The Complete Evolution Of Ariana Grande

She sings. She dances. She acts. There's very little Ariana Grande can't do. A performer since birth, Grande has always had a passion for singing, and the excitement she shows while performing is infectious. Still, at such a young age, Grande has experienced ups and downs, and has always been open about her thoughts on those challenges and successes in life. She has already accomplished so much, and I have a feeling there's many more big moments to come. So let's take a look at the stunning transformation of Ariana Grande and what's next for this triple threat.

Her brother was her major role model

Ariana Grande was born in Boca Raton, Florida on June 26, 1993. She knew what she wanted to do from a young age, and one important person in her life was a huge influence from the very beginning.

As Grande shared with The Telegraph, "I adored and worshipped my brother, Frankie, as a little girl — everything he did was cool. ... He's 10 years older than me — he would kill me for saying that! But once Frankie got into acting in musical theatre and dancing, I was like, OK, I guess that's the cool thing now, so let's investigate and watch old musicals. ... My friends and I were huge musical-theatre geeks and we would go back and forth to New York whenever we had free weekends." And the rest is history.

She took on a lead role from a young age

Following in her brother's footsteps, Ariana Grande joined the local community theater and at age 8 got the lead role in Annie. Still so young, her mom didn't want Grande there by herself at rehearsals. Grande shared with The Telegraph that parents were not allowed at rehearsals unless they were in the show. Her mother accepted the challenge. As she said during the interview, "So my mom auditioned, which was the funniest thing that's ever happened in the history of the world! Because my mom is a CEO, she has her own companies, her own full schedule. ... She was Daddy Warbucks' maid." Grande continued, saying, "She had to wear a French maid's outfit and use a broom. She was like, 'I have no idea what I'm doing right now ... but anything for my daughter.'" 

She found an escape through performing

Although Ariana Grande discovered great success at such a young age, she also had to experience difficult times as well. When Grande was a kid, her parents decided to divorce. This was a tough time for Grande, as she described to The Telegraph. "That was very hard as a young girl when my parents got divorced. ... Being in the middle of it was so stressful. And of course being made up of both of them – I was like, Hey, if they both dislike each other's attributes so much, what am I to like about me? I'm made from these two people and I'm caught in the middle of all this fighting... It was traumatic. Between the ages of 8 and 11, that was the roughest for me."

So with these stressful times, acting was a very important part of Grande's life. During the interview, the star opened up about her struggles and how acting was her escape. She said, "'Take me away from home,' I remember saying, 'Mommy, I never want this to end.' I loved playing a character as it was sort of just taking a vacation from myself."

She took fashion inspiration from her mom and Scary Spice

Ariana Grande is not just known for her talent, but for her style as well. She has pushed the envelope and shown confidence through her wardrobe choices. This overall look is an inspiration from two very important people in her life... sort of. "I remember being like, 'I wanna look like a mix of my mom and Scary Spice.' I remember saying those words when I was a little girl — that was the goal, when I was, like, 4," said Grande during an interview with Byrdie.

Since the young age of 4, Grande has continued to see her mom as a fashion inspiration. She said during the interview, "My mom is fly... She's the baddest. My whole life, she's always worn custom-made, black, tailored outfits. Black only — I've never seen her wear another color. And she adds a pop of color on her lip. She has this blue lipstick I was really stoked on, and my Viva Glam as well."

She was cast in the Broadway musical 13

Long before Grande became a pop superstar, she was a child star on Broadway. Grande got her first big break with the role of Charlotte in the 2008 Broadway production of "13," a show about 13 young teens. As Jason Robert Brown, who wrote the musical, later recalled to, Grande was clearly talented even as a teen. "She opened her mouth and we said 'We have cast her,'" Brown said of her audition. "She was always an extraordinarily talented creature. So many of those kids in that original company were. Not only did Ariana bring it, but it happened so many times during the casting of this movie."

