As Ariana Grande took the stage to accept the Woman of the Year award at this year’s Billboard Women In Music event Thursday night (Dec. 6), the 25-year-old singer followed up a sassy performance of “thank u, next” with a very Ariana-like quip: “Thank you so much for coming to my Quinceañera, I appreciate it.” Though it wasn’t Grande’s actual birthday, the rest of her speech served as sincere proof of the night’s biggest honor — whether she felt worthy of it or not.
After admitting that she felt “completely undeserving” of the Woman of the Year title, Grande went on to thank her team in a rather nervous fashion, suggesting that she’d forget everything she wanted to say because she was overwhelmed. But then something clicked as she began talking about the incredible year she’s had as an artist.
“I find it interesting that this has been one of the best years of my career and the worst of my life,” Grande said. “A lot of people would look at someone in my position right now as an artist that could be at her peak and think, ‘She’s really got her shit together, she’s really on it. She’s got it all.’ And I do, but as far as my personal life goes, I really have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.”
She laughed off her comment, but quickly followed up with a message of hope for her fans: “It’s been a very conflicting one, and I just want to say if you’re someone out there who has no idea what this next chapter is going to bring, you’re not alone in that.”
In true Ariana fashion, she quickly pulled it together and even threw in a silly remark (“I’m not going to cry, that’s really annoying,” she joked). Continuing her encouraging and heartfelt sentiment, she added, “I’m really looking forward to embracing whatever happens and whatever comes my way.”
As she wrapped up her speech, Grande shouted out her best friends Victoria Monet and Tayla Parx, with whom she made her highly anticipated (and teased) sweetener follow-up album. Even through the emotional moments and raw vulnerability, Grande held true to her “thank u, next” attitude as she welcomed what’s to come.
“I look forward to hopefully learning to give some of the love and forgiveness that I’ve given away so frivolously and easily to men in the past to myself, hopefully, this year,” she declared. “I have everything I’ve ever dreamt of having, and as of late I’ve discovered that it’s the things I’ve always had and the people I’ve always had that still make me the happiest.”