- Ariana DeBose is an acclaimed Oscar-winning actress.
- She’s an iconic ‘triple threat’ on Broadway.
- Ariana has been tapped to host the 2023 Tony Awards.
Ariana DeBose rocketed to superstardom after the release of West Side Story and a starring role in Hamilton. After stealing the show in the 2021 musical film adaptation, the 32-year-old triple threat is now set to host the legendary Tony Awards this year, on June 11, 2023, in New York. The producers of the show made the announcement on April 12, and Ariana is thrilled to accept.
“I was honored to serve as host last year and even more so to be asked back,” she said in a statement obtained by Deadline. “So looking forward to celebrating this incredible season and the people who make the work happen. Here’s to adding some uptown flavor to the magic of the Tony Awards.”
Ariana already proved her singing, dancing and acting chops with West Side Story, and prior to that she dazzled in Netflix’s The Prom. She’s even a Tony nominee for her outstanding work in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. From her Broadway history to her personal life, here’s what you should know about Ariana.
1. Ariana DeBose is an Oscar winner.
Ariana triumphed at the 2022 Oscars for her role as Anita in West Side Story, taking home a historic Best Supporting Actress trophy. “Now you see why Anita says, ‘I want to be in America,’ because, even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true, and that’s really a heartening right now,” she said in her acceptance speech, adding that her predecessor Rita Moreno was “the divine inspiration” for the performance. It’s worth noting that Rita played the same role in 1961 and took home the same award at the 1962 Academy Awards.
The honor was a milestone with serious significance — Ariana became the first openly queer woman of color to snag the coveted award. GLAAD’s president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis released a statement at the time on the historic win.
“Ariana DeBose is an immensely talented actress and a tremendous advocate for LGBTQ people and people of color,” Sarah Kate stated. “She not only made history tonight as the first queer woman of color to win an Oscar, but she sent a beautiful and timely message to LGBTQ young people. I hope LGBTQ youth around the world saw her win, heard her speak and recognize that they too should dream big.”
2. Her Partner’s Name Is Sue Makkoo.
After her big Oscar win, Ariana was seen glowing and holding hands with her partner Sue Makkoo, 52, at the Vanity Fair Oscar afterparty. The Broadway costume designer and actress met while working on Summer: The Donna Summer Musical back in 2018, so they’ve been together for nearly five years.
3. Ariana DeBose was in ‘Hamilton.’
The gorgeous actress played a “secret” role in Hamilton, which has been widely discussed. Though she didn’t have all that many lines, her pivotal character “The Bullet” was an object of fascination back in 2021. “I sort of connected the dots for myself when it came to portraying The Bullet. I don’t really even think our creators knew what I was doing when I was doing it,” she told Yahoo Entertainment UK in 2021.
Ariana added that she thought it was “cool” that so many people seemed to be enamored with the small role. “I just viewed it as this thing that could really take on a life of its own,” she told the outlet. “I think at the time I was performing the show, it wasn’t delineated as a role in the playbill. I was just playing Woman 3. But it has been really cool to see how many people really took to it when the film came out on Disney+.
I am honored that people saw it, have enjoyed it and little easter eggs like that keep people coming back to it time after time after time. It tickles me to know I’m even a little part of that.”
4. Her mother is an 8th grade teacher.
Ariana’s mother, Gina DeBose, is an eight grade teacher. Though the actress has never revealed the identity of her father, she has shared that he is Puerto Rican, while her mother is white. Ariana once shared a heartwarming memory of her mother visiting the set of West Side Story and meeting director Steven Spielberg. “My mother got to visit, and she met Señor Spielberg,” she told PEOPLE in 2022. “And watching Gina become speechless was amazing. Love you, Mom.”
5. Ariana DeBose went viral with Angela Bassett rap.
Ariana went viral on Twitter with a rap performance at the 76th British Academy Film Awards on February 19, 2023. The energetic ditty celebrated the female nominees at the event, and one line in particular gained traction as a pop culture moment — “Angela Bassett did the thing.”
Ariana seemed bemused by the whole thing, taking to Instagram on Feb 25 to share her thoughts. “The internet is wild y’all!” she captioned a collection of videos and pics from the performance and the resulting hoopla. “Appreciate all the love.”