Ariana Grande doesn't talk about the Manchester Bombing very often, but in a recent interview with Elle, she said although "everything is different" since the attack, she was never going to let it keep her from doing what she loves.
"You hear about these things," she said. "You see it on the news, you tweet the hashtag. It's happened before, and it'll happen again. It makes you sad, you think about it for a little, and then people move on. But experiencing something like that firsthand, you think of everything differently... Everything is different."
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, which left 22 dead and another 500 injured, Ariana and her mother Joan hopped on the first flight home to Boca Raton, Florida. Ariana didn't talk for two whole days, Joan said, but when she finally did, she wanted to return to Manchester.
"It was two or three in the morning; she crawled into bed and said, 'Mom, let's be honest, I'm never not going to sing again. But I'm not going to sing again until I sing in Manchester first.'"
That's how the One Love Manchester Concert was born. The two called Ariana's manager, Scooter Braun, and started planning the concert, which ended up raising $23 million (P1.2 billion) for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
Ariana said getting back onstage after the attack was terrifying, and to this day it still can be, but her fans are a source of inspiration for her and the main reason she does it. They still pack stadiums to watch her sing, and bring signs that say "Hate will never win."
"Why would I second-guess getting on a fucking stage and being there for them? That city, and their response? That changed my life," she said.
She completed the rest of her tour after the benefit concert, but she said when she got home she had dizzy spells, often feeling like she couldn't breathe. "There were a couple of months straight where I felt so upside down," she said.
Before Manchester and even since, Ariana has been a goofy person. Her mom described a birthday party when she was younger that was Jaws-themed, which freaked out every kid in attendance.
"Most of the kids were running, screaming, because I had Jaws playing on a huge screen," Joan remembered. "The parents were like, 'Are you crazy? Our kids don't watch that!' But it was [Ariana's] favorite movie."
During Halloween, Joan would decorate the house with actual animal organs that she got from the butcher, and the kids would paint blood on the walls. They went to Disney World often, and Joan insists Ariana was never the princess type.
"If we had a choice of going to the Disney princess store or the villain store, it was always the villains," Joan said.
That weird streak is still present in the pop star today. During her interview, she went on a tangent about how she's been watching Planet Earth a lot recently.
"Have you seen those fish with the transparent heads? Those are aliens! That's where they are! They're here."
Not only that, but she talked about how the planet is a really big place, and it's almost crazy how small people are in comparison. "The planets, the stars, there's nothing more humbling than that shit," she said. "We get so stressed about little things when, in the big picture, we're just a speck of dust on this tiny planet in this enormous solar system that is also a speck in a huge, mysterious black hole situation, and we don't even know what it is!"
That mentality of not getting stressed over the little things may be part of why she feels like it's important to be political and outspoken as a celebrity, as opposed to, the writer of the profile notes, other celebs with a Reputation for not saying anything.
"There's a lot of noise when you say anything about anything. But if I'm not going to say it, what's the fucking point of being here? Not everyone is going to agree with you, but that doesn't mean I'm just going to shut up and sing my songs," Ariana said. "I'm also going to be a human being who cares about other human beings; to be an ally and use my privilege to help educate people."
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.