Ariana Grande is 5-foot-3, but you’d never notice. The crafty pop star uses aptly chosen footwear and astute styling tricks to create a trompe l’oeil illusion of height.
Nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards — the show airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET — Grande will be spending a lot of time in the spotlight this weekend. Her height-lengthening hacks will definitely be a key element in her styling decisions.
The simplest trick Grande employs is drawing attention upward: This Atelier Versace dress with a thigh-high slit emphasizes her legs and brings notice to her Giuseppe Zanotti heels. Her pose — a slant — elongates the body greater than a vertical stance.
At the 2014 Grammy Awards, Grande paired soft pink platform stiletto heels under a floral Dolce & Gabbana dress, adding an entire five inches to her height.
Her decision to partner Christian Louboutin Zigounette T-bar platform sandals with a short-hemmed dress added a dimension of length to her look, as the hem and T-bar turn the eye toward Grande’s leg, and with one leg in front of the other, as seen in her pose, she diminishes the appearance of width, which flatters her height in a linear manner.
Grande’s creative height illusion dates as far back as 2009, when she opted for a shoe darker than her dress, which gave a much thinner, smaller appearance — elongating her legs.
Grande is nominated for artist of the year, competing against both men and women for the title, as this is the first year that MTV has neutralized the gendering of the category. Her video for “Side to Side ft. Nicki Minaj” earned a nomination, this one for best choreography.
The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, with the red carpet preshow starting at 7 p.m.
Click through the gallery to see more of how Ariana Grande’s been pulling off her height illusion trick over the years.