With a string of top singles and nearly 150 million followers on IG, Ariana Grande is a force to be reckoned with. Aged twenty-five, the singer has already reached an enviable level of success and has won the hearts of fans all over the world.
And there’s much more to this pint-sized singer than meets the eye. While many fans might see a talented singer with popular songs, a good tan, and an iconic ponytail, there’s so much more lurking beneath the surface of Ariana’s life.
From her beginnings in children’s theatre in Florida to her position at the top of the music industry, Ariana has been through a lot.
There have been run-ins with legendary stars and predictions of the future, criticisms from critics, a few health scares, and even an incident with a hockey puck. Ari has spoken out about her stance on the issues that are relevant in the world today and has been open about how her upbringing has shaped the woman she’s become.
She’s not even thirty yet, but they could already make a movie about the fascinating life of pop's new princess. Check out these twenty things that most people don’t know about Ariana Grande.
20 Ariana Is Not A Stage Name
Ariana Grande sounds like a name made in marketing heaven. As it turns out, the singer’s parents just had good entertainment industry taste when it came time to name their new daughter back in 1993. On her birth certificate, her name really is Ariana Grande-Butera, which combines both her mom and dad’s last names.
The name choice of Ariana was inspired by Felix the Cat: The Movie because there’s a character in the movie called Princess Oriana. A fan of Harry Potter, Ariana is also probably loving the fact that she shares a name with the sister of Albus Dumbledore.
19 At Eight Years Old, She Was Spotted By A Music Legend
By the age of eight, Ariana was well on her way to becoming a professional singer. That year she had an exciting encounter with a music legend, which gave her a glimpse into her star-studded future. While she was singing on a cruise ship, she had the luck of running into Gloria Estefan, who was so moved by her performance that she told the young Ariana, “You were meant to do this.”
That had to have been a huge confidence boost! Footage of the ‘Break Free’ singer performing as a child has since emerged online, and remarkable would be an understatement.
18 Animals Have A Special Place In Her Heart
Ariana is an animal lover, through and through, and she’s not shy about posting snaps with her pets on IG. “I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding,” she said in an interview with Vogue. “I used to love Sea World. I thought the animals were safe and happy. Then I learned what happened—that they’re taken out of their habitat and kidnaped. It breaks my heart. They’re not ours.”
The singer first became aware of the fight for animal rights after watching a 2013 documentary about what goes on behind the scenes at animal theme parks like Sea World.
17 She Went Totally Vegan In 2013
The singer’s love of animals naturally progressed to a completely vegan diet in 2013. She never ate a lot of meat, to begin with, but she cut all animal products out of her diet after watching the documentary that changed her life: Blackfish. “ … I am a firm believer in eating a full plant-based, whole food diet that can expand your life length and make you an all-around happier person,” she said in an interview with The Mirror.
We know for a fact that the 'Sweetener' singer doesn’t eat donuts anymore after footage emerged of her licking and then putting back a display donut!
16 She Started Singing At A Young Age But Had No Professional Training
The world knows that Ariana has some serious vocal chops and she has even been compared to legends like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. She started singing at a very young age, participating in local theatre with a children’s troupe in her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida.
She also sang with a group called Kids Who Care, which performed at local charity events. While the singer started working on her craft from a young age and landed some gigs when she was still a child, she never had any professional training. Her voice is a talent she was born with!
15 She Was Brought Up By A Strong Woman
Ariana Grande’s hit song ‘thank u, next’ sheds some light on her close relationship with her mom, Joan Grande. It’s clear that Joan’s done a great job raising Ariana, and her status as an independent and strong businesswoman might have something to do with the confidence and self-respect that Ariana practices today.
Joan is the head of a company called Hose-McCann Communications, which is based in Florida, where the singer was born. The company has communication systems which have been installed aboard vessels employed by the Navy and Coast Guard, and the family bought the company in 1964. Pretty impressive!
14 Her First Music Award Came When She Was Just 15
As if all that wasn’t enough to let Ariana know that she was made for the limelight, she also started receiving accolades for her musical talent when she was still in high school. At just fifteen, she won the role of a cheerleader in a production called 13 on Broadway, which is where she actually got her start.
Her work impressed critics so much that she won a National Youth Theatre Association Award. It would still be a while before Ariana got her big break on the Nickelodeon show Victorious, but the award she won was her first taste of real success in the entertainment industry.
13 She Believes In The Supernatural
Arianators know that their idol’s favorite holiday is Halloween. As a child, she used to get dressed up in costumes months before October and run around the house disguised as characters from famous horror films. While that behavior may have stopped now, Ariana still has an interest in the supernatural.
In an interview with Complex, she revealed that she chooses not to get involved with anything too otherworldly now because she’s afraid of the consequences. “I used to have a folder called Demons that had pictures with all the screencaps in it,” she said. “But then weird things started happening to me so I deleted it.”
12 She’s A Hockey Fan And Has Even Been Hit With The Puck Before
How many stars can say that they’ve been hit with the puck at an ice hockey game before? Ariana Grande can. In fact, the singer hasn’t been hit just once in her life, but twice! Starting from the age of two, Ariana would attend the Florida Panthers NHL games and sit in the front row. On two separate occasions in 1998, she was actually struck by the hockey puck.
Luckily she wasn’t seriously injured, though she did experience some minor bruising. She hasn’t let those experiences stop her from being an avid hockey fan, though. She’s even poked fun at herself on IG about it!
11 She Can’t Stand Her First Single
No, we’re not talking about ‘The Way’ which most people think is Ariana’s first single. That might be the most famous of the singer’s early singles, but she actually put out one before that called ‘Put Your Hearts Up’ and today, she can’t stand the thought of it.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ariana confessed that the single “felt so inauthentic and fake.” The sound is much more bubble gum than the singer’s sultry sound now, and the clip was a far cry from her more recent works. She felt so strongly about it that she actually removed it from her page!
