Why Ariana DeBose Doesn't See Her Oscar Win as a "Historical Moment"

West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose made history at the Oscars 2022 by becoming the first Afro-Latina and openly queer woman of color to win an acting Academy Award.

By Tamantha Gunn Mar 28, 2022 6:38 PMTags

Ariana DeBose just made history at the 2022 Oscars—but was it enough?

During a post-Oscars news conference on March 27, the West Side Story actress—who played Anita in the Steven Spielberg musical drama remake—shared with reporters why she doesn't necessarily see her win 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," she said, referencing Rita Moreno's previous win for playing Anita in the 1961 film. "But I think it's really important to note that our Anita—while they share a name—they are different women. You know, her Anita is iconic and legendary and will always be and now mine has been shone 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." 

West Side Story's Ariana DeBose Celebrates Oscars 2022 Win

Rita was the first Latina to win an Oscar, and the 31-year-old said together they can celebrate "what was and what is, what can be." 

"I'm an openly queer woman of color," Ariana added. "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."

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Though Ariana might not see her moment as historical, she knows that her win certainly pushed forward diversity in the Academy Awards.

"Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus," she said while accepting her award on March 27. "Look into her eyes. You see an openly queer woman of color and Afro Latina who found her life and strength in art. That's what I believe we're here to celebrate."