May 18, 2016


An Ode to Ariana Grande's Snapchat

Larry Busacca/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV
Larry Busacca/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV

In Ariana Grande’s music videos, you’ll find her writhing around seductively on a bed, cozying up to The Weeknd or Lil Wayne, wearing the finest lacy lingerie and latex mini skirts, glancing mutely at the camera and showing off her dimple as coyly as possible.

Subscribe to her Snapchat account, and you’ll get something different. You’ll get Ariana snuggling up with her seven dogs, wearing an oversized sweatshirt, laughing uncontrollably with her friends and cursing up a storm. With Snapchat, you get the so-called "uncensored," behind-the-scenes Ariana, who’s just like any other 22-year-old on the app, capturing little chunks of her life—even if it happens to be in between autograph signings and performances.

Over the years, a legend has haunted Grande. The legend states that she can only be viewed from the right side, that she has to be carried like a baby on photoshoots, that she’ll shut down a meet & greet if something doesn’t go her way. You’ve heard the rumors. When it comes to Ariana, there’s rarely a day where she isn’t called a diva. But as Nicki Minaj so eloquently put it in her gloriously righteous “pickle juice” speech, being a diva is just wanting control over your image, despite other producers and interviewers sweeping in with their own angles. On Snapchat, Grande is her own producer.

So it seems, Ariana shows what she wants (a lot of it—her Snap stories are many minutes long). Most of the time, she’s still fully glammed up, but instead of staring intensely into a camera lens like in her music videos, she’s trying out the puppy-dog filter with her friend Nev or taping her friends Brian and Scott face-swapping (which is hilarious because they’re twins) or filming one of them getting a pimple popped. You’ll laugh with her as she reads lofty, exaggerated headlines about her grandma becoming the queen of an awards show, merely for attending:

Most importantly, she breaks down a bit of the idea of “manufactured pop star” into the truth that’s she’s a musician focused on channeling her passion into her work. We don’t have to imagine what happens in the studio, because she straight-up shows us. 

She often leaks her own music on Snapchat, giving us clips of beats laid down with songwriter Victoria Monet. She takes photos of her studio set-up, which includes a booth made by her boyfriend. She plays with her mimu glove—a gadget that alters the effect of her voice, given to her by Imogen Heap—on one hand, while Snapping with her other hand. Fans know what everything looks like in her studio. They know who her crew is. They know what some of her music sounds like before anyone else in the world does.

Of course, she still keeps some things secret, but if you ever doubted her talent (I don’t know how you would, since even my mom is an Ariana convert now), she puts it on raw display. On Snapchat, you’ll immediately learn what you might not know from her carefully crafted public persona—that she loves five things: her pups, her music, her mom, her friends and laughing. 

So take in all those sexy, silky music videos with the hazy filter, but know that she’ll be on Snapchat a minute later, using a different filter: perhaps the one that takes her nose away, or the one that turns her into a lizard.