For Grande, starring in a Broadway musical was a dream come true. "There really aren't words to describe how incredible this feeling is," she said in an interview on the red carpet on opening night (via YouTube). "It's just, not only to be making a Broadway debut at such a young age, but this whole cast is just like a family."

She found success on the small screen

Ariana Grande's acting career made it to new heights in 2010 when she was cast in the new Nickelodeon show, "Victorious." From that show, she went on to play the same character of Cat Valentine on the show, "Sam & Cat." But then in 2014 when the show ended, Grande was ready to move on to new things.

As the then-21-year-old posted on her Facebook (via The Wrap), "I want to thank (series creator) Dan Schneider for allowing me to play such a special, beautiful character who I hid behind for so long. What I mean by that is when I was younger, people loved Cat so much I used to pretend to be more like her... It took me a long time to be brave enough to separate myself and show people how different we actually are." Even though different, Grande still was thankful for her time playing this character. She went on to say, "I will always hold Cat near and dear to my heart and appreciate her help in my personal growth from teenager to adult."

She addressed those diva rumors

Over time, Ariana Grande has proven herself. Reaching an intense level of celebrity, she seems to understand the amount of attention — both good and bad — she will receive and she keeps moving forward. She spoke with The Telegraph about this in 2014, specifically in regard to rumors about her being a diva. "It's funny how a certain amount of success comes with a certain amount of weird, inaccurate depictions of you," she said. She continued, saying, "But I feel like it will die down because it's not something that I pay into. And also things can only last so long when there's little truth to them. So that's why I don't trip over it."

Grande is not afraid to be honest and say what she is thinking. She added, 'It's weird to me because I do see myself as a fairly positive, very friendly person. So it's kind of odd. I also think a lot of people don't know what the word 'diva' means. If you want to call me a diva I'll say, 'Um, well, cool.' Barbra Streisand is a diva; that's amazing. Celine Dion is a diva; thank you. But if you want to call me a b***h, that's not accurate. Because it's just not in my nature."

You go, girl. Grande is who she is, and she's not falling into the gossip. It's fantastic to see a star address the issue head-on and stand her ground.

She had to overcome a doughnut disaster

In 2015, Ariana Grande put herself in a tough spot with a video of her licking a doughnut for sale on the counter and stating that she "hates Americans." The video received negative backlash, and Grande later spoke up about the controversy, saying on "Good Morning America," "I think one of the biggest things I learned from that was what it feels like to disappoint so many people who love and believe in you. ... And that's an excruciating feeling."

She learned from the experience and expressed those thoughts during the interview. She said, "You have to remember that your words, your actions, have, you know, ramifications and you have to really think about what you're about to say and do because it's important. ... My behavior was very offensive and I apologized," Grande said. "There's no excuse or there's nothing to justify it."

She's comfortable with who she is

Ariana Grande has continued to rise to the top with a number of fantastic songs, but one common critique of her work is that her content can be quite sexual. The singer addressed these comments with Cosmopolitan back in 2017, providing very honest answers. She said, "I've taken baby steps in expressing my sexuality in my imagery. I'm all the way there now, but I'm also 23, you know? I'm still figuring everything out, but it's tight to be at a point where I'm having fun with it, and I don't think that makes me any less of a role model. I think that it makes me honest!"

She also addressed the stereotype and its negative effects. Grande continued on to say, "I'm still a giving, loving person— that's not lessened by the fact that I showed my booty in a music video. I'm a good person—and I have a cute booty. It's a horrible situation that we're dealing with right now as women. I feel bad for girls who go to school with a short skirt and are told that they're asking for it just because they like [to show] their legs."

Ariana was diagnosed with PTSD after the Manchester Arena bombing

In 2017, Grande was involved in an awful tragedy when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb inside the Manchester Arena during one of her performances. According to the BBC, 22 people were killed in the attack. Grande posted a heartbroken message on Instagram after the bombing, writing, "My heart, prayers and deepest condolences are with the victims of the Manchester Attack and their loved ones. There is nothing I or anyone can do to take away the pain you are feeling or to make this better... They will be on mind and in my heart everyday and I will think of them with everything I do for the rest of my life."

