Top 10 Reasons You Should Know Who Ariana DeBose Is



Top 10 Reasons You Should Know Who Ariana DeBose Is

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
Ariana DeBose is a name that we'll soon all know. For this list, we'll be looking at reasons that this star of stage and screen should be on your radar if somehow she isn't yet. Our countdown includes She's Hosting “SNL,” she's an LGBTQ+ icon, she's all about inclusivity, and more!

Top 10 Reasons You Should Know Who Ariana DeBose Is

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons You Should Know Who Ariana DeBose Is

For this list, we’ll be looking at reasons that this star of stage and screen should be on your radar if somehow she isn’t yet.

What role would you love to see Ariana take on next? Let us know in the comments.

#10: She’s Hosting “SNL”
“Saturday Night Live” (1975-)

Nothing said, “Happy New Year” to theater fans quite like the news that Ariana would be hosting the first “SNL” of 2022. Of course, the actress is no stranger to Lorne Michaels’ world, having recently worked with him on the musical comedy “Schmigadoon!” Also reuniting with her co-star Cecily Strong, perhaps we’ll even see a sketch inspired by the show. The theater world exploded with delight at the announcement and with good reason. DeBose is a phenomenally talented triple threat and, can’t wait to see her take on the sketch-comedy world too. We’re thrilled that “SNL” will introduce her to an even wider audience.

#9: She Competed on “So You Think You Can Dance”
“So You Think You Can Dance” (2005-)

Only the most diehard fans might remember that Ariana made her TV debut in season six of this dancing competition. Aged just 18 at the time, she made it to the top 20 before getting eliminated. Her Contemporary and Hip-Hop routines, though amazing, weren’t enough to keep her in the competition. We imagine that it was heartbreaking to be the first contestant eliminated. But she says that the experience lit a fire under her that led to the amazing career she has today. Indeed with stage and screen credits not to mention her own MsMojo video now too, no one’s doubting her talent anymore.

#8: She Plays Forward-Thinking School Teacher, Emma Tate
“Schmigadoon!” (2021-)

“Schmigadoon!” was hailed for the way it addressed outdated golden-age musical tropes and flipped them upside down. And DeBose’s character is a fine example. She plays a progressive school teacher who often pushes back at her town’s conservative principles. Based on Marian Paroo from “The Music Man,” Emma embodies many of the qualities that women in old-timey musicals typically lacked. Her number “All of Your Heart” is one of the standout moments of the season. DeBose’s voice is absolutely stunning and we could watch her tap dance all day. Her character’s story takes an interesting turn too, but you’re not getting any spoilers from us.

#7: She Speaks Out About Causes She Cares About

Her career may only just be gathering steam, but Ariana is determined to use her platform for good. She’s a strong advocate for female empowerment, LGBTQ+ rights, diverse representation, and equality for all. On-screen she chooses roles that give a spotlight to otherwise marginalized groups. Indeed, following her Golden Globe win she posted about the arduous journey of inclusivity and visibility in the industry. She also talks about the difficulties of being a woman in a male-dominated world. But she encourages every young girl and woman to make sure that their voice is heard. Ariana is the cheerleader you never even knew you needed.

#6: She Played Alyssa Greene
“The Prom” (2020)

Growing up, Ariana didn’t have any Queer Afro-Latina women to look up to. So, playing a romantic lead in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix adaptation of “The Prom,” was hardly an opportunity she could pass up. She stars as Alyssa, a closeted cheerleader who lives in constant fear of judgment. DeBose identified with her character due to a similar experience from her own school days. Seeing Emma and Alyssa finally able to dance together, was like a cathartic prom do-over. Ariana and, of course, Jo Ellen Pellman became the role models that they needed growing up. We can only imagine what this meant to the LGBTQ+ community.

#5: She’s an LGBTQ+ Icon

While we’re on the subject… DeBose is a huge champion of LGBTQ+ rights and representation. She understands the responsibility of leading a Queer love story and certainly doesn’t take it for granted. Following “The Prom,” she and her co-star Jo Ellen launched the “Unruly Hearts Initiative,” a charity in aid of at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. She’s also passionate about using education to help families be more understanding when a loved one comes out. On a personal level, she’s talked about how acknowledging her sexuality empowers her. Thanks to her dedication to the community, we’re sure that she’ll be a celebrated role model for generations to come.

#4: She’s a Tony Nominated Broadway Star

Before becoming a star of the silver screen, DeBose accumulated an impressive array of theater credits. We’ll get more into a notable one in just a moment, but her full resume is pretty impressive. She made her Broadway debut in “Bring It On: The Musical,” before going on to appear in shows like “Motown the Musical,” “Pippin,” “Hamilton,” and “A Bronx Tale the Musical.” In 2018, she earned a Tony nomination for playing Disco Donna, a role she originated in “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” She might not have won but it was her nomination that caught the attention of Steven Spielberg. But more on that later.

#3: She Originated The Role of the Bullet in “Hamilton”

Thanks to its Disney+ release in 2020, audiences could really hone in on the musical’s finer details. You might recall a lot of fanfare surrounding one ensemble member and their rather special role in particular. “The Bullet” played by DeBose is a genius emblem of foreshadowing that shouldn’t be overlooked. Even Ariana didn’t realize the significance of her role until the first day of rehearsals. With this newfound knowledge, we imagine that audiences went back and watched the entire show again but now with “The Bullet” as their main focus. Well, it was a great way for audiences to get acquainted with this brilliant performer.

#2: She’s All About Inclusivity

As an Afro-Latina Queer woman, Ariana understands the importance of visibility and inclusion. She hopes to use her platform to emulate a sense of community for her fans much like the one she found in the musical theater world. Movies like “The Prom” and “West Side Story” present audiences with this vision of the world as a more accepting place. This is a cause that DeBose cares for deeply and one that you will continuously see her fighting for. She looks out for her fans and ensures that no matter how they identify, there’s always a place where they belong.

#1: She Played the Iconic Role of Anita
“West Side Story” (2021)

There was a time, not that long ago when we couldn’t imagine anyone playing Anita other than the legendary Rita Moreno. But then again, we hadn’t seen Ariana’s fresh, updated and spirited reimagining of the iconic character. Presenting an Anita for the modern age, she left audiences totally floored by her performance. DeBose even had the OG’s blessing. In 2022 she deservedly won a Golden Globe and of course, there’s been plenty of Oscar buzz too. Moreno won an Oscar for playing Anita in 1962, making her the first Latina to win the coveted award. Imagine how incredible it would be if Ariana won the same award 60 years later.