Last week, Madame Tussauds London unveiled the latest victim in their real life House of Horrors.
Sorry, I mean they unveiled the latest celebrity to get a wax figure: Ariana Grande.
But, I have a question: what is Ariana’s ‘usual’. Is the version of herself she presents to the world the real her or just the version we’re most accustomed to?
We’re used to seeing Ariana with fake tan and over-lined lips. It can be easy to forget that she has worked to CREATE that persona; she has CHOSEN to ‘gangsta-fy herself.
Ariana has appropriated Black culture to created a bad girl, bad ass image that is far removed from her Caucasian roots and her early beginnings as a sweet school girl on a Nickelodeon show.
The change isn’t just visual, you can also hear it in her music. Her vocals went from Streisand-esque to more Mariah Carey, and her songs have become more ‘urban’ than ‘pop’.
It’s been slow and subtle transition. It’s one of those things that you notice but not consciously. Then someone highlights it and you wonder how you missed it.
Wax figure Ari looks like the younger, paler version of herself before she discovered weaves and started twerking on stage and dating rappers.
This isn’t the first time an artist has adopted aspected of Black culture to shed the squeaky clean image of their early years. Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, and more have emulated Black artists to create an edgier, more adult persona.
But it’s just that; a persona.
Madame Tussauds have stripped it all away and presented the public with a wax figure of the real Ariana Grande: singer, performer and white girl.