Ariana Grande Slams Sexist Double Standards: Women Deserve the Same 'Awe and Admiration' as Men When They Show Skin
The singer dished on double standards in the music industry, her relationship status and new album Dangerous Woman
In six years, Ariana Grande has gone from Nickelodeon darling to one of the most powerful new voices in pop music.
Her immaculate, R&B-tinged third album, Dangerous Woman (due Friday), gives listeners a look into her life now. And in Billboard‘s revealing new cover story, Grande opened up about her thoughts on feminism, her current relationship status and what she thinks about celebrity beef between chart-toppers like Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj.
Here are five of the most fun revelations from Billboard‘s sit-down.
And the “My Heart Will Go On” singer isn’t the only high-profile admirer. After Grande did double duty on SNL earlier this year, both hosting and performing, Steven Spielberg texted Lorne Michaels to tell him how impressed he was with the ingénue.
“I can’t tell you how surreal and insane that is for me,” Grande told the trade mag. “My second birthday party was Jaws-themed. My brain almost combusted when I heard it from Lorne.”
2. She’s “Happy” in her relationship with boyfriend Ricky Alvarez – and he inspired a song on Dangerous Woman.
While she didn’t confirm her relationship status with backup dancer Ricky Alvarez, when asked, she said, “We’re happy. I’m a very happy girl. I have a healthy life right now, and I think that’s all anyone cares to know. The end.”
While Grande was mum on specifics, her longtime friend and writing partner Victoria Monet was a little more forthcoming, telling the glossy that album opener “Moonlight” was inspired by the reported beau.
“I think it was after their first kiss,” she said. “He waited to kiss her for a long time, and she was really impressed. He’s such a gentleman, and the song is a great little bookmark of the start of their relationship.”
For more on Ariana Grande’s new album, Dangerous Woman, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
3. She calls her dominatrix alter-ego, Super Bunny, is her ”patronus.”
Since she began promoting Dangerous Woman, Grande began sporting a dominatrix-inspired black latex bunny get-up – dubbed “Super Bunny” – which graces the album cover.
A Harry Potter fan, Grande calls the alter-ego “my patronus” and “my superhero, or super villain, whatever I’m feeling on the day,” adding: “Whenever I doubt myself or question choices I know in my gut are right – because other people are telling me other things – I’m like, ‘What would that bad bitch Super Bunny do?’ She helps me call the shots.”
4. She’s fed up with and will call out the double-standards put on women – and will show as much skin as she wants, thank you very much.
Citing tweets from a U.K. radio station that praise Justin Bieber and Zayn Malik for shirtless photo shoots but shaming Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian, Grande said, “If you’re going to rave about how sexy a male artist looks with his shirt off, and a woman decides to get in her panties or show her boobies for a photo shoot, she needs to be treated with the same awe and admiration.
“I will say it until I’m an old-ass lady with my tits out at Whole Foods. I’ll be in the produce aisle, naked at 95, with a sensible ponytail, one strand of hair left on my head and a Chanel bow. Mark my words. See you there with my 95 dogs.”
5. She has no interest in getting involved in Twitter beef with her chart-topping peers.
When asked about Taylor Swift’s VMAs nominations-fueled exchange with Dangerous Woman collaborator Minaj, Grande said: “If people are fighting, I stay as far away as possible. I’ve said this a million times: I hate drama. I love women in the industry. I’m a big fan of all my peers, and I try to keep it at a hundred. That’s why I don’t look at anything. I’m like, ‘My song’s out!’ Then I run for the hills. ‘Here’s another picture of my dogs! Bye!'”
“I’m conflicted. It’s a serious thing to joke about, but at the same time, a lot of artists use humor in their music. I mean, yes, it’s hard to listen to. But I’m obsessed with Kanye’s album. I’m obsessed with Taylor’s album. There are some cringe-worthy topics on his, but it’s part of Kanye. He’s a fantastic artist.”