As Ariana Grande turns 22 today, it’s amazing to look back at her career in the spotlight, which has taken her from a little-known teenage actress to one of the biggest pop stars in music today. Recently, she’s made an impact by stepping out as a symbol of female empowerment, and she’s also returning to TV on Scream Queens, the latest show from Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy.
Meanwhile, Grande also pursued her ambitions for a music career. She started with her debut album, Yours Truly, after the first season of Victorious was complete, and it was finally released in 2013. It was a hit, going gold on the strength of “The Way,” which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Ariana avoided the sophomore slump with her second album, My Everything. It was kicked off by the ubiquitous No. 2 Billboard Hot 100 single, “Problem,” featuring the highly controversial Iggy Azalea.
Grande also co-starred on the girl power anthem, “Bang Bang,” with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, which eventually climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and further cemented her status as a pop superstar.
If that wasn’t enough, the second single from My Everything, “Break Free,” was in the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 simultaneously with “Problem” and “Bang Bang,” making Grande the second female artist behind Adele to have three top-10 hits in the Hot 100.
Outside of her successful music career, Grande has made headlines for admitting she was a “dark and deranged” little girl, as well as her diva demands. There was also a rumor that she said she hoped her fans would “f*cking die,” which she tried to clear up with a series of tweets. And of course, there was the infamous report that she demanded to be carried around like a baby, but that’s just par for the course when you’re a pop star, right? Let’s be honest: Everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Justin Bieber, is (allegedly) guilty of much, much worse.