God Is a Woman: How Ari’s intimacy with her fans has boosted her popularity
This powerhouse of a woman confidently shone on the Broadway stage before she was old enough to vote and captured hearts with her lovable innocence in the Nickelodeon show Victorious at the age of 16. Since her appearance on national television, her success has skyrocketed, particularly in her musical career. As of 2019, four of her albums have ticked the “Platinum” box, and her fanbase supersedes 145 million. Her name:
Ariana is one of the most visible personas in pop-culture, and she shows no signs of taking a break in her career. It isn’t really Ariana’s mindblowing success that is surprising. I mean, her voice breaks glass with no autotune, and her stage presence somehow makes you feel like you are on cloud nine, walking away from an explosion, and safe in your mother’s arms—all at the same time.
What truly sparks the curiosity of critics, and often the general public, is how Ariana has been able to so suddenly gather an enormous following without having to bend over backwards like some of her pop-star counterparts (cue Nicki Minaj and Cardi B). The latter, it seems, have utterly committed to plastering their fake, “try-hard” personas all over the media and in their music videos.
Ariana has had her fair share of backlash for trying to be someone she isn’t (i.e. some people claim that her fake tan is an attempt to imitate other Black pop artists). However, she has committed to doing something many celebrities of her status are notorious for avoiding, and that is creating an intimate and reciprocal relationship with her fans.
Amidst her packed schedule, constant projects, meetings, interviews, and concerts, Ariana somehow manages to respond to thousands of messages, tweets, and comments from her committed and adoring followers. Ari is quite intentional about her responses to her fans and followers; she always finds a way to make the time for them. Not only does Ariana keep in touch with fans, she is extremely open about her personal life and struggles on social media. She pours out her heart to her followers on Twitter and Instagram, as well as in her music. She has made her followers feel like they are part of her artistic process. When asked how she is able to trust the world with the intimacies of her life, Ari simply states that "The thing that makes me feel okay with opening up and finally allowing myself to be vulnerable is that I know [my fans] feel the same feelings." In fact, not only has her honest relationship with her fans made her such a lovable persona, but it has allowed her to rely on her followers in times of need, struggle, and grief. When her ex-boyfriend and best friend Mac Miller died, and Ariana was pegged with being the Yoko Ono of his life, her fans were quick to defend her and support her argument that it is not a woman’s job to sacrifice her own happiness to stay in a toxic relationship. Likewise, when her Manchester concert was cut short by a suicide bombing in 2017, Ariana found solace in her millions of fans, who expressed their steadfast love and support without hesitation.
It seems that this trusting relationship has hit a new milestone. While the recent trend has been to demonize celebrities over their archaic or unintentional offensive statements (be it on social media or in their craft), when there seemed to be controversy around her plagiarism in the song “7 Rings,” instead of calling her out and cutting her out, her fans took to educating her and sympathising with her. This is most likely, again, because of her intimate and very human relationship with her followers, who see her as a fellow person with flaws, not as an enigmatic, glorified screen persona.
Ariana Grande has opened wide the doors to her life, bridging the gap between her tireless artistic pursuit and the millions of people eager to embrace it. We can only hope that other celebrities follow in her example.