Sabrina Carpenter Had Chicken Fingers for Breakfast
Sabrina Carpenter is not your typical 22-year-old; she’s a cool 22-year-old, with a low-key 26 million followers on Instagram. Aside from a burgeoning musical career, the former Girl Meets World star is also a fashion designer, producer, movie actor, and Broadway star. Carpenter made her acting debut in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, before starring in Tina Fey’s Broadway musical Mean Girls. Now, she’s spending some time in Atlanta filming Amazon’s Emergency, a role she describes as “timely with the weight of the world,” but without forgoing humor. Carpenter is also hard at work on an album after signing a deal with Island Records, the home of everyone from Demi Lovato to Elton John. Her latest single, “Skin,” has been streamed over 155 million times and counting. It’s safe to say that the world is hungry for Carpenter’s presence—and she knows it; which is why she’s also preparing to produce and star in Alice, Netflix’s reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. After a long night of filming in Georgia, Carpenter got on the phone with us to talk about dancing, dreaming, and why everything is magic in the making.
ERNESTO MACIAS: Tell me about your role in Emergency.
SABRINA CARPENTER: The film is a bit of a rollercoaster. It’s multi-genre and takes you through the story of one night. It’s a lot of drama, but there’s also a lot of comedy. I see it in the Get Out universe, which balances a really heavy subject but deflects with humor. My character is Maddy and there are basically two groups of people on a cat and mouse chase the entire night. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a different character than I’ve ever played before.
MACIAS: You’re newly signed to Island Records. What did that feel like?
CARPENTER: It definitely represents a new chapter in my life. I went through a lot of transitions in the last two to three years of my life as a person, as a performer, and as a songwriter. I’ve been so lucky to be guided by people that I really trust and Island has just truly believed in me as a songwriter and an artist with a point of view. I’ve been writing nonstop since quarantine began. It’s been quite a journey since then.
MACIAS: Are you working toward an album?
CARPENTER: I’ll always be writing albums. I’m just in love with albums as a consumer and as a creator. So definitely it’s going to be an album.
MACIAS: What did you have for breakfast?
CARPENTER: I had chicken fingers.
MACIAS: With what sauces?
CARPENTER: Just ketchup.
MACIAS: How were you discovered?
CARPENTER: I was nine and I started posting covers on YouTube, which is where I started to build a fan base. I signed with my first label when I was 12.
MACIAS: Do you remember one of the first covers that you uploaded?
CARPENTER: I think it was “Picture To Burn” by Taylor Swift. I told her that when I met her. She was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re a true fan.” And then it was a lot of Sinead O’Connor, Patsy Cline, Etta James.
MACIAS: Do you dream?
CARPENTER: Too much. I dream of full-on feature films, sequels, trilogies every night.
MACIAS: Is there anything you regret not doing up to this point in your life?
CARPENTER: Taking more risks when I was younger. There was definitely a time in my life where I wanted to make everybody happy and I didn’t know that the most important thing is to make myself happy.
MACIAS: When do you get nervous?
CARPENTER: I get nervous in small crowds, like really intimate performances. I get very nervous because I’m so close to people.
MACIAS: Where do you dance?
CARPENTER: I dance in my bedroom a lot. I dance when I’m on set. I dance in the studio all the time. I dance when I’m walking down the street. I love to pretend I’m Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada in the opening sequence.
MACIAS: Who’s your dream date?
CARPENTER: Rihanna. Because one, I know she has great taste in food. I know she would take me to an amazing restaurant. Two, I think we’d have great conversations. Three, I could look at her for a long time.
MACIAS: What is the craziest thing a fan has ever sent you?
CARPENTER: I’ve definitely gotten intimate apparel. I’m a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and over the years, my fans will bring me Alice in Wonderland-themed things. Someone actually sent me an original illustration from one of the original sketches from Alice in Wonderland, which is crazy.
MACIAS: What are your beauty secrets?
CARPENTER: My mom told me to never tweeze my eyebrows because they won’t grow back. That’s why they’re thicker than a bowl of oatmeal. I let my freckles show a lot more now than I used to when I was younger. Also, staying hydrated makes your skin look real nice.
MACIAS: What’s your favorite movie?
CARPENTER: Alice in Wonderland. Another of my favorites is Across The Universe.
MACIAS: What do you think about love?
CARPENTER: I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world and the most painful thing in the world at the same time. But the beauty outweighs the pain.
MACIAS: Would you ever marry one of your fans?
CARPENTER: I would hope that whoever I marry is a fan. And I hope that I’m the biggest fan of the person that I marry.
MACIAS: Are you interested in furniture?
CARPENTER: So much more interested now. And I don’t know what that says about me. Am I getting old?
MACIAS: Do you have a TV?
CARPENTER: I do, but I never watch it. I don’t think I’ve turned it on once since I’ve been here.
MACIAS: What do you love about New York City?
CARPENTER: I love that every street corner looks like if you took a picture of it, it could be in a museum. It makes you feel very excited to live. I like anywhere that makes me feel excited to be alive.
MACIAS: Do you keep a diary?
CARPENTER: My diary is my notes app on my phone and the songs that I put out to the public.
MACIAS: Do you get eight hours of sleep a night?
CARPENTER: It’s more around five and six these days.
MACIAS: How do you keep going? Coffee or Red Bull or what?
CARPENTER: A little bit of both right now. Yerba Mate is my form of caffeine. I drink that more than any other caffeine form.
MACIAS: What are you most proud of?
CARPENTER: I’m most proud of my heart and my ability to persevere.
MACIAS: Why can’t it just be magic all the time?
CARPENTER: I think it can be. I think everything good and bad is all magic in the making.
MACIAS: What is next for you?
CARPENTER: I’m working on a few films and producing with my own production company, At Last Productions. One of them is Alice, a musical for Netflix. And my album. I can’t tell you when it will be out yet, but it’s definitely something I’m proud of.