"This is about to be crazy," Ariana Grande tells her entourage when she learns what we have planned for our sit-down interview. "This is going to be pure comedy — I’m terrified!"
To celebrate the launch of the 23-year-old's latest fragrance, Sweet Like Candy — a scent she describes as "a younger, sweeter, more flirtatious version of the Ari fragrance" — we decided to take a look back at the singer in her younger days. We arrived at Ulta Beauty, the store that launched the scent exclusively, armed with 12 photos of Grande's most striking looks and asked her to comment on each. Which does she still love? Which does she hate? You'll find out ahead — along with a lot of discussion about that ever-present ponytail.
"I'm not sick of talking about it...I know it's a thing," Grande says when asked if she's hit peak pony-talk. Probe a little further and you'll learn that her signature style has become a blessing and a curse — which is why it made it into her latest release, "Jason's Song," with industry veteran Jason Robert Brown. The lyrics read: "You acted like you bought me at a bargain sale / You don't even care / You focused your frustration on a small detail / Blew it out of scale, like my ponytail."
"I remember sitting with Jason in my studio saying 'I love music so much, but I wish that's what people saw first and foremost,'" she told us. "Jason knows me as a singer, as a musician, as a person he cast on Broadway, so his response was, 'What the hell are you talking about?' And I was like, 'My ponytail!' He was like, 'Is that a thing?'" A "thing" it is, indeed, and calling it out is just one part of why the song is so special to her, she says.
In case you're wondering: Yes, she was wearing her go-to half-pony for our interview, the same one she's sporting in most of the shots that get published, but click through and you'll see in the star's evolution that's she's far from a one-hit wonder.
This story was originally published on September 29, 2016.