Who Is Ariana Grande? 'Thank U, Next' Video Nods To 'Mean Girls' And More
For the past week, Ariana Grande's Instagram account has been flooded with behind-the-scenes photos from the "thank u, next" video set. After the viral single went platinum, the singer took to social media to assure fans, "Don't worry... You're still getting a video."
A trailer later appeared, stylized as the "Who is Regina George?" scene from the 2004 teen comedy Mean Girls. However, instead of the students of North Shore High gossiping about queen bee Regina George, this time it's Ari. "Ariana Grande told me my hair looks sexy pushed back. She's not wrong," Jonathan Bennett, who plays Aaron Samuels in the movie, says. Troye Sivan later follows with, "I heard she's a lesbian now and dating some chick called Aubrey. It's f****** sick."
Now, the full, cameo-heavy video for "thank u, next" (directed by Hannah Lux Davis) has finally dropped. Grande poses as Regina George, and Mean Girls' infamous "Burn Book" — from which the single's artwork draws inspiration — makes an appearance, albeit with a slightly more positive spin. In addition to pulling from Mean Girls, the visual treatment pays homage to other early-2000s rom-coms 13 Going On 30, Legally Blonde and Bring It On.
Grande previously posted a selfie on Twitter with the caption "big time magazine editor," which is followed by Jenna Rink's beloved dollhouse, featured in 13 Going On 30. A retro orange MacBook and Elle Woods' dog Bruiser represent Legally Blonde, capped off by Jennifer Coolidge (a.k.a. Paulette) flawlessly performing her patented bend and snap in the salon. The East Compton Clovers, who include "thank u, next" co-writer Tayla Parx, square off against their Bring It On rival squad the Toros.
Amid all the movie associations, there's also a nod to Victorious, the Nickelodeon sitcom from which Grande got her start as a pop artist. Her former co-stars Elizabeth Gillies (Jade) and Matt Bennett (Robbie) both make appearances in "thank u, next."
The music video follows up the Nov. 27 premiere of Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman Diaries, directed by her friend and photographer Alfredo Flores. The four-part series documents Grande's 2017 Dangerous Woman Tour, which includes concert footage, the "One Love Manchester" show and the creation of her latest album, Sweetener. A new episode will be released every week on Grande's YouTube channel.
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