Quarantine is pushing us all to breaking point, and it looks like Ariana Grande may have reached hers on Wednesday night — at least, as far as TikTok is concerned. While the slide in question appears to be deleted from her Instagram Story, Cosmopolitan caught the singer calling out the people she believes poorly imitate her on TikTok for "degrading" the "entire value" of her art, and viral TikTok creator and Ariana Grande impersonator Paige Niemann says she's no longer a fan of the artist.
Celebrity impersonations are nothing new — Grande herself has done some — but especially on TikTok, creators have gained significant popularity for their resemblance and have even built their whole brands around impersonating them. For Grande, in particular, many prominent TikTok users make videos dressed up as her using audio from interviews and past TV work, like Victorious.
In the story, Grande shares a video posted by comedian and writer Jordan Firstman in which he calls out how memes can cheapen the value of their source material.
"What if we, like, we took a moment, like a small clip from a movie or a TV show. Something that like, an artist really poured their soul into, and it like, it just took them years to make," he says in the clip. "What if we took a moment from that, and we kind of like, recontextualised it—like, does that make sense? And we put a completely arbitrary meaning onto that thing that the artist loves so much? Kind of like, degrading its entire value."
That spoke to Grande, who, in the deleted Story, is said to have praised the video and felt it applied to those who impersonate her on TikTok.
"Omg can this please also double as your impression of the ponytail TikTok girls who think doing that Cat Valentine voice and that wearing winged eyeliner and a sweatshirt is doing a good impersonation of me...cause this really how it feels..." she reportedly wrote, adding "'Degrading its entire value' I screamed."
Fans have often speculated about Grande's feelings towards creators like Paige Niemann, who pretty much exclusively posts in Ariana Grande cosplay. Neumann told Entertainment Tonight that Grande has reached out to her with nothing but support.
“I was shocked. She's my idol so I was shaking a little bit,” she told the outlet. “She said, 'Let me know if you're ever going to my Sweetener Tour, we can grab a hug'...She wanted to let me know that I am beautiful in my own way and I said 'Thank you and thank you for being so kind to me.' And she said, 'I'm proud of you.'"
However, after Grande's recent Instagram Story, Niemann went live on Instagram and said her feelings about the artist had changed.
"I'm used to Ariana shading me," she said, adding, "Kind of why I'm not a fan of her anymore, honestly."
Reps for Grande did not immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment.