#TransformationTuesday: Ariana Grande

Hi. It’s Tuesday and we’re still talking about Ariana Grande.

Yesterday, we recapped some of the our favorite moments from the One Manchester concert, which Ariana helped put together to benefit the victims of last month’s attack. It was beautiful, full of tears, and best of all, raised over $3 million. Since the deadly event, Ariana has been praised for her compassionate eloquence in response to a heartless tragedy (unlike certain world leaders).

We will never be able to understand why events like this take place because it is not in our nature, which is why we shouldn’t recoil. We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win. {x}

For many of those who just thought of Ariana as another female pop star, their minds changed after she released that statement (per the posts I saw on Twitter, at least). And when she took the stage on Sunday, it was evident that the attack had a profound effect on her, and she wanted to do anything she could to try to lift spirits and help the victims and their families in any way she could. That’s the day Ariana Grande wasn’t just an international pop star anymore. I’m not saying she wasn’t before, but to a lot of people who weren’t paying attention, she became a respected celebrity idol that day.

For the uninitiated, Ariana, 23, has been in the game since she was a teen, and has gone through many career changes to get to where she is today. So on this Transformation Tuesday, let’s take a look back at all the major points in Ari’s life that have led her to become the (Dangerous) Woman that she is today.

2001: Rite of Passage

You know how when you go to a kid’s dance recital or see a community theater show and there’s one, maybe two kids who are actually really good or have the potential to be? That was Ariana. Growing up in Florida, her main connection to the arts was the theater, performing in shows like Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, and of course, Annie.

2007: Slaying Judy Garland

When you’re an aspiring pop star, you obvs have to make the rounds at random events, like singing the National Anthem at a sports game, or singing at a birthday party for a 95 year old. Can’t turn down a gig.

2008: The (Great White) Way

When she was 15, Ariana was cast in 13, a musical by the genius that is Jason Robert Brown. She was in a supporting role as a cheerleader called Charlotte, and it even earned her a National Youth Theatre Association Award. Being cast in any Broadway show is maj, but to be a part of the Original Broadway Cast is an honor. I mean she’s on the OBC cast album! What does it say about me that I think this is one of the more impressive feats in her career?!

2009: The Nickelodeon Machine

The following year, Ari was cast as Cat Valentine in Victorious, a Nickelodeon sitcom starring Victoria Justice and set in a performing arts high school. Now, I’m not above telling you that I watched a lot of Disney Channel shows way past the age I should’ve been (#BestofBothWorlds), but I never got on this Nickelodeon train. It’s a total blind spot for me. But what I can say is that Ariana made the right decision in going through the Nickelodeon machine, which is v similar to the Disney machine (see: Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, etc.). Ari gained a fan following by playing a slightly ditzy yet lovable character, who would help her get her first starring role. More on that later.

2011: YouTube Star

Keeping music in the foreground, Ariana continued to connect with her fans by posting covers on YouTube. And just like the teens who posted their covers online all over the world, Ariana did the same, asking her fans to “tweet her”. Also, I remember watching that Emotions cover and thinking, “WHO DA FUQ IS THIS CHICK??!” Get into those whistle tones!!

2011: The First Single

Ariana released her first single, Put Your Hearts Up, in 2011. It’s a sweet bubblegum pop track that was fit for her Nickelodeon persona (and still features her signature Cat Valentine red hair). But as you can tell, this is definitely not the same music she’s singing today.

June, 2013: On To The Next One

In 2012, Victorious was not renewed for a fourth season, but Ariana still had a job because it was announced that she would star in a spin-off called Sam & Cat, which starred iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy (Sam). This is obviously next level stardom, but the show only lasted one season over the course of one year, and there was a lot A LOT of drama towards the end. It involved salaries, reported feuds, and the rise of Ariana’s music career, so Nickelodeon just cut the cord and the last Sam & Cat ep aired in 2014.

August, 2013: The Breakthrough

As mentioned, Ariana had still be working hard on her music career, and worked on her first real album over the course of three years. It was finally released in September, 2013, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making her the first female artist since Kesha to have her album debut at the top of the charts. The lead single, The Way (ft. now boyfriend Mac Miller), was a jam for the summer of 2013. For me too. Remember when I told y’all to add her to your playlist?!

2013: Just Beliebe

It was all happening for her in the fall of 2013 and at that point there was no stopping her flow. Ariana, who shares manager Scooter Braun with Justin Bieber, joined him for a few dates on his massive Believe Tour, and she also embarked on her own headlining mini-tour, called The Listening Sessions.  But it was the American Music Awards where she blew the crowd away with a stripped down performance of Tattooed Heart, and she won her first major award for Best New Artist.

August, 2014: My Everything

Ariana released her second studio album, My Everything, that August, led by the mega hit Problem. The song became one of the best-selling singles of all time with 10 million sales, and the video itself has been viewed over a billion times. Her second single, Break Free ft. Zedd was yet another charttopper, and just because she’s that talented, the song she featured on, Bang Bang with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj was also a hit. All three songs hit the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 in the same week, making her the only female artist besides Adele to have three top 10 hits simultaneously as a lead artist. Get it girl. My Everything also included jams like One Last Time, Love Me Harder ft. The Weeknd and Best Mistake, ft. ex-bf Big Sean.

2015: World Domination Continues

Ariana embarked on The Honeymoon Tour in support of the album, which was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys that year (her other nom came in the form of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Bang Bang). She also returned to acting with a guest-starring role in Scream Queens, and gave fans a little holiday treat by releasing an EP called Christmas & Chill (which is V GOOD). Oh, also she did the Wheel of Impressions game on Jimmy Fallon and I’ve watched it like 5 times since.

January, 2016: Returning to Her Roots

Hey remember when I said I was the most impressed when I found out Ariana was in a musical by Jason Robert Brown? It’s because I think he’s a genius who created one of my favorite musicals of all time, The Last Five Years. And I’m the type of nerd who would go to one of his cabaret shows, but when he played in LA, I decided to be “smart” and save my money. Turns out I’m a dumb-dumb, because that night Ariana was a surprise guest and she sung a song from 13. I love this so much because it shows that she hasn’t forgotten where she came from, and is willing to sing at a random small venue in LA for her friend. In fact, she asked JRB to write a song for her that ended up being a bonus track on her Dangerous Woman album, called Jason’s Song (Gave It Away). She even performed it on Jimmy Fallon – and asked JRB to play piano. Read all about it on his blog.

March, 2016: Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!

To promote her new Dangerous Woman album, Ariana was the host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live. It was hands down, one of my favorite SNL episodes ever – she killed in each sketch (and all of them were actually funny – Jennifer Lawrence you guys!) and her musical performances  were perfect (I think about the Be Alright performance a lot).

December, 2016: A Checkerboard Chick

Ari got to live out a lifelong dream of playing Penny Pingleton in the annual NBC live musical, Hairspray, and was one of the standouts from the entire show. And again, my love for Ariana runs deep yet again, because she confessed her love for OBC member Kerry Butler, proving yet again, she’s a theater nerd just like us.

2017: Full Circle

Ariana has been on her Dangerous Woman World Tour since February, and that leads us to Manchester, where she brought the show on May 22nd. Here she is at the One Manchester show singing Over the Rainbow once again, filling us with emotion to see just what a Dangerous Wonder Woman she’s become.

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