Ariana DeBose: who is ‘openly queer’ West Side Story actress and 2022 Oscar winner - and partner Sue Makkoo

DeBose appeared in the original cast of Hamilton, and took home the Best Supporting Actress award at the 2022 Oscars

<p>Ariana DeBose at the Governors Ball during the 94th Annual Academy Awards (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)</p>

Ariana DeBose at the Governors Ball during the 94th Annual Academy Awards (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Ariana DeBose has said her award win was proof that “dreams do come true” as she accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Speaking of her pride of being an “openly queer woman of colour” as she won the award for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s new big-screen version of classic musical, West Side Story.

But who is she, and what have DeBose’s career highlights been to this point?

Here is everything you need to know about her.

Who is Ariana DeBose?

An actress, singer and dancer, DeBose made her television debut competing on the US’ So You Think You Can Dance (she made it into the Top 20), before making her Broadway debut in 2011 in the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical Bring It On, loosely based on the 2000 film of the same name.

From there, she appeared in further Broadway shows like Motown: The Musical, and was part of the original cast of Hamilton from 2015 to 2016.

Her first major accolade came in 2018, when she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as Donna Summer in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.

DeBose appeared in the filmed stage recording of Hamilton, which was released in 2020 on Disney+, and in the same year played Alyssa Greene in Netflix's The Prom, and Emma in the Apple TV+ musical comedy series Schmigadoon! a year later.

She was born in North Carolina in 1991, and identifies as queer, coming out to her grandparents in 2015.

DeBose and her partner Sue Makkoo at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Oscars (Photo: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2020, she and The Prom co-star Jo Ellen Pellman launched the Unruly Hearts Initiative to help young people connect with organisations and charities that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

DeBose is in a relationship with costume designer and professor Sue Makkoo, whom she met while working on Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.

What did she say in her acceptance speech?

In her Oscars acceptance speech, DeBose said: “Now you see why Anita says I want to be in America because even in this weary world that we live in dreams do come true and that’s a heartening thing right now.”

On the production, she added: “It was the summer of a lifetime and I am the most privileged and grateful to have spent it with all of you.

“My God thank you Steven Spielberg, you’re stuck with me now.”

The actress also paid tribute to Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original West Side Story film, saying she “paved the way for tonnes of Anitas like me”.

In fact, DeBose’s win sets an unusual Academy Awards record, making Anita the first ‘character’ to twice win Best Supporting Actress.

Moreno won the Oscar for her role in the original film adaptation of West Side Story - exactly 60 years later, DeBose has won for playing the same role in Spielberg’s new version.

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