In 2018, Grande opened up about how the attack continued to affect her in an interview with British Vogue, revealing that she had been diagnosed with PTSD. "It's hard to talk about because so many people have suffered such severe, tremendous loss. But, yeah, it's a real thing," she said. "I know those families and my fans, and everyone there experienced a tremendous amount of it as well. Time is the biggest thing. I feel like I shouldn't even be talking about my own experience — like I shouldn't even say anything. I don't think I'll ever know how to talk about it and not cry."

Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson got engaged

In May 2018, Grande and Pete Davidson made headlines thanks to their whirlwind romance. The pair allegedly met when Grande was the musical guest on Davidson's first episode of "Saturday Night Live" in 2014, and they were first spotted as a couple in 2018 at the Billboard Music Awards. A source told People, "After Ariana's performance, they were backstage and he had his arm around her. They seemed very lovey-dovey. He was hanging out with her and her friends with his arm around her. She seemed quite smitten."

Just a few months later, the pair became engaged. A source told People, "It's a recent engagement. They're just two people who found love quickly and make each other happy all the time. They both started talking about it this past weekend. It's nothing they've been hiding." Grande later told ABC News, "He just ticks every box and it just gets better every day,"  adding, "It's just like a feeling, you know." However, the engagement didn't last long and the pair broke up in October 2018. 

She mourned the death of ex Mac Miller

In September 2018, Grande's ex-boyfriend of two years, Mac Miller, died of an accidental overdose at the age of 26. For Grande, the news of Miller's death was traumatic, and shortly after Miller's death, Grande's engagement with Pete Davidson was called off. Grande's friends were there to support her, but it was a difficult time — and out of it, came her album, "Thank u, next." "If I'm completely honest, I don't remember those months of my life because I was (a) so drunk and (b) so sad," she told Vogue later.

Over the years, Grande has paid tribute to Miller in a number of ways. In 2019, she choked up on stage while singing lyrics about her ex in the song, "Thank u, next." Grande also played Miller's music before each of her shows during the "Sweetener" tour and has posted a number of tributes to Miller on Instagram.

Ariana Grande won her first Grammy for Sweetener

In 2019, Grade took home her first Grammy award for her album, "Sweetener." Grande wasn't at the ceremony, but she celebrated with an Instagram post. "I know i'm not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things .... but f*** .......  this is wild and beautiful. Thank you so much. I love u," she wrote in the caption. According to Variety, Grande didn't perform at or attend the Grammys that year because of a disagreement with the producer.

Even though Grande was thrilled to nab her first Grammy, it was never a goal for the singer. In an interview with Zach Sang, the host asked whether or not she wanted a Grammy. "I really try not to and I'll tell you why. ... I didn't come into this business being driven towards things like that," Grande explained. "Like, I just wanted to sing. All I ever wanted to do was sing and write and perform and dance around and make music." She continued, saying, "I'm honored to be acknowledged. ... It doesn't make me any greater of an artist or lesser of an artist."

She has an important message for her fans

Ariana Grande continues to be herself and follow her passions. And this is advice she wants her fans to follow too. Speaking with Byrdie in 2020, the singer said, "Be yourself and don't listen to any trends. If you happen to like something that is trendy, cool — but just because it's 'in' at the time doesn't mean that you have to jump on the bandwagon. Being yourself is one of the coolest things that you can do. As hard as it may be to get there, once you find that comfort, run with it."

And because Grande is a fabulous human being, she gave an amazing example: "Sh*t, you don't like my ponytail? I'm gonna have it two times bigger tomorrow, and higher, tighter, more hair in there too! Sh*t, I'll crimp it! You ain't seen a crimp like this in 20 years!"

Grande then brought it back to her fans and expressed her hope that they do not succumb to fear. She said, "My fans, I just really want them to feel empowered by who they are, and to not be afraid of it. Embrace it — then run with it."

