do all kinds of things in public that you should not do. Are you walking down the street, interrupting random twosomes or threesomes of people to add your two fucking sentences? You’re not, so why are you on my Twitter? Why are you talking to me? Or vice versa. I mean, if we wouldn’t talk at a cocktail party, I don’t understand why we’re talking on Twitter half the time. Although it’s good when Twitter introduces me to people I would talk to at a party, but for geographical or demographic reasons, that party doesn’t exist IRL.
     
    Anyway, I don’t like my own Twitter that much, so now all of my tweets automatically delete after a week. I don’t have to do anything by hand.
     

    How?

     
    I signed up for a service.
     
    Sam: Wow.
     

    Also the old ones?

     
    They all deleted when I signed up for the thing. I didn’t mean to do it, then I did, and then I didn’t care. I’m not a person who’s like, oh my god, had I written a book with my tweets, the book would be 25,000 pages. That would be a very bad book. If I wanted to write I wouldn’t be on Twitter, because it’s not writing, it’s just, whatever, talking some shit. You know, writing is hard. Twitter is easy. I don’t mean Twitter isn’t real, or really sometimes useful or fun, but I don’t take it that seriously. I don’t think I have like a Twitter oeuvre. I mean, I’ve tweeted some good things, but more so I’ve tweeted bad things. Or not even bad, but banal. Which because of my amoral streak I think, you know, banal is worse than bad.
     

    How are you different now from what you were like growing up?

     
    I’ll say something that is probably true of most people, which is that I changed a lot over the course of my twenties, and now that my twenties are over – which is the thing I’ve been least sad about in my entire life to date – I feel a lot more like when I was younger than 20.
     

    Like, not being worried about stuff as much?

     
    Oh I’m worried, but I’m worried about things I should be worried about, whereas for a long time I didn’t worry about a single thing I should be worried about. Instead I worried about whether someone would text me back. Now I’m worried about whether I will write a book. Will I pay my taxes? Will I go to the doctor?
     
    I’m going out as much as ever, but I feel more reclusive. I feel like more of a snob. I’m more interested in my childhood than I have been for the past decade. Which hopefully does not mean that I’m going to have a child or anything, because I don’t think that I could do that. It means something else. 
     

    What about your childhood interests you more right now? Having been raised religious, do you grapple with that at all?

     
    I’m working on my book right now and realizing that you could have asked me at age 10 why I wanted to write a book and the reasons for writing this book would have been the same. It was a limited childhood in some ways but because it was limiting I became imaginative and I didn’t need a lot of stimuli in order to think. I’m trying to be that way again.
     

    You grew up Catholic?

     
    No, Evangelical. I wish I grew up Catholic, because I love the iconography.
     

    Has it been hard to reconcile the life you want to live with your past?

     
    A lot of things are hard, but there’s no such thing as struggle in my life. Also, I did it so much. It wasn’t that I went to church once a week. I went to church five times a week. I was homeschooled till the ninth grade and spent more time with my parents than any teenager ever should. I could not have been surer that I did not want that life.

    It’s weird to me sometimes that I have this life, but the life itself isn’t weird. I think I do the things that I’m supposed to do. Well, I do some of them. Although I still don’t do them how I’m supposed to do them. I’m not nice and I’m a mess about things but it’s like, I moved to New York to get away from other, messier things, and to be a better writer, and now I am. Who cares, it’s what everyone does. I’m both stressed out and happy to be around all these other people who also moved to New York for their careers. I find it very relaxing sometimes to be around a bunch of self-interested careerists.
     
    As far as corporeal identities go, mine is fine. I like my weight. I like my clothes. I’m fairly symmetrical, I’m photogenic. My name is Sarah, which is easy, and I’m white and from Canada, so if you look at me and ask me where I’m from it’s not a thing. So this one thing that’s kind of different about me, which is the way I grew up, hasn’t really bred a lot of resentment.
     
    Although as soon as I say that I realize it’s not exactly true. When I first moved here, I had real pangs for other people’s backgrounds. In my teens I would envy things like, they get to have TV or they get to have certain snacks or their parents are nice to hang out with. I envied other people my whole life. I used to envy money and dumb things, or I mean I envied things very close to the surface, and when I moved to New York, I realized that there’s a whole new floor of the ocean. There’s a whole way of growing up that, for the first year I lived here, was so deeply cool and enviable to me, like a whole ecosystem of wildly supportive parents and full shelves of books and mentors and secret money and networks for work and all like these calm cool expectations. Class became a very different thing to me, and much realer. My lack of a strategy started to hurt. Now it doesn’t. I like that I can feel lucky, and I’m no longer stunned by people who don’t.
     

