Ariana Grande was born in Florida in Boca Raton, which sounds like a South American football club, or possibly a form of Latin or Caribbean dance music. All that aside, though, the question to which we are drawn here is simply this: is she vegan?
There are many celebrities who are vegan whilst there are many more that, whilst not 100% vegan, do not eat much (or any) meat and do a lot of work that helps animals, such as David Attenborough. But where does this particular star, whose hits include Problem, Bang Bang and No Tears Left To Cry, fit into the vegan picture?
2013: Grande Goes Vegan
Social media is widely criticized but there is no doubt that it brings stars, be they of music, film, sport or any other kind, closer to their fans. It also gives them a direct means of communication, allowing them to say exactly what they want to, whenever they want to. This means that, particularly with younger celebrities (Grande was born in 1993), we hear about their lives and lifestyles, loves and hates, in a completely unfiltered way, straight from the horse’s mouth (there isn’t a vegan replacement for this idiom but if you can think of one let us know!).
With this in mind, we know with absolute certainty that Ariana Grande decided to go vegan in November 2013. On the 5th of the month, she tweeted that “I’ve eaten organically since I was little and always kept meat minimal but today marks my first day as a 100% Vegan!!!! Joyous day” followed by a string of animal emojis and hearts!
I’ve eaten organically since I was little and always kept meat minimal but today marks my first day as a 100% Vegan!!!! Joyous day 🐣🐄💓🐟🐓💕☀️
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 5, 2013
Two years before that she had responded to a question (also on Twitter) about the issue saying “I’m not vegan but I don’t eat red meat!”.
Love for Animals
People have different approaches when it comes to how to become vegan but it seems that Grande, like many people, took a gradual approach. We don’t know what her motivations for going vegan were but she has in the past said “I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding”. As such, it is safe to assume that ethical concerns were at least part of her reasoning, though given the physical demands of performing she may also have been at least partly motivated by the health benefits of going vegan.
Health & Happiness
Indeed, around 13 months after going 100% vegan she gave an interview in the Mirror (that features the animal quote above). In the interview she explained, “I am a firm believer in eating a full plant-based, whole food diet that can expand your life length and make you an all-round happier person”. She also added that “It is tricky dining out, but I just stick to what I know – veggies, fruit and salad – then when I get home I’ll have something else.” Oh, Ari, no need to do that when there are so many amazing vegan restaurants out there!
In the same year as this interview, she told her fans not to visit SeaWorld having been deeply moved, as many of us were, by the superb documentary, Blackfish. A year later, in 2015, it was reported that her animal activism had increased, as she had several rescue dogs as pets. The issue of vegans and pets can be a tricky one but many vegans believe that looking after rescue animals in a loving home is the best option for existing animals and Grande has used her concerts and other platforms to promote animal adoption. More recently, in 2020, she even helped set up Orange Twins Rescue, a LA animal rescue centre.
All of this, plus various Tweets and interviews over the years, would appear to strongly suggest that the singer, so praised for her actions after the Manchester bombings at her concert, is a bona fide, fully paid up, animal-loving vegan. But, is she still vegan?
2018-2019: Non-Vegan Clothing & a Starbucks Deal
To cut to the chase, it now seems that Grande is not vegan. For all the vegan fans of hers, we’re sorry to break it to you and whilst, in truth, there is no conclusive proof, that is certainly the conclusion many have come to. Some fans/critics have actually suggested that Grande was no longer vegan back in 2018. However, having looked into this, we believe at this stage she was still following a plant-based lifestyle.
Animal Fur Coat?
There was something of a storm at the end of 2018 when she was pictured in what looked very much like a fur coat. However, as reported in Vogue at the time, it was actually a faux fur product and vegan friendly. Animal fur is not vegan and some vegans actually believe even fake products should be eschewed, however, in this instance anyone claiming that Grande had worn a fox fur was incorrect.
That is not to say that the coat, part of Israeli designer Maya Reik’s “I Am Furless” collection, was 100% vegan friendly. On Reik’s site, they talk about being PETA approved and 100% vegan but it is unclear whether that relates to a specific collection or their entire range. They do definitely sell some vegan products but Grande’s faux fur number was partially made with silk. Silk is not vegan but there are some animal- and cruelty-free alternatives which could have been used.
