Ariana Grande: America’s Weirdest Diva
The pint-sized pop princess has come under fire for licking doughnuts and saying she hates America, but it’s just another strange episode for the delightfully strange star.
When we think diva, we picture Aretha Franklin or Mariah Carey—commanding women with big voices and even bigger attitudes. Unfortunately, these days Aretha Franklin is producing more hat-centric memes than original music, and Mariah Carey is just trying to get out there. Cue the arrival of our latest and most unlikely pop diva, a tiny Boca Raton baby with the ponytail of an actual pony, and the manic energy of a much larger pony: Ariana Grande.
The 22-year-old’s diva-ness perfectly culminated on Saturday in this bite-size security footage treat. Grande was eyeing some sweets of her own at Wolfee Donuts in California with her new boy toy, Ricky Alvarez. The young couple was caught on tape taking turns licking trays of doughnuts, then laughing maniacally at their wild prank, then making out. When the absentee employee returned to the counter with a fresh sheet of doughnuts, Grande immediately said, “What the fuck is that?” Before adding, “I hate Americans, I hate America.” America's favorite naughty baby wishing a happy Fourth of July to you and yours!
Post #Doughnutgate, Grande explained that she was actually making a larger statement about our country's childhood obesity epidemic. With her tongue. In a lengthy “apology,” Grande emphasized that, “What I said in a private moment with my friend, who was buying the donuts, was taken out of context,” continuing, “As an advocate for healthy eating, food is very important to me and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole.”
Grande made her Broadway debut in the musical 13, a cult success that threw it back to the best year of our lives—Bar Mitzvah year. On the strength of her aliyah, Grande landed the role of Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon series Victorious. Out of all the pretty ladies in the cast of Victorious, Grande was the smallest and the shiniest—the two prerequisites for getting your own spin-off show. Sam & Cat ended in 2014, and Grande graduated as the most popular starlet in fake high school, earning her recording contract and a lifetime supply of Tiger Beat foldout posters.
Grande's first two albums, Yours Truly and My Everything, produced a number of hit singles, award nominations, and rave reviews. Her top tracks include “Love Me Harder,” which is vaguely about getting sexed, “Problem,” which is vaguely about girl power, and “Break Free,” which is vaguely about intergalactic warfare. Over the years, the family-friendly starlet has transformed into a lil’ heartbreaker, rocking miniskirts and thigh-high boots along with her trademark hair extensions. Grande’s love life has also been much discussed, from her five-month relationship with The Wanted’s Nathan Sykes to her eight-month relationship with rapper Big Sean. At this point, the list of every 20-something dude who has Googled “how old is Ariana Grande?” is longer than Ariana Grande’s ponytail. Not only is Ariana Grande 2015’s excuse for a diva, she’s also a sex symbol—reflecting a latent societal desire to sleep with a very petite woman and then fondle her tiny patent leather accessories.
Despite her close resemblance to an anthropomorphized lollipop, Grande has actually gained a bit of a reputation for her diva tendencies. The singer insists on only being photographed on her left side, and has cancelled photo shoots when photographers refused to comply with her demands. Giuliana Rancic recalled one notable AMA’s red carpet interview where she was forcibly pushed to the other side so that Grande could land her preferred angle. There have also been reports of Grande arriving late to interviews, giving combative answers, and even disrespecting her adoring fans.
Lucky for us, Grande isn’t just a little entitled—she’s also pretty crazy. In a 2014 Billboard magazine interview, the starlet confessed that “I’m literally the most sardonic person you’ve ever met.” Describing her “dark and deranged” stage, the then-21-year-old explained, “I always wanted to have skeleton face paint on or be wearing a Freddy Krueger mask, and I would carry a hockey stick around. I was like a mini-Helena Bonham Carter.” Apparently “there was a stage, when I was 3 or 4, where my mom thought I might grow up to be a serial killer.” Serial killer and/or Nickelodeon child star Scrabble champion.
The vaguely addled songstress reportedly began practicing Kabbalah at the tender age of 12, inspired by our Lord and savior Madonna. Grande has said that she shirked her family’s Roman Catholicism “when the Pope decided to tell me everything I loved and believed in was wrong.” According to Ariana, the church “said SpongeBob Squarepants is gay and he’s a sinner and he should burn in hell. And Harry Potter was a sin. And working women. I was like ‘Enough!’” Naturally, Grande turned to Kabbalah, with its theological emphasis on the Holy Trinity of SpongeBob Squarepants, Harry Potter, and working women.
But does Ariana Grande walk the walk of weirdness, or does she just talk the talk? Grande sees your question, and raises you a royal edict: “that she has to be carried—literally carried like a baby—when she doesn’t feel like walking.” Apparently, Grande’s taxing schedule requires her staff to physically cradle her; Instagram evidence shows Grande being carried down the street after a demanding shoot, and being similarly smuggled off-stage post-performance. Tired baby Grande’s other quirks include being called Luna by her close friends (she loves the moon, y’all) and adorning her arms with pen tattoos on her Honeymoon Tour, ranging from Italian sayings in Milan to “Amsterdayum” in Amsterdam. Think of it as an old-school geotag for the busy baby on the go!
Manic pixie dream baby tendencies aside, Grande does have a few things going for her. The diminutive diva earned points for her recent feminist Twitter takeover, during which she growled, “I am tired of living in a world where women are mostly referred to as a man’s past, present, or future PROPERTY/POSSESSION…If a women even TALKS about sex openly ... she is shamed!” Citing a history of female activists in her family, Grande proceeded to address entertainment world misogyny and double standards, praise her fans and supporters, then peace out on a Gloria Steinem quote and drop the mic.
Grande has also been a vocal LGBTQ ally. In addition to featuring a homosexual alien makeout in her “Break Free” video (baby steps, people), Grande recently collaborated with Miley Cyrus’s Backyard Sessions, a series of exclusive performances that will raise funds and awareness for Cyrus’s LGBTQ-centric Happy Hippie Foundation. The 22-year-old, who has always publicly expressed her love and admiration for her gay half-brother Frankie Grande, also headlined New York’s Gay Pride Weekend—in black latex. The girl might be a serial killer-in-training, but she’s got heart and style. And she’s so shiny! You go, Grande.