Ariana Grande is definitely one of the biggest pop stars on the planet these days. She is one of the music world's biggest pop divas, and she is only 24 years old. But this girl was not an overnight success, and if you have been a fan of her for a long time, you know exactly how hard she has worked for years to get to where she is today! She got her start when she was quite young and fell in love with singing. From the moment that she learned how to sing, it was very clear to everyone around her that she had a special gift, and she had to follow her passion. Her parents have always supported her, and with her talents and her family’s dedication to her career, she has made it all the way to where she is now.
So, what really makes Ariana stand out from all the other pop stars these days? She just has that major star power factor. She has a style all her own, and she is always switching it up—if you have followed her career, you have seen her go through many phases. Here is the evolution of Ariana Grande, from child star to world famous, pop star diva.
15 Before She Was A Star
Awwww! Yup, it’s official, Ariana Grande has been cute from day one. Seeing baby pictures of stars is always so funny because it’s hard to imagine them having a normal childhood before they were famous. Some celebrities have been on movie sets since day one, but Ariana was not born into a famous family. Nope, she actually had a pretty average childhood in most respects, although she did have some cool performing opportunities at a young age simply because she was so naturally talented. She grew up in Boca-Raton, Florida, and her parents got divorced when she around eight or nine. She has an older brother named Frankie, and she is also very close to her grandmother. Her first role was playing Annie in a performance with the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater. It’s crazy to think of how far she has come since those days—she definitely followed her dreams!
14 Ariana's Big Break In The Musical 13
So, how did Ariana get started down her path to becoming a world-famous pop star? Believe it or not, she was actually already gaining some recognition before she got her big break on Nickelodeon. Her first big role was playing the cheerleader, Charlotte, in the musical, 13, on Broadway. This role involved both acting and singing for Ariana, but the funny thing is, even from this point in her career, Ariana knew that she wanted to be a singer. In fact, when she was only thirteen years old, she flew out to Los Angeles to have a meeting with her managers. She told them that she wanted to record an R&B album, and they basically laughed in her face! Ariana invested a lot of time and energy into acting while she was young, and her Broadway performance definitely helped to kick-start her career. But deep down, she always knew that singing was her true passion.
13 Rocking The Bright Red Hair
Most of Ariana’s fans got to know her as the character, Cat Valentine, on the Nickelodeon show, Victorious. This show focused on a group of friends who all went to a performing arts school together. Naturally, the entire cast was quite talented, but Ariana was one of the few former cast members to actually become famous outside of Nickelodeon after the show ended. The character, Cat, was a little spacey and silly, but she had a good heart! She was always there to provide her friends with some comic relief. And what was Cat’s signature look? Her bright red hair! Everyone came to know Ariana as the girl with the fire truck red hair. Lots of fans even tried to copy her look! In fact, to keep her hair looking fresh, Ariana had to get it dyed every single week at the request of the showrunners. They felt that it fit her character’s personality.
12 From Child Star To Teen Idol
While Ariana was on Victorious, her character wasn’t always in the spotlight, but over time, it was clear that she was slowly becoming a fan favorite. People loved her character’s ditzy but sweet personality, and fans of the show just adored her red hair. As the show became more popular, Ariana definitely began to gain a bigger following than some of the other cast members. There are even rumors that there was some serious drama on set between Ariana and the actress who played the main character, Victoria Justice because the two of them would get so competitive with each other. But for the most part, the cast managed to stay out of the tabloids. Ariana did get to show off her singing voice on the show sometimes, and many people began wondering if she would ever release a solo album because she was so talented—she was going to be a success.
11 Moving On From Victorious
So, what would be in store for Ariana after her time on Victorious was over? At this point, she wasn’t super well-known outside of Nickelodeon, but she did have a dedicated fan base who saw something special in her. When Victorious ended, she had a few different opportunities to continue acting. She began filming a new Nickelodeon show with Jeanette McCurdy called Sam and Cat. The show focused on the adventures of Cat Valentine and Sam Puckett, Jeanette’s character from iCarly. Ariana also made it into the recording studio during the final season of Victorious. She finally got to begin the music career she had always wanted. At first, her label wanted her to record bubblegum pop songs, but she still wanted to go in the R&B direction. She spent three years recording and perfecting her first album to get the right sound.
10 Going Back To Brunette
As you can see in this selfie, Ariana slowly began to move away from the image that she had created on Victorious. However, she did not go down the route that some other child stars have! She definitely wanted to step into a more mature role, but she didn’t go crazy or have a full-on meltdown. Instead, she simply expanded her horizons and began to work on the projects that she had wanted to pursue all along. Her first album, called Yours, Truly, was released in August 2013. Her album debuted at the top of the US Billboard charts, which was a very exciting moment for her. She is also credited as a songwriter for several tracks on Yours, Truly. A few of her singles from this album, like “The Way” featuring Mac Miller, “Baby, I,” and “Right There,” featuring Big Sean became huge hits on the radio. Overall, the album was a success.
9 The High Ponytail Makes Its First Appearance
From the beginning, Ariana Grande has been known for her unique style. She is not just a pop star—at this point, she is also a fashion icon! Let’s face it, she has started so many big trends today, and half the girls on Instagram are basically copying her outfits. But we can’t blame them, she has such an amazing sense of style. Who wouldn’t want to look like Ariana? One of her signature hairstyles is the high ponytail. No, the high ponytail is not just for cheerleaders anymore. Ariana manages to make this hairstyle look classy, sophisticated, and flirty every time she wears it. Here, she is definitely looking more mature than she did while shooting Victorious! She started looking more grown up and went back to her natural brown hair color. She was making the transition from bubbly young actress to a singer who would be taken seriously.
