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Ariana DeBose opens up about liking girls when she was 11 years old

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-07-11

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Ariana DeBose has shared that she first realised she liked girls when she was 11 years old.

The West Side Story star, who appears on the August cover of British Vogue alongside 12 other LGBT + stars, said she opened up about her feelings to her mother on the way home from a dance class.

DeBose, 31, told the magazine : “When I was 11, I was riding in the car with my mother home from a dance workshop.

“And I said, ‘Mom, you know, people are just really beautiful. Look at all those beautiful dancers, I think I could like a girl, I think I could date girls’.”

In response, DeBose’s mother simply said: “That’s cool.”

“And that was it,” the actor, who is in a relationship with costume designer and professor Sue Makoo, added.

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British Vogue ’s August issue celebrates 50 years of Pride in London. Elsewhere in the magazine’s DeBose interview, the star explained how she came to identify as queer.

“I was just living my life,” she said. “I was in New York City, I was dating a woman.

“And I realised my grandparents didn’t know that I like all different types of humans. At that point, I hadn’t really chosen a word to describe myself, but I decided on queer then, because I just thought it would allow me to continue to grow.”

This year, DeBose became the first queer woman of colour to win an Oscar when she picked up the award for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Anita in West Side Story .

She beat other nominees including Jessie Buckley ( The Lost Daughter ), Kirsten Dunst ( The Power of the Dog ), Judi Dench ( Belfast ) and Aunjanue Ellis ( King Richard ).

In her acceptance speech, she said: “Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes.

“You see an openly queer woman of colour, an Afro-Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that is, I think, what we’re here to celebrate.”

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