    I didn’t grow up Evangelical but with state-sponsored Protestantism. On the surface my upbringing was very secular, but all the undertones are religious and very Lutheran and I feel like I’m still trying to undo some of the indoctrination, like the guilt and the stupid work ethic it breeds.

     
    I have a very 19th century view on the world, and I feel like I have overstepped my fate, which is a little related to guilt but mostly just… yeah, fate. The other thing about New York is it twists your perspective so badly and so, so quickly. It’s hideous to me that I’ve ever envied anything. The realer feeling I have is that I live an enviable life, and I’m not supposed to be living it, and although I haven’t flown anywhere near the sun, like, I haven’t achieved some great success, it’s still enough of an elevation that I’m afraid to fall back to my place.
     
    And I don’t say no, because how do I say to them that I’m not a capable person? I have a split screen, and on one side I’m always looking at what I’m supposed to be doing or doing more or doing better and where I should be with my work or whatever, and on the other side I’m seeing where I was meant to be, teaching elementary school somewhere in Southern Ontario, married to someone in my church, the first person I slept with, cluelessly raising a kid. I often feel like I ask for too much too soon. Then I don’t collect half the time, so it’s fine.
     
    But it’s not for a lack of confidence. I’m doing what I’m good at. It’s nothing to do with talent, it’s fate. It’s what happens to women in novels of manners who take one step too high on the ladder ... like Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair. I have to get attention so I can get paid or even asked to write, and I like it from a distance, but it always throws me off when people pay it too closely or too much. I don’t think of that as imposter syndrome. I don’t think about what I deserve. I think about fate.
     

    It seems like you have to commit a kind of symbolic suicide to make the transition you did.

     
    I never did that. I never really had a serious break. I had breakdowns, but after the breakdown, it’s still all the same materials, you know. Even if you’re in pieces, you’re not gonna find any new pieces, or lose any old ones. I look at people who really go crazy and I think it looks like a vacation. 

    On a bad day I really wish I could delete myself and start all over. I wouldn’t want to be any different, I would just want to not feel encumbered. I just want to walk out with nothing in my pockets one day. I wouldn’t even do anything different, I would just be thankful that I don’t have a past because I don’t really want one. Because if I have one, apparently, I have to talk about it all the time, it’s like having a baby.


     

    In some of your interviews it seems you’re a bit bored by the subject, and the interview is good because of the personal anecdotes you bring in. Your anecdotes are the best part.

     
    I love telling a personal anecdote in an interview because I’m a bit of a reciprocalist, so I think, if I talk about myself, you’ll feel easier talking about yourself. Or it’s like, I’m gonna tell you a story and now you’re gonna tell me a story. But if someone is very experienced or already at ease being interviewed, I stick to the questions.

    This is another way I can’t help being myself: it can be really hard for me to do a good job if it’s something I don’t want to do. It’s the brattiest quality, I’ve always tried to discipline myself out of it. If I don’t want to do something, I’ll be bad at it. Which is exactly how a child would be. I’m like someone spitting out my food because I don’t like it. I did a profile a while ago that was a bad experience. I hated it, I hated everything about it, at one point I hated the subject. I wasn’t sleeping… I was like, I regret everything that has led me to this point in my career where I’m sitting here doing this, because somehow I made people feel like I can do this and I can’t, and it’s so fucking easy.  
     
    Fashion was where I started, and fashion people love telling you that the easiest-looking or simplest-looking things are the hardest to do. Which yes, what Phoebe Philo does is harder than it looks by a mile, and I like it a lot, only I don’t think it’s harder than what John Galliano does. It’s easy to imitate a lot of the magazine-writing minimalists. It’s also easy to make fun of maximalists or poets, but you can’t imitate them, you can only – maybe – parody. I remember that everyone on Twitter made fun of Buzz Bissinger’s Gucci addiction in GQ, but I don’t remember any of their lines and I remember all his. I don’t know what the hardest thing to do is. I haven’t done it yet. But interviews and profiles are both hard and great because they’re formulaic and stupid almost by necessity, so to do one that doesn’t totally bore, I feel like – and this I’m making up too – you have to extemporize, no preparation or preconceiving or outlines or anything, and then you have to not miss a beat.  
     

