INTERVIEW WITH: Ariana DeBose
FILM: "WEST SIDE STORY"
Q. Hi. Baz --
A. Baz. Hi, honey.
Q. Hi to you too. Congratulations.
A. Thank you. Crazy.
Q. You know, the path to winning this Oscar started a long time
ago because I saw you on Broadway 12 years ago working your
Wotsit off. Tell me how you got from there to here, please.
A. I think -- I don't know if there's an easy way to put that or
it's a question, I can tell you. A lot of hard work, a lot of
determination, a lot of active choice to take my rejections as
redirections. I was just saying, you know, when I was in the
ensemble of Hamilton -- mind you, as an ensemble member, I had
a role that barely spoke. All I did was dance. But I chose at
some point to try for more and, to be frank, it wasn't met
with, you know, thunderous applause. Some folks kind of looked
at me like I was crazy, and I had to choose to believe that I
was deserving of more and go and train to be better. And,
honestly, just choosing -- choosing myself and choosing to
believe that I was worthy and the willingness to humble myself
and do the work, that's how this happened. This is magic, but
it's magic that did not come without effort, yeah. Thanks,
Q. Over here. Hi, Queen. I just, again, want to say
congratulations. I loved you in WEST SIDE STORY, and this is
also such an important award twofold because this is your first
big major role in a feature film and nomination and win. And
you won the award that Rita Moreno won as the first
Puerto Rican woman and Latina person to win the Academy Award
for Supporting Actress in the same role. So I just kind of
wanted to ask you about this kind of full circle moment and,
you know, your reaction to it? And, like, you know, if you
talked with Rita earlier tonight about your win, and, like, you
know, compared Oscars or --
A. No, you know, it is -- it is -- I don't -- I don't know. I see
it as a historical moment. It's a layer on a layer on a layer,
and I think this is the first time that a female role has been
honored twice, but I think it's really important to note that
our Anita, as well, they share a name. They are different
women, you know. Her Anita is iconic and legendary and will
always will be, and now mine has been shown light upon in this
way, and I'm very proud of that because I set out to create a
woman that stood on her own two feet. And while there is our
60 years of legacy between our Anitas, my Anita is not
dependent on it. She celebrates what was and what is and what
can be, how we move forward, so it is historical. And it is --
gosh, I don't know. It's overwhelming because I could see Rita
tonight. It was really special to be able to see her sort of
willing me to say what I wanted to say.
And I think the other layers, I'm an openly queer woman of
color and not for nothing. That's frickin' awesome, you guys.
So I'm the second Latina to win an acting award. I'm
Afro-Latina. I'm an openly queer woman of color, and I think
that just proves that there's space. There's space for us, and
it's a beautiful moment to be seen, and I'm really honored by
that. I hope that answered your question.
Q. Hi. BuzzFeed actually, I think, took my question a little bit
because I wanted to ask if you had had a chance to talk at all
with Rita since your win.
A. No, I hadn't. I have not spoken to her yet. I'm really hoping
I can catch her at the Governor's Ball, but we did have a
beautiful moment on the carpet. I'm really hoping someone got
a photo of it. And she just said, "Are you ready? You are in
for the ride of your life, and I'm rooting for you." And I
think that's -- I don't know, that type of support, it is -- I
don't know, it's everything, it's generationally between
actresses. You know, the industry has changed so much, and,
quite frankly, her existence has opened many doors, not just
for me, but for many women in this industry, many Latinas, and
I don't know. It makes me really happy to be able to stand
beside her because she's not alone anymore.
People don't talk about that. When you are the first of
something, it's lonely. It's lonely. I mean, at least that's
what I've learned sometimes. So it's really -- I don't know.
It's a privilege and it's an honor to be the person that gets
to stand beside her. And guess what? We are ready and waiting
for more folks, so -- because there's space. Let's go.