Getty Images / Kevin Mazur

Ariana Grande is the second most followed person on Instagram. In February, she had the number-one, number-two, and number-three songs in the US. The 26-year-old endured the death of her collaborator and ex-boyfriend, the late Mac Miller, as well the breakoff of her engagement with Pete Davidson in an excruciatingly public way.

She sat down with Vogue’s Rob Haskell to talk about making music after a suicide bomber has detonated a bomb at her concert in 2017, leaving 22 others dead. She also opened up about her childhood, making music with Pharrell, and what fame means to her.

Read through the best quotes from the story below.

On Mac Miller…

“By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, fuck. He was the best person ever, and he didn’t deserve the demons he had. I was the glue for such a long time, and I found myself becoming . . . less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away.”

On making music after his death…

“if I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life because I was (a) so drunk and (b) so sad. I don’t really remember how it started or how it finished, or how all of a sudden there were 10 songs on the board.”

On *that* tweet…

“People don’t see any of the real stuff that happens, so they are loud about what they think happened. They didn’t see the years of work and fighting and trying, or the love and exhaustion.”

On discussing the last two years…

“I’ve been open in my art and open in my DMs and my conversations with my fans directly, and I want to be there for them, so I share things that I think they’ll find comfort in knowing that I go through as well.” “I have to be the luckiest girl in the world, and the unluckiest, for sure.”

On the Manchester bombing…

“It’s not my trauma, it’s those families’. It’s their losses, and so it’s hard to just let it all out without thinking about them reading this and reopening the memory for them.” She added “I have a lot that I still need to process myself and will probably never be ready to talk about.”

On her on-stage persona…

“I’m a person who’s been through a lot and doesn’t know what to say about any of it to myself, let alone the world. I see myself onstage as this perfectly polished, great-at-my-job entertainer, and then in situations like this I’m just this little basket-case puddle of figuring it out.”

On family…

“My family is eccentric and weird and loud and Italian…My mom is goth. Her whole wardrobe is modeled after Cersei Lannister’s. I’m not kidding. I’m like, ‘Mom, why are you wearing epaulets? It’s Thanksgiving.’”

On critiques of her style…

“I like having my funny character that I play…that feels like this exaggerated version of myself. It protects me. But also I love disrupting it for the sake of my fans and making clear that I’m a person—because that’s something I enjoy fighting for.”

On fame…

“If drag queens can dress up as me, then I’m a character. Go to your local drag bar, and you’ll see it. That’s, like, the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s better than winning a Grammy.”

On making the music she wants…

“There was a two-album period where I was doing half the songs for me and half the songs to solidify my spot in pop music.” “A lot of my singles have been hilariously lacking in substance. You’re talking to someone who put ‘Side to Side’ out as a single. I love that song, but it’s just a fun song about sex.”

On working with Pharrell…

“He truly believes that the light is coming. And I’m like, Bruh, is it, though?”

Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.

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