So far, her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story has earned her accolades at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and plenty of other precursor awards. She’s currently the favorite to win gold for Best Supporting Actress. Until then, make sure to see West Side Story at theaters. The musical was also just released on Disney+ and HBO Max for those of you who prefer streaming.
And in case you don’t know enough about Ariana DeBose, here are five quick facts about the actress, singer, and dancer that you should know before Oscar night on March 27, so you can cheer for her even louder.
How It Started
DeBose made her TV debut as a contestant on the sixth season of the reality talent show series So You Think You Can Dance. At 18 years old, she made it into the Top 20 from a pool of 152 dancers. She was the first female dancer eliminated from the final group. She was eliminated after performing a contemporary dance to the song “Darkest Hour” by Charlotte Martin.
Before making an impression on the big and small screens with projects like The Prom, Schmigadoon! and, of course, West Side Story, DeBose performed on and off-Broadway on shows like Hairspray, Bring It On: The Musical, Pippin, Les Misérables, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. She earned a Tony nomination in 2018 for her performance in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.
Debose is openly part of the LGBTQ+ community. She and actress Jo Ellen Pellman, who also identifies as queer, co-founded the Unruly Hearts Initiative.
According to its website, the nonprofit organization “connects…young audiences with trusted organizations that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community through resources for housing insecurity solutions, mental health access, and mentorship and education access.”
Debose is also the first openly queer woman of color to be nominated for an Oscar.
History Repeating Itself?
If DeBose ends up winning the coveted Oscar on March 27, 2022, it would be nearly 60 years to the day that actress Rita Moreno won the same Supporting Actress award for playing the same role in the original 1961 film. On April 9, 1962, Moreno became the first Latina to ever win an Oscar.
On the Horizon
Don’t expect DeBose to pump the brakes anytime soon. Her stock is at an all-time high, and she’s already finished shooting her new film, the sci-fi thriller I.S.S. where she will play an astronaut living on the International Space Station.
Along with I.S.S., DeBose is set to play the Marvel supervillain Calypso in the film Kraven the Hunter. She is currently shooting the spy movie Argylle with Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson and Dua Lipa.