Sabrina Carpenter Wants to Shock You

The “Feather” singer talks her new Skims campaign, her style aesthetic, and those raunchy “Nonsense” outros.

Sabrina Carpenter in SKIMS' new campaign. Sabrina wears a pink babydoll dress
Photograph by Jack Bridgeland

Getting a Skims campaign is the modern-day equivalent of earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It means you’ve garnered the attention of pop-culture titan Kim Kardashian (or at the very least, her booking team), and that you’ll join a growing lineup of A-listers like Lana Del Ray, Usher, Cardi B, and Kim Cattrall—just to name a very small few who have appeared in Skims ads. Now, a new face has joined the ranks of this lingerie-clad mafia: Sabrina Carpenter, who just got her first No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Airplay chart with her catchy bop, “Feather,” and recently disembarked as the headliner on the latest leg of Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.” It’s safe to say the singer is topping off what has already been an exciting beginning to 2024 with a moment in the lacy spotlight.

Her campaign, shot by photographer Jack Bridgeland, fits perfectly into the nostalgia-fueled, high-feminine aesthetic Carpenter has cultivated over the past few years. “I felt like I was a young girl again, playing in my bedroom,” the singer says of the cinematic set, with its blue shag carpet and floral-covered pink drapes. “I was able to play and move and feel like myself, which was really nice.” Below, the singer fesses up to the pieces she stole from set, how she feels being labeled “the horniest girl alive,” and the style advice she still follows to this day.

Many of the pieces in your campaign seem like a natural extension of your personal style. What are some of your favorites from this line?

I wear Skims in my personal, everyday life often—especially when I’m on the road. This collaborative collection felt close to things I love to wear naturally: feminine, but very comfortable.

Everybody who knows me knows I’m a big fan of the color pink, but I was honestly surprised by this tangerine, peach-colored bodysuit; I don’t usually wear that color in my everyday life. I also really love the little pink lace teddy, and that was the one that made me say, “Hey, guys—obviously, I want to ask for permission before I steal all of this, but can I take this home?” And they were like, “You can take everything.”

When you brought home those lingerie pieces, were you wearing them for anyone special?

I was just wearing them for myself, because I’m so special.

Photograph by Jack Bridgeland

There have been some great, star-studded Skims campaigns over the past few years. Did you have a favorite before your own?

I’m a very big Lana [Del Rey] fan, and I thought hers was so beautiful, but it still felt like Lana. I think that’s what inspired me to say yes and pursue this opportunity, because it didn’t feel like she was doing something completely outside of herself. Ice Spice’s was great as well. It is precious to see women feel like women, and in a way that feels very unapologetically feminine, and I think both of those campaigns did that really well.

We, of course, have to talk about “Feather” going number one. How does that feel?

I truly cannot stress this enough: I really do owe it all to my fans because they’ve allowed me to grow, supported me and stuck by my side since I was quite young. So I think about these moments, and as proud and excited as I am for myself, I also think about them and how they must feel, since they stuck with me for so long. It feels like more of a celebration between me and my fans than just me alone, which is very sweet. But they would be proud of me if it was number one or number 97.

We’re only three months into 2024 and you’ve already had quite a year. Do you have a highlight so far?

Oh, damn, I feel like every day I find a new highlight. Not to be annoying. I try to just stay positive and think, “Wow, life is really life-ing right now for me.” I’ve been focused on doing the things that I love in the last decade of my life, and now, I’m just excited to be having fun with my friends while I do it.

All those moments are obviously highlights. I think even this last tour that I just finished with Taylor [Swift] was a huge highlight for me. I learned so much. And now, I’m about to play Coachella, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m just trying to take it one day at a time.

Photograph by Jack Bridgeland

Have you started working on your “Nonsense” outros for Coachella?

Well, now that AI exists, I’m hoping I never have to write one myself ever again [laughs]. I actually did, as an experiment, ask AI to do it, and it was so terrible. It wrote the most emotional, unfunny, dramatic outros I’ve ever heard in my life. I think right now, AI is really in its dramatic, romantic era. It hasn’t picked up on humor yet, or sarcasm, so we’ll have to work on that.

It needs to get a little raunchier, too.

Honestly, I’ve always had a very sarcastic sense of humor, and outros really give me leeway to just take it there. At the end of the day, if people want to label me as the horniest girl alive, that’s fine, but when they meet me, they’ll understand that I’m not as freakishly horny as I seem, and that’s all just for the fun of the shows. I love playing with the crowd live, and sometimes you want to say things in order to take it to a really shocking place. But sometimes I’m very PG with it. It really just depends on the city, honestly.

Let’s get into some Style Notes questions. How would you describe your aesthetic?

I’ve always had trouble answering this question, because when you’re a young woman, it can change and fluctuate a lot, and you don’t always want to label it. Some days I feel confident in short skirts and tall boots, and other days, I feel more confident in baggy jeans and baggy t-shirts.

Would you say your look changes dramatically when you’re onstage performing, versus going about your everyday life?

Yes and no. I don’t wear what I wear on stage to the grocery store, but I definitely feel comfortable enough in it that I wouldn’t feel weird wearing it to dinner with my friends and family. It never feels like I’m putting on this persona and becoming someone else. It still feels like another facet of me.

Photograph by Jack Bridgeland

Where do you find your style inspiration?

I look at old photos of Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin and even young Dolly [Parton]; a lot of the things they wore feel very close to the things that I like to wear now. Obviously, I also take a lot from my mom, when she was younger. She used to wear these cute little sets, and I feel like now I’m very much a set girl. I find inspiration all over the place. It’s been a minute since I’ve named-dropped Rihanna in an interview, because I told myself I had to slow down, but Rihanna is always one of my main style icons as well.

What was your first big fashion purchase?

When I was pretty young, I did a movie, and I remember going to this vintage store in Canada, and they had this vintage white Chanel purse, and that was my first big fashion purchase. I still have it and I wear it whenever I’m in white.

Have you ever gotten any style advice that has really stuck with you?

I remember something that someone said to me once. It was like, “Honey, you should always leave the house as if you’re going to run into your ex.” And I’ve followed that advice from that day forward.