    In your piece on Lana Del Rey you talk about the moment when your image of her crystallized, when you realized that she was appropriating whiteness ...

     
    Oh my god, did I really say appropriating whiteness?
     
    Sam: That’s cool.
     

    ... and that she was not trying to make it look easy to look good.

     
    I do remember this piece, for The New Inquiry.
     

    It’s a very good piece. You called trying “the new selling out.” What’s your relationship to trying now?

     
    Trying is obviously not an end in itself. Like, A for effort is not in my grading system – not that I grade, although I do have a system. But I think if you’re really good at something, effort was probably involved, and passing it off as effortless – I mean in the way you present the work – isn’t the impressive part. People who are obsessed with looking effortless and looking like they don’t ever try are often the ones who care so much it’s actually paralyzing. They’ll never really take a swing because what if they miss? I relate to that too. I’ve not taken lots of swings, and most things I say I hate in writing I’ve done in my own, which is how I know I hate those things. The major reason I’ve ever written something that was really good and that people liked is that I was willing for it to be ridiculous. I wrote a piece on Hazlitt a while ago about a road trip ...
     

    I love that piece.

     
    But how close is that piece to being bad? It’s called “How to Make Love in America,” which is a title I gave it, because to me that was just what it should be called, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s so crazy that I gave it that title. Who calls something that? And also, who writes like that? Idiots? Like, you are in your mid-twenties, you’re sort of having a crisis, and you went on a roadtrip with your boyfriend across America – I’m sorry, but who cares? There is not the making of a good piece anywhere in there, and somehow it’s good. I feel like I made it more than I wrote it. People really like it and I feel weirdly separate enough from it to really like it too. Even though I would never look at it or read it, I’m glad it exists.
     

    A lot of your writing comes off as very effortless when I read it; I don’t think I’d be able tell which pieces you struggled with and which ones just came out of you.

     
    That’s good. Editing other people’s work has made me more attentive to my own. I don’t like to spend a lot of time fussing over drafts, though. When it comes to writing or anything really that I do, I will take as much time getting ready as I have, and then a bit more. But I actually don’t want to be a writer who obsesses over every syllable. I want every word to be right, but sometimes, when you write and rewrite something, it’s like, while you were icing the cake – I don’t know why I’m using a cake, I love a bad analogy – while you were icing the cake, it cooled to ten degrees Fahrenheit, and now no one wants to eat it. You know what I’m saying? Do you ever write pieces like that?
     

    Yes, all the time. I know what you mean, there’s no blood in it.

     
    It’s too crystallized. Certain writing I can hear the writers reading it and they’re like se-par-ate-ly e-nun-ci-at-ing ev-ery syll-ab-le. And I’m just like, I want to rip out your tonsils.
     
    It suits me to be all kinds of things, like difficult and trying and vain – all kinds of bad qualities – but I can’t freak out over semicolons. I used to worry a lot more about punctuation marks. There’s still a part of me that does, but there’s also part of me that knows that when I was really freaking out about those things, the words weren’t even right. That’s why I freaked out about semicolons.
     

    Do you have the same approach to editing other people’s work?

     
    No, I try to figure out what they need.
     

    Do you like it?

     
    I do. For a while I thought that maybe I shouldn’t write, maybe I should just edit. I was dissuaded from that plan.
     

    When did you realize that your personal stories spoke to people?

     
    I was the oldest, so I always wrote stories for my siblings. I wrote a play about dinosaurs. I wrote things on demand for my brother. He wanted me to write about “jungle cats,” so I did a whole series of kid superheroes who took a portal to a jungle and turned into cats.
     
    I always wanted to write novels. Then I wanted to have a cool life and boyfriends and go to parties and do a lot of drugs, so those became my priorities. Then I thought my life was cool and would write about it, and also, because I hadn’t grown up in such a way that “getting an MFA” or “becoming a serious critic” either occurred or was suggested to me, writing about my life was how I made a name for myself. Now my life is fine and I still sometimes write things that are personal, or there’s a personal element, but none of it feels that personal to me. I guess I mean unique. I don’t write things that happen to me unless they’re also happening to other people. It’s my way of relating.
     
