Dana Schwartz
October 17, 2017 05:45 PM

At first glance, there’s nothing suspicious about the cover image on Ariana Grande’s second studio album, My Everything. The singer, in her trademark high pony, sits sideways on a stool, one hand on a white pump and the other on her cheek. She looks relaxed — serene even. But is all as it seems?

Buzzfeed producer Jesse McLaren thought not. In a tweet, he challenged the idea that anyone could balance with both calves side by side on a stool and still manage to look, as Grande does, like a sexy, tiny swan.

Almost immediately, McLaren sprouted imitators and challengers:

Eventually, the “Dangerous Woman” herself took notice:

As a serious journalist, I knew it was my duty to figure out the truth. First, I put my hair in a ponytail (in science, you see, you have to account for external variables), secured a stool, and attempted to discover for myself whether Grande’s My Everything was fact or photoshop. (Unfortunately, I did not have the matching black lingerie crop top and hot pants or high heels at my disposal, mostly because this is my place of work.)

The most challenging part of the pose was getting on the stool itself. Your instincts tell you that both calves do not belong on a stool. But with “Focus” playing in my head, I pulled both legs up and tried to get as close to the Grande pose as possible.

VERDICT: Definitely possible. Without accounting for size of the stool, or false eyelashes (which I presume Grande wears for balance), I did manage fairly easily to get both legs on the stool. It wasn’t a relaxing pose: It felt more like holding a squat, or a wall sit. But if I can do it, a professional like Ariana Grande (whose two thighs are also approximately equivalent in size to one of my thighs) definitely can. The My Everything photo is almost certainly legit, and my video above is strong evidence.

Next on “Dana Tries Ariana Grande-Related Challenges”: Is it possible to keep that much hair in that tight of a ponytail all the time without getting a nonstop splitting headache?

UPDATE: Meme-creator Jesse McLaren has weighed in and deemed my scientific method faulty. In my defense, see the above note re: the differences in thigh size between me and Ariana Grande. I maintain that had I lifted my front leg higher, I would have been able to create the illusion of blank stool below.

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