Ariana Grande reflects on child star experience while reprocessing their relationship to it

Ariana Grande reflects on child star experience while reprocessing their relationship to it

Ariana Grande recently opened up about her experiences as a child star, reflecting on her time playing Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” and “Sam & Cat.” Speaking on the “Podcrushed” podcast, co-hosted by Penn Badgley, Grande shared her thoughts on the impact of her early career and how she views it now.

Grande expressed gratitude for the opportunity to create roles that resonated with many young viewers. “We feel so privileged to have been able to create those roles and be a part of something that was so special for a lot of young kids,” she said. However, she also noted that she and her peers are re-evaluating their relationship with those experiences. “I think we’re reprocessing our relationship to it a little bit now,” she added.

The singer’s comments come in the wake of the “Quiet on Set” docuseries, which highlighted the toxic work environment and inappropriate behavior that allegedly occurred on some Nickelodeon sets. Grande did not directly mention the series or its claims but acknowledged the troubling stories from former child actors. “There’s not a word for how devastating that is to hear about,” she said, emphasizing the need for a safer environment for young performers.

Grande advocated for increased safety measures for child actors, suggesting that therapists should be available on set and that parents should have unrestricted access to their children. “I think that the environment needs to be made safer if kids are going to be acting,” she said. “I think there should be therapists, I think there should be parents allowed to be wherever they want to be.”

She extended this call for mental health support to all entertainment professionals, not just child actors. “I think if anyone wants to do this, or music or anything at the level of exposure that it means to be on TV or to do music with a major label…there should be in the contract something about therapy is mandatory,” she said.

During the podcast, Grande also reflected on some of the more controversial aspects of her time on “Victorious.” She mentioned feeling uncomfortable revisiting certain plot lines, particularly those with suggestive innuendos. “We were convinced [that] was the cool thing about us — is that we pushed the envelope with our humor,” she said. “And the innuendos were … it was, like, the cool differentiation. And I don’t know, I think it just all happened so quickly and now looking back on some of the clips I’m like, ‘Damn, really?'”

Badgley, who also started his career as a teenager, agreed with Grande and shared his own thoughts on the issue. “We point the finger a lot and fail to often remember this behavior is prevalent… it’s a norm,” he said. Both agreed that the culture is changing to become more understanding of these experiences. “It’s changing and I think that’s a really nice place to see the world,” Grande said.

Grande’s reflections come at a time when the entertainment industry is under increased scrutiny for its treatment of young stars. Nickelodeon, in response to the allegations raised in the “Quiet on Set” docuseries, stated that it investigates all formal complaints and has implemented numerous safeguards to ensure a safe and professional workplace.

Grande’s comments also align with those of other former Nickelodeon stars who have spoken out about their experiences. Victoria Justice, Grande’s co-star on “Victorious,” addressed the docuseries in an interview, stating that while her experience was mostly positive, she did feel she was treated unfairly at times. Jennette McCurdy, who starred alongside Grande in “Sam & Cat,” detailed her negative experiences in her memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died.”

Grande’s reflections highlight the need for ongoing conversations about the safety and well-being of child actors. Her call for increased mental health support and safer working environments is a step towards ensuring that future generations of young performers can pursue their dreams without compromising their well-being.

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