    When I lived in Toronto – a good city with good people, better now or from further away than it used to be, but also the world capital of petty – I too often wrote things to answer the question, who does she think she is. That question is not my real interest.

    Do you feel like you’re writing for certain people?

     
    I just write the things I can write. A lot of things I write are on assignment. But I like writing on assignment because it’s a nice game to see how much I can get away with. Like, how genuinely critical can I be in a contemporary book review? Or how many movies I love can I reference in a piece about lipstick?

    When I write things that are my own idea, I write faster and harder and I kind of over-commit, so often those things come out intense. I wrote this essay on Elliot Rodger for n+1 that was my own idea, though I couldn’t have done it if Dayna [Tortorici, the editor of n+1] didn’t tell me I could. It was a good idea and a good piece, but it was not a good idea for my head. I immersed myself in it for a week, reading that manifesto over and over again. I was like, if I’m gonna do it I’m gonna do it well. It was hell. I finally wrote the piece in one night after spending a week reading and thinking about it. Almost immediately after that, though not just because of that, of course, I went on a string of increasingly unhelpful medications for about a year. Maybe I write for the people who write to me on Tumblr to ask what medications I’m on.
     

    Do you ever worry about how people are going to perceive you and your work when you write an article?

     
    When I write it I’m just trying to write it, but when it’s about to be published, of course, I’m like wait, no one needs this and what if they don’t want it either?
     
    For all that I am in public and all the ways I try to be a real modern woman, I would hate for someone to read a piece of mine and get to the end of it and be like, “Oh, she seems like a really good person.” Sometimes people email me saying they wish I was their big sister and that makes sense to me because I am a big sister, I’m the oldest. Or people ask questions on my Tumblr because I have a lot of advice I’m not using.
     
    But yeah, I feel like I read too many personal narratives where at the end it’s like, Am I supposed to feel sorry for you? Should I feel happy that you’re you? I just get this sweet, clingy, filmy residue and feel like I have to shower after reading.
     

    What kind of writing makes you not feel that way?

     
    I would say Kristin Dombek, not least because I relate a lot to the way she grew up and the way she does things in her writing. Similarly I’d say Jia Tolentino. She is a prime example of how I want to feel about a person after reading them. I feel impressed or I feel satisfied, I don’t feel like she’s satisfied. I’m trying to think of people who are my peers who aren’t just my best friends, but then it’s like, Durga’s writing, it’s so incredibly composed and slow. There’s such an apartness to it. I could recognize it in ten seconds if you showed it to me, and I would always read it whether or not we were friends. Sometimes people try to copy it, which they can’t. Although I copy her Instagram, so it’s fine.
     
    It always makes me happy when one of my friends writes about something we all care about, so it’s like, a relief, you spoke for the group, now no one else has to – or could. Like when Dayna wrote about Elena Ferrante. A perfect essay, which in its very title, “Those Like Us,” is like an autobiography of connected lives. I love when Doreen [St Felix] writes, especially in her Jamaica Kincaid mode. I love Jenny Zhang’s everything. Charlotte Shane’s newsletter. Chelsea Summers, who is everybody’s favorite at Adult. Ana Cecilia [Alvarez], obviously. I’m so excited to read Fiona Duncan’s’s manuscript for Badlands. Also Al Bedell’s novel for Badlands, which just came out. David [Velasco], my editor at Artforum and someone without whom I couldn’t live in New York, is finishing a book on his favourite modern dancer, and it’s more personal than a lot of personal essays. Sam is a fantastic writer. Kaitlin [Phillips] I can actually write with, even though we write really differently, and she knows how to entertain, which is so hard, not many people do. My friend Natasha [Hunt] writes on her Tumblr but I want her to write elsewhere because she’s brilliant. She and Arabelle [Sicardi] are the people I trust most about fashion and makeup and perfume. merritt [kopas]’s social media presence, for all or because she’s so conflicted about it, is the best. I might want to cut this whole question because it’s stressful, I know I’m leaving people out!

    If you check my Twitter once a week, you’ll find things I think are truly interesting. I’m trying to be better about tweeting those things, and not just like, my opinions. Every morning my sole hopeful thought is that I can’t possibly have any more opinions, but so far, no such luck.


    All photos by Luis Nieto Dickens.
    Find out more about Sarah Nicole Prickett on her website.

     

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