Where Ariana Grande goes, her power ponytail follows. And though it was obscured by an enormous Eric Javits hat on the cover of Vogue’s August 2019 issue, it was out in full force in the accompanying Annie Leibovitz spread. Not to mention whipping—and floating—around in her ‘In My Head’ cover video, directed by Bardia Zeinali. Yes, the pop superstar’s signature updo is synonymous with her persona. But just like her four-octave vocal range, it’s far from one note. As Grande herself once put it, “It’s how I like my hair. It’s how I’ve always liked my hair […] It brings me so much joy, honestly. Every time I put my hair up, it’s like a surprise. Like, I forget how much I love it, and then I tie it back and I’m like, ‘I love this look! Ooh, girl!’ Every time I tie it up is like the first time. It’s like true love.”
Over the years, Grande has fastidiously added flair and nuance to her calling card hairstyle. As it moved to and fro behind her during her 2016 American Music Awards performance, she accented her sleek, high-slung pony at the base with a gilded hair cuff, while on the opening night of her Sweetener world tour, she wove three rows of glimmering hair rings from the ears to the crown. Beyond twinkling embellishments, Grande has added trompe l’oeil fringe and oversized bows to the mix, as well as sporting lived-in dark roots and interminable frosted lengths on more than one occasion. After going full throttle volume with platinum highlights at the 2020 Grammys, Grande began to pare things back. From co-hosting The Voice to press appearances on talk shows, Grande has been embracing sleeker, lower-slung styles that reflect her maturing style evolution. But even as it shifts in shape, size, and color, Grande’s chameleonic ponytail—adorned or on its own—is always unmistakably her own. Here, a look back at each time Grande has reimagined her trademark look.
Originally published in Vogue.com