While you were begging mom and dad to let you have the minivan for the weekend when you were 16, Gin Wigmore was backpacking her way through South America. Did you know this month’s You Oughta Know obsession lived there for 10 months solo after ditching her school exchange program after only four days?
“I spent about half an hour to an hour in a school run by nuns – all girls – which was not my intention at 16,” Gin said. “I was going to have sex and lots of it with lots of hot sexy men. So [Catholic school] really wasn’t part of my plan.”
I know what it looks like: untamed New Zealand teen gets crazy in Argentina because why not. Well, we all make reckless decisions at that age, am I right? (Oh, no, me neither.) But in Gin’s case, she was actually having a tough time dealing with her dad’s death at home. ”I went to Argentina going, ‘Alright, I can’t deal with my Dad and everything that’s going on,’” the now 26-year-old and very focused multi-platinum star said.
Add in the fact that Gin is a self-proclaimed “escape artist” when it comes to running away from problems and voila! Gin not only ditched school, but made her way down to Bariloche in southern Argentina where she snowboarded and hooked herself a hottie to be her local guide. Eventually, Gin made her way up to Buenos Aires where she crashed at her boy toy’s sister’s pad for the last six months of her trip. That is until the bluesy-pop singer got so sick she had to be flown back home via the New Zealand embassy. Oops.
“Now that I look back I think, how did I do that at 16 on $3,000 for that length of time?’” Gin said, “Just staying on couches and living off corn flakes and dulce de leche.” Surely she could spare this perma-strapped New Yorker a tip or two on how to stretch a dollar, but the big question is how much Spanish did the singer-songwriter pick up during her teen Odyssey?
“I knew the words I needed, you know?” Gin said. “Una cerveza por favor! That’s just one beer, any beer, not picky.”