Arabelle Sicardi’s Jazz-Loving Dog Has Taught Them the Power of Companionship · The Wildest

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Arabelle Sicardi’s Jazz-Loving Dog Has Taught Them the Healing Power of Companionship

Titan was just their partner’s pup. Now, he’s the writer’s favorite excuse to take a mental-health break from late-night edits.

by Kerensa Cadenas
December 12, 2023
Arabelle Sicardi holds their dog, Titan
Photo: Tayler Smith

“Care to me is my higher power,” Arabelle Sicardi, who has been writing about beauty for more than a decade, tells The Wildest. But while beauty rituals are almost a spiritual practice for them, Sicardi has continuously challenged the rigid industry standards in their newsletter, You’ve Got Lipstick on Your Chin, and in publications such as Allure, Elle, and The Cut. They haven’t been afraid to talk about the less comfortable parts of the industry — like the role the government plays — but, above all, they want their readers to understand that beauty is about so much more than what’s on the surface: It’s about how we tend to each other in community.

“The concept of care and beauty to me is how I see care work in the world and how I relate and give care to other people,” they say. Sicardi notes that, yes, the beauty industry can be a “really toxic” one. But they regard the work they do within it as an “act of care” — that, in itself, is a reason to continue.

Arabelle Sicardi plays with their dog, Titan
Photo: Tayler Smith

Sicardi’s passion for helping people see the beauty industry beyond TikTok makeup tutorials and influencers selling lipstick is a through line in their upcoming nonfiction book, The House of Beauty. Before this project, they published Queer Heroes, a 2019 children’s book that takes a look at queer people throughout history. Writing that book was another way for Sicardi to give back to the queer community — especially kids. 

In their personal life, care is something they give and receive in spades from Titan — their partner’s dog for whom they fell head-over-heels for immediately. The three live together in Los Angeles. Sicardi talked to The Wildest about their immediate connection to Titan, their family dynamics, and how Titan has helped with both their mental health and writing process. 

This interview has been edited for clarity. 

What is it about the beauty industry that draws you to it as a writer?

It’s something that it feels as natural, even more natural to me to think about than anything else in the world. I feel so lucky that it’s how I make my living…I have other projects that I wanted to do that are, at their spirit, related to beauty and care work. So, I’m a writer and I’ll always be a writer, but at the end of the day, I’m just a person that’s really devoted to care and beauty as an act of care. 

And so whatever I do will be in service of this idea that if we take care of each other, we can leave the world a better place. And there’s a lot of ways that we can take care of each other with and through the beauty space that has nothing to do with selling each other products. 

Left: Arabelle Sicardi walks their dog, Titan; Arabelle Sicardi plays with their dog by the fireplace
Photo: Tayler Smith

You identify as non-binary, and it seems like more and more companies are marketing gender-neutral product lines. How have you watched that evolve?

I just need to be respected to be able to do what I want and to feel safe and loved by the people who I want to be in my life. So, I don’t have to explain myself or have a revelation every time I enter a room. That’s not my politics. And for me, it’s been really interesting to see the beauty landscape and media itself change so rapidly. Well, I guess it’s not rapidly, but because I’ve been in the industry for more than 10 years at this point.

Your children’s book, Queer Heroes, was a new venture for you: writing for a young audience. How was that experience different for you, and what did you learn from it as you connected with your audience? 

I have a folder of all of the artwork kids have made around the country of biographies that were in [Queer Heroes]. It’s really cool to have a multi-generational readership. Most people do know me as this beauty writer or this person they grew up with on Tumblr, which is really awesome. I get comments from people that are like, “I’ve been following you for a decade now.” And I’m like, “We grew up together.” It’s also really cool to have just this particular relationship with kids that don’t really know me as a person, just know all these people that I’ve introduced them to.

Left: Arabelle Sicardi reads a book with Titan in their lap; Right: Arabelle Sicardi cuddles with Titan on the bed
Photo: Tayler Smith

Writing for a living can be a pretty solitary process. Has Titan helped you when writing your books? 

He is my very emotionally supportive assistant. He’s been in my lap as I’ve written almost all of [my latest] book. He's there when I wake up in the middle of the night to write or I can’t sleep. He doesn’t sleep unless I’m near. Wherever I’m writing, he wants to be there. It’s nice to have that company in the middle of the night when you’re spiraling over a revision or whatever. I mean, he’s listened to me read my entire book out loud, so he knows it as well as I do. 

Tell me about Titan. First off, he’s a Chihuahua with a big name.

His name is short for Titanium. He’s factually my partner’s dog, but he loves me way more. He’s my emotional support animal, follows me around and is a Velcro dog to me exclusively. He’s about six and a half. He was six months old when I met him. And he’s a Mini Pinscher / Chihuahua mix. He always has a reason to bark. He usually barks when he hears the postman or package delivery. He doesn’t like men. I’m like, “I don’t like men, either. It’s totally fine if you create space between us and men.”

