You Won't Even Recognize Ariana Grande With Her Stripped-Down Look On Her 'Vogue' Cover

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We're so used to seeing our favorite celebrities perfectly made up and dressed to a T that when they stray from their signature looks, it can be a bit of a shock. Case in point: Ariana Grande's Vogue cover, which was shot by Annie Leibovitz and shows the pop songstress stripped-down, fresh-faced, and looking more gorgeous than ever. There's not a thigh-high boot or cat ear in sight, and while her hair might be pulled into a high ponytail (the giant-brimmed hat sitting atop her crown makes it hard to tell), it's certainly not the slicked back version that's become her trademark over the past couple of years. Shot sitting on a beach in a crinkly black dress with her adorable pup in her lap — ironic, seeing the Vogue story says she "hates the beach" — Grande appears in a much different light than the glittery pop princess we're so used to seeing on Instagram. Both versions of the star are dazzling.

Even if you're not an Arianator, the feature is definitely worth perusing. Along with the cover image, it includes beautiful shots of Grande at home with her mom and grandma, sprawled out in a music studio wearing an emerald green three-piece look, and strolling along a Florida beach in a Dior dress. The images are beyond dreamy and show Grande in an array of uncharacteristic looks.

The accompanying text is also brilliant and provides unique insight into Grande's life, both the light and heavy parts of it. You'll learn about her childhood in Boca Raton, Florida, and a certain musical achievement she shares with the Beatles. You'll also be hit with some extremely interesting insight about the image that Grande has built around herself — one centering on the aforementioned thigh-high boots and cat ears as well as babydoll dresses and oversized hoodies. As Grande explained to Vogue:

I like having my funny character that I play that feels like this exaggerated version of myself. It protects me. But also I love disrupting it for the sake of my fans and making clear that I’m a person—because that’s something I enjoy fighting for. I can’t help disrupt it. I’m incredibly impulsive and passionate and emotional and just reckless. The music is very personal and very real, but yes, if you can be me for Halloween, if drag queens can dress up as me, then I’m a character. Go to your local drag bar, and you’ll see it. That’s, like, the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s better than winning a Grammy.
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That's not to say that Grande's hair and wardrobe choices aren't still authentically her, though. In the piece, the Vogue writer revealed that Grande is wearing "black, ultra-high platform ankle boots" by Sergio Rossi and an oversized sweatshirt emblazoned with "SOCIAL HOUSE," the name of a pop duo and Grande's friends, when he conducted the interview. Her signature winged eyeliner was also present, proving that while she might be a "character," she's a genuine one.

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On a more serious note, the piece also covers the heart-wrenching topics of the bombing that took place at Grande's Manchester concert as well as the death of her good friend and ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller. Grande speaks to both horrors as openly as she can muster along with what her processes of healing have been like. The story is a raw and vulnerable window into the life of the icon — after reading it, the stripped-down cover feels exceedingly appropriate.