8 Greeting The Crowd Like A Pro
In this photo, you can see just how comfortable Ariana is with her fans! She is smiling wide, and it is obvious just how happy she is. Even surrounded by people who want photos with her, she keeps it cool and stays calm. She is clearly used to the cameras and the attention—with all eyes on her, she doesn’t even break a sweat. She was just born to be famous. As we said earlier, Ariana definitely has that “star power” factor. It’s not something that you can fake—some people have it, and some people don’t. Ariana really allows her star power to shine through in everything that she does, and this photo is just one example. As always, she’s rocking her favorite hairstyle, the high ponytail. Her dark berry lipstick shade is on point, and we love her classic little black dress and silver jewelry.
7 Hitting Up Hollywood Parties
Like any other star living in Los Angeles, Ariana definitely goes out partying sometimes! In this photo, she was reportedly leaving Niall Horan of One Direction’s party. Um, we’re a little bit jealous—we want to party with Niall. Who wouldn’t? Just one of the perks of being famous. However, it’s worth noting that you won’t find many paparazzi photos of Ariana leaving wild parties or walking out of a club as the sun comes up. She does like to have fun, but she is not a party animal. She has said in many interviews that she is basically a workaholic. When she tours, she performs two hour shows each night, and she spends many hours rehearsing everything until it looks absolutely perfect. She says that she is obsessive about getting every single detail exactly right, and with a work ethic like that, she does not have time to be out partying!
6 Kicking Off The Cat Ear Trend
Remember how we mentioned earlier that Ariana has basically become a style icon for millions of young girls? Well, one of her signature accessories besides her famous high ponytail is a pair of cat ears! Yup, Ariana has worn cat ears hundreds of times while performing. They are definitely one of her favorite ways to accessorize for a show. However, she does not just wear them while performing, as you can see in this photo! She was on her way to film an interview when this photo was taken, and she was still rocking the cat ears. She is also known for her love of short skirts—no matter what the weather is like! As you can see in this photo, she is holding a giant fluffy coat. Do famous pop stars have some secret superpower that keeps them from freezing when they dress like this in the winter?
5 She's Bringing Camo Back
So many people look ridiculous in camouflage, but not Ariana! Ariana is a master at taking an accessory or a pattern that no one else would touch and turned it into a serious fashion statement that everyone copied by next week. At this point, you can see that Ariana has really come into her own and matured. The paparazzi taking photos of her don’t even bother her—she just throws them a peace sign and goes on with her day! And it’s no wonder she was walking around Hollywood like she owned the place, paying the onlookers no mind—she had already released a second solo album, My Everything, that earned rave reviews and gave her certified superstar status. She collaborated with a ton of other big names, like Iggy Azalea for the hit single “Problem,” and stepped out of her comfort zone into a whole new sound.
4 Most Popular Baddie On Instagram
We mentioned earlier how Ariana is a huge trendsetter. If she wears something and posts it on Instagram, you can bet that every single influencer will be wearing it next week, and it will be all over your feed and explore page. Ariana has one of the most followed accounts on Instagram, so really, she is the ultimate influencer (aside from Kylie Jenner, of course—we’ve got to give her credit there). Ariana basically made the “Insta baddie” style super popular. The oversized clothes, the shiny hair, thick makeup, sultry pout, and menswear pieces have been big hits and they were all trends that Ariana hopped on first. Here, you can see a perfect example of that look. Ariana loves shiny, puffy jackets, she’s got her black baseball cap on, her hair is so shiny you could almost see your reflection in it, and her pink lipstick contrasts nicely with her black eyeliner. That’s the style these days!
3 Showing Off A Little Leg
Whoa, Ariana definitely looks very grown up here. She has certainly proven that she is a force to be reckoned with—no one is messing with her in this outfit! This outfit shows a side of Ariana that the public does not see very often. She still looks flirty and cute—she is showing off her legs, and naturally, she has her high ponytail—but this look is more adult and sophisticated. If you put a crown on her head, she would look like a queen. Ariana has said that many people just see her as fun and bubbly, and think of her as nothing more than “adorable.” But she says that these people are not getting the full picture. She says that she is extremely goal oriented and driven, and there is so much more to her than meets the eye. This photo shows both sides of Ariana’s personality.
2 Grown Up And Glamorous
We’re loving this selfie from last summer that Ariana posted on Instagram. If you don’t already follow her on Insta, you need to go click that button now, because you’re missing out. But back to this selfie—doesn’t Ariana just look so glamorous here? She’s killing it! By the time she posted this photo, Ariana had released her third studio album, Dangerous Woman, which absolutely rocked the charts. The single, "Dangerous Woman," was a huge hit that really showed off Ariana’s vocal chops. Most importantly, this record proved that Ariana was not just trying to be the next Mariah Carey. Nope, she was going to be the first Ariana Grande, and she was out to show everyone just how good she really is. This album also included a few underrated singles like the song “Into You,” and her massive single with none other than Nicki Minaj called “Side to Side.”
1 Giving Manchester All Her Love
During Ariana’s concert in Manchester, England in summer 2017, a tragic event occurred. A terrorist group orchestrated an attack at the end of the concert, and several of Ariana’s fans lost their lives as they were trying to leave. Ariana was absolutely heartbroken after this occurred. She did everything in her power to make it up to the people who attended, and to show the world that peace and love could win over hate. She held a huge unity concert in Manchester afterward, which featured several other famous musicians like Miley Cyrus and Coldplay. She also visited all of the victims in the hospital and raised a massive amount of money to help cover their expenses. This was a horrible event, but Ariana handled it with as much class and grace as a human being possibly could. She showed that she was not only a great singer but a compassionate person.