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Ariana Grande Says She’s Reprocessing ‘Victorious’ Experience, Innuendos

Ariana Grande is the guest on the most recent episode of the “Podcrushed” podcast — co-hosted by her “The Boy Is Mine” music video star Penn Badgley — and opens up about her relationship to child stardom. The Grammy winner was a young teenager when her fame exploded, thanks to a series regular role on the Nickelodeon show “Victorious,” which aired for four seasons between 2010 and 2013. Grande reprised her role of Cat Valentine on the spinoff “Sam & Cat,” which ran for 35 episodes.

“I was 14 and I flew out to audition with Liz Gillies for ‘Victorious,’ and we were all very excited and we got cast and it was the best news we could hear,” Grande says on “Podcrushed.” “We were young performers who just wanted to do this with our lives more than anything, and we got to and that was so beautiful. I think we had some very special memories, and 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.”

While clearly grateful for the experience of getting to work on “Victorious,” Grande says that she is “reprocessing [my] relationship to it a little bit now, if that makes sense.”

Neither Grande nor the “Podcrushed” hosts — Badgley, Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari — bring up “Victorious” creator Dan Schneider by name, nor the recent Investigation Discovery documentary sensation “Quiet on Set,” which includes many allegations of misconduct against Schneider from his tenure at Nickelodeon. But Grande does say it’s been “devastating” to hear stories from former child actors, and referred to them as “survivors.” (Schneider is suing ID for defamation.)

“I think the environment needs to be made safer if kids are going to be acting, and I think there should be therapists,” Grande says. “I think parents should allowed to be wherever they want to be, and I think not only on kids’ sets. If anyone wants to do this, or music, or anything at this level of exposure, there should be in the contract something about therapy is mandatory twice a week or thrice a week, or something like that.”

“I was actually talking to Max Martin about this the other day, because he was always such an amazing person to talk to about the stressful parts of what I was experiencing,” she continues. “And he was just amazing, but a lot of people don’t have the support that they need to get through being a performer at that level at such a young age…the environment just needs to be made a lot safer all around and like I said I’m still in real time reprocessing my relationship to it.”

Grande notes that one of the “beautiful things” to come from her time on “Victorious” was “that Liz and I got to fall in love with these characters that we created, and learn what it feels like to be so in a character that you can’t separate yourself from it. But yeah, the rest of it is still being worked on.”

While neither Grande nor her “Victorious” co-stars appeared in the “Quiet on Set” documentary, footage from the show often played as examples of how some of the content on Nickelodeon at the time was inappropriate. Grande does not reference any scenes in particular during her “Podcrushed” interview, but she does express a level of uncomfortableness in revisiting certain content from “Victorious.”

“Specifically about our show, I think that was something that we were convinced was the cool thing about us — is that we pushed the envelope with our humor,” Grande says. “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? Oh shit’…and the things that weren’t approved for the network were snuck on to like our website or whatever.”

“I guess I’m upset, yeah,” Grande adds.

As a result of these reflections, Grande is advocating for more parental supervision on sets with teen and child actors. Listen to her full episode of the “Podcrushed” podcast here.

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