Ariana Grande Breaks Down Her Most 'Iconic' Music Videos

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Alexandra Lozovschi

Ariana Grande fans got the scoop on some of her most popular music videos in a recent interview with Allure. Breaking down "iconic" scenes from hit songs off of several albums, including 2014's My Everything, 2016's Dangerous Woman, 2018's Sweetner and Thank U, Next, and 2020's Positions, the 28-year-old pop star gave a shout out to everyone she's worked with on the clips, while also spilling spicy details about the videos' concepts, glam, and wardrobe.

Details below.

'Problem'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

Back in May 2014, Ariana was releasing the music video for "Problem" off of the My Everything album. Featuring Iggy Azalea, the clip directed by The Young Astronauts, who had collaborated on Ariana's "Right There" and "Almost Is Never Enough" the previous year, has since scored over 1.3 billion views on YouTube.

Discussing the clip with Allure earlier in September, Ariana said: "I really love the '60s. I've always loved that era for glamour, for wardrobe, for aesthetic, film, choreography, everything."

The pop star revealed that the famous dancing scene in the video was inspired by the 1969 musical Sweet Charity, noting the costumes they used -- including her glittering little black dress, pictured above -- we "almost identical" to the movie.

"I love that era, so we had a lot of fun dipping a toe in here -- and then I never kinda dipped any toes out for the rest of my life," joked Ariana, adding that she loved Iggy's glam and hairstyle in the vid.

For a trip down memory lane, hit "play" on the music video below.

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'Break Free'

Ariana followed that up with "Break Free" in August that year, another huge hit with over 1.1 billion views on YouTube. Directed by Chris Marrs Piliero, known for Britney Spears' "I Wanna Go" and "Criminal," this was one of Ariana's "favorite" videos.

"I had the time of my life shooting this video," she said, giving props to celebrity makeup artist Kristopher Buckle, hairstylist Dalina Rebollo, and stylist Johnny Wujek for creating her looks for the clip. "It was a beautiful, fun video."

Diving into the concept, Ariana explained she's "always loved vintage interpretations of space and what the future looks like, but in the '50s or '60s."

Confessing her admiration for Barbarella, whom she says she continues to channel "as much as possible," the singer and actress described "a really cool deleted scene" where she and the team "recreated the who shot first scene" from Harrison Ford's 1977 Star Wars movie.

"My rocket titties made their debut here. I use them all the time personally, but they publicly made their debut in this video as well," Ariana hilariously added. "They're very useful though."

Check out the music vid below.

'Love Me Harder'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

When "Love Me Harder" came out later that same year, Ariana got the chance to work with director Hannah Lux Davis, who went on to direct a number of music videos for the artist. The song also marked Ariana's first collaboration with The Weeknd, which she described as "really fun."

Discussing the video concept, Ariana admitted it "didn't feel very personal to me, as I'm sitting in an old chair in some sand, and I end up in water for some reason." She also addressed the outfit she wore on camera, saying she was "dressed as some sort of whorish kitten."

"I love the look in it," Ariana assured, disclosing how she "really fought Hannah for the kitty ears."

"I'm really glad that I did though, 'cause I really like them. I think it would have felt almost too serious without the ears for me," she said, noting that, for the most part, she "kinda gave up the reins here and was just kind of like, go for it."

Revisit Ariana's look in the music video below.

'Side to Side'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

Another iconic collaboration with a fellow singer came in 2016 when Ariana recorded "Side to Side" with Nicki Minaj. The music video was also directed by Hannah, with Ariana giving a comical account of how the concept was born.

"I remember I was on the treadmill thinking and listening to my playlist of what was becoming the Dangerous Woman album. And I got to 'Side to Side' and I, like, why does this feel so fun to listen to on the treadmill? And I FaceTimed Hannah, and I said, we should be on SoulCycle bikes. And she was like, '[gasps], I'll call you back.'"

Watch the music video below!

'No Tears Left to Cry'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

Ariana's Sweetner album came with a completely different vibe, which was particularly evident in the "No Tears Left to Cry" music video. Premiering in April 2018, the vid was the work of famed director Dave Meyers, with whom Ariana continued to collaborate throughout her career.

Detailing the sheer amount of preparation that went into the clip, Ariana shared that the rotating set built for the first scene "took so long to get used to."

"I pitched David this idea of sort of multiple fields of gravity because of a game I was playing at the time called 'Monument Valley' on my phone. I told him how much I love Escher's stairs and stuff like that. And we sort of mushed everything together," she said, explaining this video served as the "centerpiece for the Sweetner album and era."