It is all rather confusing in truth and without going off on a rather big tangent investigating the precise manufacturing process of a coat a girl from Boca Raton wore in 2018, we can’t categorically say whether or not Grande wore a non-vegan coat on that occasion.
Interestingly in the picture used by Vogue, the singer is pictured “with a black box bag and—what else!—her signature vampy thigh-high boots, these by Sergio Rossi.” Her “signature” boots have seemingly very much gone under the radar but, as far as we can tell they may not be vegan. Designer Rossi does manufacture some vegan leather boots but it is unclear if these are the ones Grande wears.
There is no information about this readily available but some fashion sites have suggested the ones she wears are made from napa leather, which is absolutely not vegan. What’s more, the vast majority of the products made by Sergio Rossi are not vegan either.
Promotion of a Non-Vegan Starbucks Drink
Once again, this is all rather confusing and is making our heads hurt. Time for a coffee – make mine a Grande. But not a Starbucks Cloud Macchiato. Aside from the fact that Starbucks is often considered to be unethical and we can get a far better coffee for the same price from our independent and far more pleasant coffee shop, the Cloud Macchiato contains egg white and, believe it or not, eggs are not vegan! It is also made with dairy-based caramel.
This fact was rather confusing to Grande fans who believed their favourite pop songstress was vegan but then saw her promoting the drink and, seemingly at least, consuming it. In March 2019, she helped launch the beverage and she tweeted that her fans should give the soy version of the drink a go. However, Starbucks themselves were forced to explain that there was “no vegan equivalent to the Cloud Macchiato”.
While there is no vegan equivalent to the Cloud Macchiato, you could try an Iced Soy Latte with Soy Cold Foam and Caramel Syrup or our Iced Coconutmilk Mocha Macchiato!
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) March 10, 2019
Even with soy milk, it would still need to be made with other non-vegan ingredients and so understandably many who believed Grande to be vegan questioned why she would be promoting the drink. The answer probably starts with “D” and rhymes with “hollers”.
Has Ariana Grande Said Whether She Is Still Vegan?
Some took Ari’s endorsement of a non-vegan drink to be confirmation that she was no longer vegan. Others argued that it was simply a commercial deal and/or that she hadn’t realised the drink was not available in a vegan form. There can be no denying that endorsing a non-vegan product is not a great look for a vegan celebrity. However, it does not automatically mean someone is no longer vegan.
As we said, in modern times, social media gives stars a direct way of communicating to their fans and there are some vegans who feel Grande is being a little disingenuous. They argue that whilst she was quick to announce her veganism to the world, she has been far less forthcoming about her current status. Now, it may be the case that she is still vegan and doesn’t feel the need to keep telling people. Or, as some of her critics suggest, it may be that she doesn’t want to upset any vegan fans and so is simply keeping quiet on the matter.
Another sliver of “evidence” that she isn’t vegan has been found in the full-length video for her 2021 single 34+35. In the post-credits outro, she orders a Baked Alaska dessert. It is probably a push to suggest that a music video constitutes “evidence”, let alone evidence, but eagle-eyed (and eared) fans were quick to note that this dessert is hardly a vegan pick, being ice-cream coated in egg-based meringue! Fans were, however, perfectly happy to accept that Grande was some form of cyborg in the video.
Does It Matter If Ariana Grande Is Vegan?
Ultimately, it seems we cannot be 100% sure whether Grande is 100% vegan but we can be 100% certain that it doesn’t really matter either way. Obviously, the promoting of a non-vegan Starbucks drink is problematic, not least because it was reported that some vegans accidentally consumed one believing it to be vegan. However, in general, whether or not Ari is vegan, vegan-ish, or follows a plant-based diet but wears some clothes that are not vegan does not really matter.
Some hardcore fans will want to know because they simply want to know, whilst equally some level five vegans may feel she should be clearer about her position due to her power as a role model. The hardest of the hardcore may only choose to listen to vegan musicians but that would be taking things to a whole new level in our opinion, even further than those who only date vegans!
Ultimately, as with many of the celebrities that we have looked at who might or might not be vegan, or are confirmed as non-vegan animal activists, Ariana Grande certainly does more good than harm in the fight for a better and fairer world for animals. As well as her animal rescue centre and general activism, she will have certainly opened the minds of lots of fans to the possibility of being vegan. So, vegan or not, we say well done, Ari… but maybe think about ditching Starbucks!