Arabelle Sicardi sits with Titan at the kitchen table; Arabelle Sicardi’s shows off their painted nails at the table with Titan
Photo: Tayler Smith

What’s the origin of his name? 

My partner named him Titanium because when she got him, he could fit into a sock. So, he looked like a lump of coal or a piece of titanium. I just think it’s funny because he’s so small. It’s a very majestic name for such a small dog, but he has big dog energy. 

You’ve had cats, too, right?

My cat, Pringle, is living with my parents in New Jersey…Pringle was not about to take a flight with me, even getting into an Uber is already a challenge. My parents have a backyard right next to a park, and Pringle is having a great time. She’s very happy there. She looks like a bowling ball, and she dominates the neighborhood. 

Was there a specific moment when you felt like you and Titan really bonded beyond “This is just my partner’s dog?” 

It was more something that my partner told me about his behavior. He would just act crazy circling around us when we were together at her old apartment. He never acted that way before with anyone else that my partner had dated. He would just follow me around and not really care about what Wendy was doing, and it just became kind of obvious. Then he started recognizing me as mommy and he would run to me whenever he could. He’s very good at walking around without a leash, so he just walks beside me all the time. And he wants to be on my lap if I’m sitting down. It’s nice to be so loved.

Arabelle Sicardi kisses Titan; Titan poses on an orange chair
Photo: Tayler Smith

What have you felt like you’ve learned from Titan while you’ve spent time together? 

He truly is my emotional support animal. When I am spiraling and when I am in a depressive episode, the only reason I go outside is to take care of him, play ball with him, and make him happy. I am really grateful to have that because I’m such an introvert and such a homebody. I would be perfectly happy not seeing any other human for weeks at a time, but that’s probably not healthy, either. So, it’s really nice to have to take care of something that loves me so unconditionally and just wants to spend time with me, ideally in the sun, because that makes me feel better, too.

He has such a personality, so sassy. He talks back to me. He’s not scared of me because he knows that I’ll never hurt him. We’ll argue — he’ll bicker with me, and then we’ll snuggle. I think he thinks I’m part of his pack and I’m not his boss, which is hilarious.

Have you felt like you’ve had this kind of connection with an animal before? Because it seems like your relationship with Titan is very special.

For Pringle, cats are so different. Pringle has a domineering personality. When [Titan and Pringle] were cohabitating, Pringle was such a top. Titan is totally fine with cats and especially with Pringle. I think Pringle gets me in a completely different way. And for Titan, he feeds off of my energy and is in the same mood when I’m in the same mood. Whereas Pringle is a completely independent creature that just happened to choose me as a human.

For the dogs that I’ve had before, it was just not as emotionally connected. I was very young with my earlier dogs. It wasn’t the same relationship. Titan is my best friend, truly my best friend. When you’re walking or when you’re with somebody you love so much that you’re like, “Oh, my heart is outside of my body right now. It’s so weird that this person just has my heart. And that’s scary; it’s just this little six-pound dog.”

Arabelle Sicardi poses in a hat; Tiatan poses on the bed among Arabelle’s clothes
Photo: Tayler Smith

What’s your partner’s relationship with Titan like?

That’s daddy. Daddy gets respect, fear, and love also. In the morning, Titan goes to snuggle my partner...And when he is frightened, he’ll run to my partner for maximum protection. But otherwise, he’s always with me and would prefer to sleep next to me or be with me at all other times.

What are Titan’s favorite activities?

He loves this sloth arm. He used to have the full sloth plushie, and he loved it to death. He just loves that arm, and he’ll carry it around with him everywhere. He also loves his little lamb that he’s had since he was little. He’s very gentle with his toys. He doesn’t destroy things. He nibbles on them gently. When he eventually breaks into the stuffing, he does take it out, but then he’ll wait for us to notice and repair it, which I think is cute. 

Arabelle Sicardi peeks out from under the sheets with Titan standing by.
Photo: Tayler Smith

What’s he like with other dogs?

He’s way happier socializing with other humans. He doesn’t really like the dog park. He’s a bit of a snob. It depends on the type of dog park, because if it’s just dirt, he's like, “What the f*ck is this?” He’ll refuse it, and he’ll sniff around other dogs. But he only likes playing with small fuzzy dogs usually. Over the past six years, he’s been a hermit just like his parents. He just wants a cozy space and jazz music.

Titan likes jazz music? 

He only likes jazz and bossa nova. Whenever we have friends take care of him or we’re out of the house, that’s the only thing that we can play. And when he’s barking, we just play him jazz. And he’ll get quiet. 

Kerensa Cadenas

Kerensa Cadenas is a writer based in New York. She’s previously worked at The Cut, Thrillist, Cosmopolitan, and Complex. Her work has been featured in Vulture, GQ, Vanity Fair, and others. 

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