Tati Gabrielle

Tommy García

Penn Badgley as Joe and Tati Gabrielle as Marienne in You

John P. Fleenor/Netflix

Tati Gabrielle as Marienne in You

John P. Fleenor/Netflix
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December 14, 2021
Online Originals

The Informant

On Netflix’s You, Tati Gabrielle plays a librarian. Next, she hopes to use her skills as a storyteller to dispel myths and create change for people of color.

Tati Gabrielle has had a good run in her brief Hollywood sojourn. After leaving Spellman College for La La Land in late 2015, the Oakland, California, native got her first gig just a few months later and hasn’t stopped working since. She had long runs on the CW series The 100 and Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina before she was cast in the third season of Netflix’s You.

The show follows Joe (Penn Badgley), a disarmingly charming man who becomes transfixed by a series of women, often to lethal ends. Gabrielle plays his boss and latest obsession, librarian Marienne Bellamy. Going from the grand scope of a nuclear war (100) and a world of witches (Sabrina) to intimate conversations held between a library's stacks was a welcome change for the actress.

“Having the chance to just zone in on moments these two characters are creating together was a nice change for me,” she says. “To get grounded again…to be true to the moments that you're trying to create and play out.”

For the season’s first five episodes, Marienne is something of an enigma. She doesn’t allow Joe — much less the audience — to get to know anything about her. That changes in episode six, when Marienne reveals a layered back story that shares some similarities with Joe’s own troubled past. You’s co-creator and showrunner Sera Gamble offered Gabrielle the part outright, without an audition, and counted on the half-Asian, half-Black actress to inform the role she was playing.

“I have never had an experience that was so collaborative and so open,” she explains. “Sera said to me that certain parts of this story were not her experience, so she could only speak to them to a certain regard. So it was always a collaboration, always a conversation. It made it a richer experience and allowed for honesty.”

As her profile rises, so does Gabrielle’s ambition. Next, she can be seen in the feature film Uncharted, starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. She is also actively developing several projects focusing on her own identity as a woman of color — stories that honor both sides of her heritage.

“I think there are stories that need to be told that are very specific to the experience of color that are of celebration and not just struggle,” she says. “Our stories are often stories of struggle, which [creates a narrative] that we need to be taken care of, that we don't have our own faculties. I just want to tell stories that are very pointedly moving the needle in some way, that not only inform, but also make people think about a different reality and what that reality could be.”

The first three seasons of  You are available for streaming on Netflix. An upcoming fourth season is confirmed.

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