What Is Ariana Grande’s Nationality?
Ariana Grande is definitely one of a kind. From her signature high ponytail to her dramatic dating history to her complex family relationships, you’re not likely to mistake her for any other star.
In the same theme, “Grande” isn’t a common name, and some fans wonder where it comes from and what that means about her heritage.
It turns out that Grande’s name says a lot about her background, and it means a great deal to her.
Ariana Grande changed her name
Grande’s full name was originally Ariana Grande-Butera. Her hyphenated surname was a combination of her parent’s last names. At the beginning of her career, she dropped her father’s portion of the name, Butera.
It’s not clear if she did that because she was estranged from her dad for a while or just to simplify things. Grande doesn’t have a middle name, maybe because her parents decided three names was enough.
Her ancestors come from a single country
Grande was born in Florida, so she’s 100% American, but both sides of her family originally came from Italy.
The surname Grande comes from northern Italy, although it’s also found in Spain and Portugal. Grande is derived from the Italian name for “large” and it’s used as a nickname for someone who is large in size or reputation.
The name Butera hails from Sicily, in southern Italy, and it comes from the name of a town. Grande refers to herself as half Sicilian and half Abruzzese, both regions in the south of Italy.
Also, it turns out we may be mispronouncing Grande. Although the pronunciation we’re all used to is closer to the original Italian version, Grande says her late grandfather didn’t say it that way. Instead of saying Grahn-day, as you might order a medium-sized drink at a famous coffee chain, he said it Gran-dee.
His pronunciation is actually an Americanized form of the old Italian name, but Grande wishes she still used his version, simply because it reminds her of him.
She lives her heritage…except when she doesn’t
Being of Italian descent clearly plays out in Grande’s life in some ways, but not in others. She adores animals (she says her dog is the love of her life) so she eats a vegan diet. This limits the amount of Italian food she can have, but she still indulges occasionally.
That high, sleek ponytail is also hiding something she got from her Italian ancestors, a head full of natural curls. She doesn’t seem likely to set those curls free though, insisting that her signature hairstyle is the only way to cover all the damage she’s done to her hair.
Her close-knit family means a lot to her
Another way Grande stays true to her roots is how much she values being close to her family. Although she was estranged from her father for almost 20 years after her parents divorced, she chose to forgive him and restore the relationship. She was finally ready to accept how much of who she is comes from her father.
She also adores her grandparents and talks about them a lot. She calls her 94-year-old grandmother Marjorie “Nonna,” which is a classic Italian nickname for grandmothers. Nonna is an important figure in her life, and the two of them even got tattoos together in 2018.
Nonna’s husband Frank died in 2014 and Grande considers him an important influence in her life. Grande credits both grandparents with encouraging her talent.
Grande’s Italian ancestry is an integral part of who she is. It keeps her connected with her family, which is a source of strength for her. Even if she doesn’t always participate in everything her Italian forbears handed down, their legacy still lives on in her.