It’s hard to imagine someone who is both as wildly fierce and unwaveringly kind as Ariana! After recently opening with Hamilton (her fourth Broadway show!), Ariana is the quintessential Broadway star. I’m certain her momentum is only going to keep picking up as she paves her unique path for what she calls, “the new era of Broadway showgirls”. This girl is one to watch and has self-discovered all it takes to be FIT FOR BROADWAY!
BIO: hi! Ariana is my name, performing is my game & I love broadway:) I’m about curls, strawberries, and sunflowers all day everyday. I enjoy reading magazines and in another life I was probably a very scary lawyer, grrrrrr! I also used to call myself “an elegant hustler….” That phase has passed. Now I’m just a hustler.
Q: Congratulations on Hamilton opening!! 🙂 It looked magical! How has your lifestyle changed since starting your role in Hamilton?
A: THANK YOU!!! I’ve been with Hamilton for quite a while now, and I must say being in this particular show requires A lot of you as a person, not just as an artist. I spend roughly 3 hours per night doing cardio with the show. It’s very rare the ensemble leaves the stage and when we do it’s to get a drink of water or change shoes or a costume piece and get right back on stage. So in order to keep up with this demanding routine, I’ve had to make sure that I get 10 hours of sleep per night. I’ve also made what some might look at as sacrifices in my day-to-day schedule. For example, I go out less frequently and it’s very rare that I enjoy an adult beverage these days. I allow myself to have the occasional glass of wine, but I must say I do feel the effects of it immediately and I don’t sleep as soundly.
It’s also been interesting to see how my body has changed throughout my time with Hamilton. I’ve gotten much leaner which can be attributed to the cardio. After all, sometimes I do the show twice a day and it does have quite a long running time. But also, there’s a little matter of costuming. Hamilton is a hip-hop musical that is set in the late 1700s. My Basic look for the show consists of black riding boots, tight riding pants and a corset. As I said, that’s just my basic look. As the show progresses, I pile on top of that- a vest, stock, and something called a dickey in addition to bluecoat, red coat or a beautiful jacket all designed by the fabulous Paul Tazwell. Not only does it get hot when you’re running around portraying America’s history for an audience of 1327 every night, but for me personally, its causes a lovely bout of acid reflux. If you’re familiar with acid reflux disease, it can be caused by excessive exercise, tight clothing, spicy foods, coffee…all of which have been a part of my life since I began working on Hamilton back during the workshop. So not only has my body changed but the show has also caused me to take a very specific look at both what I eat and the timing at which I eat. You could definitely call me more of a snacker these days, Ha!
Q: I loved hearing about your epiphany when you realized college was not your path. Can you explain your journey to Broadway?
A: oh wow! So to make a long story short, I auditioned for SYTYCD6 my senior year of HS. Made the show- it was their only fall season. Spring of 2010, I started college at Western Carolina University in their Musical Theater program… And realized very quickly that I hated it. I was depressed (after just being voted off a popular TV show in front of 6 million peeps), starting losing weight, and was just overall miserable. So I stayed long enough to do their spring musical- A CHORUS LINE, and then left. Funnily enough I broke my ankle opening night of ACL, so I took it as a sign that I needed to go. Two weeks later my agent at the time got me an audition for ONE LIFE TO LIVE. They were doing some Glee inspired episodes and needed dancers. So I got myself to NYC, wrapped my busted ankle- put it in a Nike and booked the job. I’ve been here ever since! (Note I do not recommend dancing with broken limbs, but I was desperate! And thankfully it didn’t cause further injury.)
Q: If you could tell pre-Broadway Ariana one thing, what would it be?
A: I would probably tell pre-Broadway Ariana to chill out and trust the ride. The universe really is conspiring to help you! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be determined, passionate, competitive at times, or hungry; quite the opposite. It means everything happens in its own time when you’re ready for it.
Q: Food is fuel, amiright?! 🙂 Can we play, What I Ate Yesterday?
A: I Ate…
- Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, a side of bacon, fresh honeydew & peaches, and a green juice:)
- Lunch: A sweet potato & wild rice patty wrapped in slightly steamed collard greens with tomato, mayo and pickles. Organic ginger ale
- Dinner: an Energy Kick smoothie from juice generation with plant protein, coconut chia seed bar
- Snacks: Greek yogurt parfait with blueberries and flax seed, a banana with coconut water, a serving of raw almonds:)
- Misc: WATER WATER WATER!!!!
Q: Finish the phrases —
A: The best part of being on Broadway is… the people you meet:)
The biggest challenge about being on Broadway is… the politics. Yes even when it comes to making art there’s still politics.
Q: Top 3 health/fitness tips for performers
A: Top 3…
- Pilates is your friend
- Maintenance is key! Roll out, stretch, warm up, take Epsom salt baths!!! Treat yourself to a massage. Trust! That’s the only way to maintain longevity in this biz.
- Coconut water before a show or audition can help keep you hydrated for longer!
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: On a whole, I have to say that beautiful display of humanity inspire me. Whether it’s something I’ve observed walking on the street or an exchange I’ve had with a new or old friend, a display that I’ve seen on YouTube, or a beautiful portrait or photo that displays the vulnerability perseverance and grace of humanity. I believe that every person on this planet has a story to tell and if you’re willing to listen there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t be inspired every single day by someone new.
Of course there are individuals in my life who have inspired me. Those whose work I have followed since I began my career and have since become great mentors in my life in one way or another. My Broadway parents Terrence Mann & Charlotte Damboise. They helped to support me as a started my career and continue to be a source of Love and advice as my career goes on. Eric Sciotto (Something Rotten) found me when I was 15 and introduced me to the world of musical theater & has since been a great friend. If you think about it there really is only six degrees of separation within our community. I have been fortunate enough to navigate the network in such a way that has allowed me to meet many of those influential people that I loved watching for so long. Those encounters filled me with such admiration and inspiration because if they could do it, so could I.
Q: Quote to live by?
A: Love Wins! — seriously, tackle everything with love and you’ll be better for it.
Q: What is your advice for aspiring performers who want a career on Broadway?
A: Stay “young scrappy & hungry!” It’s important to remember that every experience has value. You may not get every job that you go out for. You may get 500 “No’s” before you get one “YES!” Just remember, every “YES” was meant for you, learn all that you can from experience. Also it’s very important to follow your heart and your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, listen. Be the best that you can be and things will fall into place; after all “The future comes one day at a time”-Dean Archeson
Q: What’s been your favorite Broadway moment to date?
A: My favorite Broadway moment to date has been opening Hamilton. Not just because it’s a musical that is making history but because it ushers in a new era of Broadway showgirls. Traditionally showgirls have been thought to have incredibly long legs, super skinny, and very very tall. The ensemble ladies probably consisted of caucasian women with one ethnic female amongst them. However, take a look of what makes up the Hamilton female ensemble. We are made up of four average height females with athletic builds. We are 2 Caucasian women and 2 ethnic women, all unique in our own way. Throughout the show we portray both feminine and masculine. I believe that the statement our show makes to the Broadway community is that to be strong is beautiful! And what a fabulous statement! When I first started auditioning in New York City, I thought that being thin would give me a leg up. In truth all that being exceptionally skinny did for me was make me tired and sick all the time. I’ve since learned that being fit, being healthy, and taking care of my body is one of the most important parts of my job as a performer.