10 Like Other Aspiring Singers, She Originally Posted Covers On YouTube
Every generation has its way of gaining exposure. Ours is through YouTube videos. Anyone can upload a video of themselves singing to the site, and if they’re lucky enough, be discovered by someone who will give them their big break.
Before she became a household name, Ariana was into posting videos of her cover performances on the video-sharing site. Some of the songs she took on before recording any of her own were ‘Love the Way You Lie’ by Rihanna and ‘Grenade’ by Bruno Mars. Ariana’s fellow star Alessia Cara also began her musical endeavors by uploading singing videos to YouTube.
9 She’s A Disney Fan
Ariana Grande has transformed before our eyes from novice teen star to pop goddess, but there are some things that never change. In this case, one of them is Ari’s love for all things Disney. Like many other girls, the singer loves Disney so much that she chose to dedicate her 21st birthday to it.
While other A-listers might have opted for a grown-up party in Vegas, Ari chose to head to Walt Disney World in her native Florida where she celebrated her big day at the Magic Kingdom park. She got to meet Mickey Mouse and even had a four-tier cake in the theme of one of her favorite fairy tales, Cinderella.
8 Critics Have Pointed Out Similarities Between Her New Music And Already Established Songs
Establishing yourself as a totally original artist is tough, especially in a climate where critics and trolls are always trying to tear you down. Ariana has come under fire a few times now because of similarities that people have noticed between her new music and older music, which she was accused of ripping off.
Her record label even landed in trouble in 2018 after her hit ‘Side to Side’ was said to have imitated another song by a musician called Christopher R. O’Connor. Ari also caught heat after the lyrics from her single ‘The Way’ were compared to those of a 1972 song.
7 Her Impressions Will Probably Earn Her An Oscar One Day
People know Ariana Grande, first and foremost, for her angelic voice and four-octave vocal range. But she’s also becoming famous for another talent she has. We know—how many talents does the girl need?
She’s actually very gifted at impressions and has imitated a few famous faces in the industry on talk shows with hosts like James Corden and Jimmy Fallon and on SNL. One of her most famous impressions is of Celine Dion (she gets everything from the vocal technique to the accent down), but she’s also hilariously parodied Jennifer Coolidge, Jennifer Lawrence, Britney Spears, and Shakira.
6 She’s Open About Her Mental Health Battles
Perhaps the biggest challenge of Ariana’s life was surviving in the months following May of 2017, when her concert in Manchester, England, was notoriously attacked. The event forced Ariana to the front page of newspapers around the world, and also had a serious impact on her mental and emotional health for a long time afterward.
One really cool thing about Ari is that she is open about the battles that she faces relating to that incident rather than trying to hide them. In 2018, she spoke about how she relied on therapy to help her cope and still suffers from anxiety and PTSD.
5 There’s A Reason Behind Her Famous Ponytail
Okay, we lied. There’s one more thing, besides her vocals and her impressions, that Ariana Grande is famous for. Fans can instantly recognize the singer from her hairstyle. She sports a ponytail that has become a symbol for her persona as an artist and has evolved from the side bangs she used to wear.
The signature ponytail is now part of her look, but there’s more to it than just aesthetics. The singer has revealed that she damaged her hair from dyeing it red to play Cat Valentine on Victorious, and has no choice now but to wear it up.
4 She Sticks Up For Women’s Rights
One of the best effects of being raised by a strong working mom is that you gain an appreciation for the rights that women have worked hard to earn. Growing up with a mom who was the head of a company has instilled in Ariana a deep sense of equality, and now she is never afraid to stand up for women’s rights when they are challenged.
She is always calling out interviewers when they step out of line, famously telling off one radio host for insinuating that the only things important to girls are their phones and makeup. On Twitter, Ari made her stance on gender equality quite clear: “I come from a long bloodline of female activists.”
3 She Has A Pet Pig
Being an animal lover, Ariana Grande has quite a few pets living under her roof. Those who follow her on social media will know that she has seven dogs called Lafayette, Coco, Toulouse, Ophelia, Strauss, Cinnamon, Fawkes, and Sirius Black (the last two paying homage to her beloved Harry Potter).
But interestingly, the singer also has a pet pig named Piggy Smalls! She adopted him while dating ex-fiancé Pete Davidson. Piggy was lucky enough to star in Ariana’s music video for her song ‘Breathin’ and quickly became a favorite among fans. Since ending things with Pete, Ariana has called her pig “the absolute love of my life.”
2 Her Fashion Icons Go Back To The 1950s
Ariana is certainly unique when it comes to her style and has a number of elements to her signature look that help her to stand out. But she also has her own fashion icons who inspire her when it comes to getting dressed.
It has been revealed that the singer actually looks up to classic style icons, such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, and uses them as inspiration for the clothes she chooses to wear. We guess the super feminine vibe that Ariana has going on—cemented by all the pink—is an ode to these legends of show business.
1 She Suffers From Poor Eyesight
In one interview with Jimmy Fallon, Ariana made headlines after she was seen squinting above the camera to read the titles of songs that she had to sing as part of an impressions game. Fans had no idea what was wrong with their idol, but it was later revealed that she squints because she actually suffers from poor eyesight and has to wear contact lenses.
She obviously wasn’t wearing them during that interview, but maybe she should have been! While her vegan diet keeps her healthy in other ways, Ari also suffers from hypoglycemia or episodes of extremely low blood sugar.
Sources: Capital FM, Teen Vogue, The Delite, Tell Tales Online