8 Things You May Not Know About Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande is one of the biggest pop stars of the summer, having seemingly exploded overnight after landing a No. 1 single with Iggy Azalea and performing at almost every awards show that has happened since. Here are some things you might not know about the tiny pop star with the big voice that people are calling “mini-Mariah.”

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1. She has a background in theater

Grande’s career as an entertainer began when she was attending prep school in her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida. She began performing at the age of 8, playing Annie in her community theater, and performed any chance she could at sporting events and in school groups. She says that by age 13, she was ready to take performing seriously, though she was still concentrating on theater at the time. Her work in her community theater had prepared her to audition for 13 on Broadway, and landing a role in that production led to her being discovered by Nickelodeon.

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2. She got her start on Nickelodeon, not Disney

While a whole slew of pop stars in recent memory got their start as young entertainers on various Disney ventures — Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and, more recently, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, among many, many others — Grande rose to fame on the Nickelodeon show Victorious, playing the ditzy, weird redhead Cat Valentine. Her character was popular enough to land a spinoff with iCarly actress Jennette McCury called Sam & Cat that only ran for one season before getting cancelled amid rumors about backstage drama. That cancellation happened just as Grande’s music career began to take off. Sam & Cat being cancelled was possibly the best thing that could’ve happened for Grande’s career, though she’s reluctant to talk about what exactly went down and says she wanted to continue with the series.