Some people just can't be happy with what they've got. Consider, for example, Ariana Grande, who at the beginning of her career looked like she'd go down the acting path. By her teens she'd parlayed early theatrical roles in Annie, The Wizard of Oz, and Beauty and the Beast into a featured role on Nickelodeon's Victorious.
Less-driven mortals would've been happy having conquered the stage and small screen, but Grande instead chose to apply herself in her downtime, recording early covers of artists like Adele, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey and then using video clips to shop herself to music-industry powerbrokers. If all of those icons she obviously admires have one thing in common, it's that they can sing in a way that, say, poor old Britney Spears can only dream of. The same goes for Grande and her fabled four octaves.
Today, the 25-year-old is teen-pop's reigning queen, whose crowning achievements don't stop with being the second-most-followed account on the celebrity popularity contest that is Instagram.
Grande has stepped up to raise millions to help improve the lives of LGBTQ kids, been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and proven a vocal critic of America's refusal to get serious about gun control. Oh, and she also takes in dogs who've spent endless weeks at shelters wondering if anyone is ever going to want them.
In other words, you couldn't have a better role model for succeeding in life than the mega-star who plays Rogers Arena on Saturday (April 27) as part of her Sweetener World Tour for her chartopping latest album, Thank U, Next. Here are some facts as you get ready for the show.
MACCHIATO IS MURDER There an old joke that goes something like this: "Q: How do you know if someone’s a vegan? A: They fucking tell you 12.2 seconds after you first meet them." Count Grande as one of those unable to comprehend the simple reality that, if God didn’t mean for us to eat our finned, feathered, and four-legged friends, She wouldn’t have made them taste so good. The problem with proclaiming oneself as holier-than-thou plant-muncher is that the carnivores of the world will take any opportunity to jump all over you for transgressions against your cause. Grande learned that when she hopped into bed with Starbucks to serve as official ambassador for a creation called the Cloud Macchiato. The rollout photo on Twitter had her posing in her kitchen with the drink, her dogs, and some lucky plebe wearing the company’s signature green apron. A couple of minutes later the Twitter nation was all over her, wondering if she was actually drinking what she was hawking, the big problem being that cloud powder part of the Macchiato is partially made with egg whites. Missives included this, from a woman named Rachel who works as a Starbucks barista: "Isn't ariana grande vegan? Why is she promoting a drink with dairy? 'Try the soy version'... hunny the caramel drizzle & cloud powder both have dairy in them... but go off sis make everyone pay the extra 60 cents for soy milk and boost Starbuck's sales." Helping make Starbucks even richer is bad, but promoting the consumption of soy milk is even worse. Also, Jesus Christ Ms. Grande, if you really are a vegan, think of the unborn chickens.
DISHING ON DONG There’s another old saying that a gentleman never kisses and tells. Ariana Grande, however, is evidently not of the opinion that what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. After breaking off a long-term relationship with rapper Mac Miller, the singer took up with Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson. This sparked all sorts of questions, not the least of which was what exactly she saw in the Staten Island-raised comedian. (The famously self-effacing Davidson no doubt understands the confusion; recall i you will the Weekend Update appearance where he killed it with: "The reason Staten Island hates me is 'cause I represent what they are: a mentally ill, community college drop-out who got a Game of Thrones tattoo before watching the show." ). Grande answered a big question on Twitter when she responded to a fan who enquired “how long is Pete”. The answer, as you’ll see below, is roughly Ron Jeremy-sized. The tweet was later deleted, as was Grande’s engagement to Davidson, but the phrase "big dick energy" has solidly become part of the pop-culture lexicon. As for who she's hooked up with now, it looks like the singer has decided to step back and breathe deep; asked who she's dating by a Twitter follower at the beginning of 2019, she responded with "for the rest of this year / probably my life: it’s no one. please refer back to this tweet for future questions."
BEFORE THEY WERE SUPER-FAMOUS Ever wonder what folks were like before they were mega-famous? Based on a 2011 Nickelodeon interview with intrepid reporter Sebastian Martinez, Grande didn’t go into showbiz for the money. Interviewed on iKidsnow.com right before Christmas, she came off as a perfectly pleasant, and somewhat humble soul, even though her role on Nickelodeon’s Victorious had already launched her acting career. You known how some kids—ie. most every one of them—want an iPhone X, Beats headphones, and a US$225 Kanye West Sunday Service sweatshirt for Xmas? Grande told Martinez she was getting the best gift of all: time with her family. Which presumably meant she was going to be watching them fight over whether the turkey was done, the amount of liquor consumed before noon, and whether or not cleaning up the dishes is work that women were put on this goddamn earth to do.
POOCH POWER You know what’s the best thing about dogs? It’s that they will love you unconditionally, whether you’re a panhandler who spends his days sitting outside of Donald’s on Hastings, or a famous pop star with homes around the world. Grande famously loves dogs, the singer earning bonus points for heaven by the fact that she gets her pooches as rescues from shelters rather than high-priced breeders. To that end, she’s been a vocal supporter of “adopt, don’t shop” an organization that encourages people to rescue pets from shelters instead of buying them from pet stores and breeders. As of this past January, Grande was, depending on where you look, a mom to between seven and 10 dogs, as well as a pig named Piggy Smallz (the latter adoption coming from her brief time with Pete Davidson). One of her four-legged friends has already made the transition from pet to celebrity, with Toulouse popping up in the video for “7 Rings”. “T wasn't originally supposed to be in this video,” Grande Tweeted this past January, “but he literally wouldn't leave me / set / the shot so”.
HOME SWEET HOMES One of the biggest perks of making it big-time in show business is that you don’t have to live out your days in a Strathcona basement suite or 350-square-foot Yaletown condo where the strata fees and mortgage payments eat up 97.8 percent of your monthly income. Also, you can live in Los Angeles if you choose. Grande was born in Boca Raton, Florida, spending her tween years in a home that makes it clear her family wasn’t exactly just scraping by. (The Patch Reef Estates 7,500-square-foot house was listed for $2.4 mill a few months back, features including five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a home theatre, and sound-proof music studio, as well as a swimming pool and spa area with a gazebo.) For the past half-decade or so Grande has been living on the other side of the country, starting in 2011 with with the leasing of a Tudor-style home in Los Angeles that once belonged to Francis Ford Coppola. (The L.A. times has reported that US$6.95 million house is now on the market, which give you the opporunity to sleep in the same room Grande once slept in). She currently spends her West Coast time in a 6,226 square feet Beverly Hills mansion with 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and a sweeping view of the Hollywood Hills. As for the $16 million apartment that Grande and her former fiance Pete Davidson purchased in New York last year, one can only assume that the lawyers are working that one out. Then again, maybe there’s nothing to work out. During a Saturday Night Live segment while the two were still together, Davidson joked all he did was “stock the fridge”. He told GQ last August that Grande purchased the apartment alone, adding "She's really sweet. She's like, 'This is our house,' and I'm like, 'You're very nice for saying that. Thank you for letting me stay here.''