Ariana DeBose was born January 25, 1991 and is an American actress, singer, and dancer.
She was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her mother, Gina DeBose, is an 8th grade teacher. DeBose trained in dance at CC & Co. Dance Complex in Raleigh. Debose has stated that her father is Puerto Rican and her mother is white, and that she also has African-American and Italian ancestry.
DeBose made her television debut in 2009, when she competed on the TV series So You Think You Can Dance, making it into the Top 20. She later appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live and played Inez in the North Carolina Theatre’s production of Hairspray before appearing in the role of Nautica in the 2011 Alliance Theatre production of Bring It On. She also appeared in the ensemble of the New York Philharmonic production of Company, which was filmed for television. At the end of 2011, Bring It On embarked on a national tour across the United States. DeBose continued her role into the 2012 Broadway production and understudied the character Danielle.
In 2013, DeBose played Mary Wilson in Motown on Broadway, understudying the role of Diana Ross. DeBose left the show to play Eponine in a regional production of Les Misérables, before returning to Broadway as a noble and a player in the musical Pippin, understudying the role of the Leading Player, which she ended up taking over for a short period in 2014. She can be heard playing director/choreographer Zoey Taylor in As the Curtain Rises, an original Broadway soap opera podcast from the Broadway Podcast Network.
In 2015, DeBose left Pippin to join the ensemble of the off-Broadway musical Hamilton. In her role, she originated “the bullet”, a “secret character” that foreshadows Alexander Hamilton and Philip Hamilton’s fates during the show. The show moved to Broadway later that year and became an overnight sensation. She left Hamilton in July 2016 and made a guest appearance on the TV series Blue Bloods as Sophia Ortiz. She also starred as Daphne in the thriller film Seaside.
From November 2016 to August 2017, DeBose portrayed Jane on Broadway in A Bronx Tale.
In late 2017, DeBose received her breakthrough role, playing Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse. She reprised this role in the Broadway production, which opened in April 2018. She also frequently performs at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
DeBose played Alyssa Greene in the film adaptation of The Prom, directed by Ryan Murphy. In March 2021, DeBose released a dance-pop recording and video of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Shall We Dance” for the album R&H Goes Pop, produced by Justin Goldner and arranged by Benjamin Rauhala.
In 2021, DeBose played Emma Tate in the parody musical comedy series Schmigadoon! on Apple TV+. She will also star in the spy film Argylle for the service.
Despite initially not seeing herself playing the role and refusing to audition for it, DeBose played Anita in the 2021 film adaptation of the musical West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg. The film was released in December 2021.
In February 2021, it was announced that she would play Kira Foster in the upcoming film I.S.S.
On January 6, 2022, DeBose was announced as the host of Saturday Night Live on January 15, 2022.
DeBose identifies as queer and came out to her grandparents in 2015.
In December 2020, DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman launched the Unruly Hearts Initiative. The initiative was created to help young people connect with organizations and charities that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.