Delving further into the idea, Ariana described the album as a "play on being upside down and not knowing what is right and what is up."

"Because also personally, in my life at the time, I was sort of upside down and not knowing where the ground was and not feeling very grounded or okay," she shared. "I felt like that was a really nice, cool way to visually represent what I was feeling during those moments."

Give the video a watch below.

'God Is a Woman'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

Ariana collaborated again with Dave for "God Is a Woman," which premiered in July 2018. Designing her looks was glam team Ash & Josh and Hollywood stylist Mimi Cuttrell, whose portfolio includes magazine covers and red carpet look for Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Priyanka Chopra, Sara Sampaio, and Georgia Fowler.

"This one was so much fun because obviously there are so many beautiful ways to express femininity and what it is to be a woman," said Ariana. "And there's [sic] so many things to lean into as far as paying homage to art that already exists and also creating our own."

Among other things, the pop star revealed that one of her "favorite moments" was the scene where she's "fingering the Earth."

"Loved that a lot," she said, adding: "I also loved recreating the Michelangelo moment at the end because I was able to tease that we were putting that in this video at the Met Gala when I worked with Vera wang on my dress."

Another scene she spoke passionately about was the "watercolor p*ssy that I'm swimming in, in the beginning," sharing that the artwork in the water, as well as on her cheek, hair, and body was made by Alexa Meade.

"That is not random paint, it's not a pool. That's p*ssy for sure," she said.

Watch the music video below!

'thank u, next'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

For the "thank u, next" music video, Ariana teamed up with Hannah once again to recreate all of her favorite scenes from all of her favorite movies.

"Nobody is more right to do this with than Hannah. She turned something that felt so torrential at the time in my life into something that felt fun and light, at least while we were doing it," Ariana gushed over the director. "And what I got to share with the world felt bright and beautiful."

Dishing that the duo was actually filming "Breathin'" off of Sweetner when they came up with the video concept for "thank u, next," Ariana said she got a kick out of playing Regina Gorge and Elle Woods.

The superstar continued: "Playing Jenna Rink was a dream come true. I couldn't believe it, Jennifer Garner even reposted it. And I love her so much."

Fans will remember Jennifer raving about Ariana on Instagram at the time.

Another thing that got Ariana excited was working with Jennifer Coolidge. The Boca Raton native, who says she's "a humongous comedy person" and lists Best in Show as her "favorite movie," revealed that Jennifer (who was also in that film) recreated all of her looks from Legally Blonde especially for the video.

"Which was the biggest honor of my entire life," said Ariana, adding: "I worship her."

"You should see the outtakes," she teased, "they're so funny."

Check out the music video below.

'Positions'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

Talking about her more recent music video, Ariana disclosed that the concept for "Positions," which came out last October, was actually her husband, 26-year-old real estate agent Dalton Gomez's idea.

"We were in the car driving home, and Dalton just turned to me and was like, what if you were the president?" she said. "This was literally three days away from the shoot," she added, noting that the director -- her old pal Dave -- "made it happen."

Aside from Dave helming, Mimi came back as stylist, with Michael "Manthony" Anthony and Josh Liu doing makeup and hair.

Making the case for feminism and femininity, Ariana added: "I also love the women that are in this video with me. It was really cool just to sort of paint this picture in a feminine way and just say, you know, why couldn't it look like that? Why couldn't it even look half like that? F**k."

Watch the music video below.

'34+35'

Ariana Grande | YouTube

Ariana brought the whole crew in to work on "34+35" off of the same album, which only saw a directorial change, with Director X stepping in.

"This was another one where we took inspiration from that '60s sci-fi," she said. "Again, that old horror '60s thing is my favorite aesthetic in the world. So we tried to make it sort of emulate that with the drippy letters and stuff."

Talking about the choreography, which was done by twin professional dancers Brian and Scott Nicholson, Ariana described it as "so silly and fun, but also so chic."

"I've worked with them my whole career, so it's fun to sort of find new stories to tell with them and 'okay, are we voguing today?' 'no, we're being fembots today, actually," she shared. "And they are always able to jump in, and execute everything so beautifully and make me feel beautiful in the movements."

Ariana, who said she feels "so lucky" to have been able to do this video, added: "I appreciate them, and everybody I get to work with."

Check out the music vid below and watch Ariana tell the story to Allure on YouTube.

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