She married Dalton Gomez in 2021

As Grande fans know, the singer hasn't always had an easy experience with love. However, in 2020, Grande met real estate agent Dalton Gomez in New York. The pair allegedly spent much of quarantine together and soon fell in love. Later that year, Grande moved to Los Angeles to be with him. "Dalton is a great guy. He is very focused on work and low-key," a source told People. "He likes keeping his relationship with Ari private. They have been able to get to know each other in peace."

The pair announced their engagement in December 2020 with an Instagram post captioned, "forever n then some." The pair tied the knot on March 15, 2021, as revealed in an Instagram post from Grande that saw her kissing her new husband in a wedding veil. A month later, Grande dropped another Instagram post that was captioned, "My heart my person !!! Thank u so much for being u."

Ariana Grande launched her own makeup line, R.E.M. Beauty

In 2021, Grande took the plunge into the world of business with her first brand, r.e.m. beauty, which sells makeup and skincare. "It means so much to me to be able to create a product line for absolutely everybody and anybody who wants to wear it and feel incredible," Grande wrote in a statement on the brand's website. "Makeup is so personal and to have the opportunity to help people feel even more beautiful than they already are in their own skin, and also to just provide tools that support and encourage people in their creativity and self-expression is a gift that I'll never take for granted."

As Grande told Elle, the brand took two years to get off the ground — and she was very nervous about it. "I don't ever want to just jump into something that is popular," she said. "It has to feel super intentional and super fueled by passion." In the end, Grande made sure that the brand featured products that showcased her unique style as well as her passion for cruelty-free makeup.

She became a judge on The Voice in its 21st season

In 2021, Grande joined the cast of the singing competition show, "The Voice," as a judge, taking the place of Nick Jonas. As the singer said in an interview, she was thrilled to be part of the show. "I think it is so happy and infectiously joyous," she said. "But I also am super moved by how brilliant the performers are and by their voices and the opportunity to work with artists who dream of doing what we get to do is a really cool and fun thing to get to do."

She immediately seemed like a great fit. As Kelly Clarkson, one of the other judges, said at the beginning of the season, "We were very excited about Ariana. Like, she's just so youthful and, like, she has, like, a billion followers and, like, she's just so relevant right now." Grande ended up only appearing in one season of the reality show as she took on another project — a role in "Wicked."

She was cast in the film adaptation of Wicked

Since her days as a child actor on Broadway and then as Cat in "Victorious," Grande hasn't done too much acting. In 2016, she played Penny in "Hairspray Live!" and in 2021, she had a role in "Don't Look Up." As of this writing, the singer is preparing for what might be her biggest role to date — the star is filming the film version of the Broadway musical "Wicked." Grande is playing Glinda alongside Cynthia Erivo who is playing Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West.

Kristin Chenoweth, who originated the role on stage, has already given Grande her stamp of approval. "I feel great about both choices," she told Entertainment Tonight. She added, "I told her not to think about me. To find her own Glinda. We talk about it, and we talk about life a lot."

For Grande, starring in "Wicked" is a dream come true. As she explained during a makeup tutorial, she went into "full preparation mode" as soon as she heard about the audition, even taking voice lessons. "Thank goodness, literally, the most incredible gift of my entire life is, you know, this role that I've adored since I'm 10 years old and that is going to have every piece of me," she said.

Ariana Grande addressed concerns about her weight

In April 2023, Grande took to TikTok to make a statement to her fans following widespread speculation about what many thought was unhealthy weight loss. "Personally for me, the body that you've been comparing my current body to was the unhealthiest version of my body," Grande said. "I was on a lot of antidepressants, and drinking on them, and eating poorly, and at the lowest points of my life when I looked the way you consider 'my healthy,' but that in fact wasn't my healthy." 

She went on to urge her fans to be "gentler" and to suggest that people spend less time speculating about "people's bodies." "If you think you're saying something good or well-intentioned, whatever it is — healthy, unhealthy, big, small, this, that, sexy, not sexy — we just shouldn't," she said. "We should really work towards not doing that as much."