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Ariana Grande Sues Forever 21 for $10 Million

Ariana Grande stands in front of a pink background that says "Women in Music."
Ariana Grande—or is it? (It is.) Angela Weiss/Getty Images

One taught her love, one taught her litigation: Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for at least $10 million over, among other things, hiring a model who looks like her.

That might make the case sound somewhat frivolous at first—Grande did not invent the high ponytail, even if it is her signature look—but Grande accuses Forever 21 and beauty store Riley Rose of much more egregious offenses than simply using an Ariana Grande doppelgänger. The lawsuit alleges that the retailer also posted actual photographs of Grande, infringed on her trademarks, and used her music and lyrics to promote its products despite not having her permission to do so. This apparently happened after an endorsement deal between Grande and Forever 21 fell through.

In a Forever 21 Facebook post dated Feb. 8, a model who resembles Ariana Grande wears a high ponytail in a photo beneath the caption "Gee thanks, just bought it! Shop our favorite trend atm!"
A Forever 21 post from February featuring lyrics from “7 Rings.” Forever 21 via Facebook

The lawsuit’s language against Forever 21, which is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy, rubs a little salt in the wound by accusing the company of seeking Grande’s endorsement because they feared “irrelevance” but says they were ultimately unable to pay up. An Instagram post by Grande evidently costs six figures, while a long-term endorsement deal can cost millions or even tens of millions.

Update, Sept. 4, 2019: Forever 21 issued a statement regarding the lawsuit.

Forever 21 does not comment on pending litigation as per company policy. That said, while we dispute the allegations, we are huge supporters of Ariana Grande and have worked with her licensing company over the past two years. We are hopeful that we will find a mutually agreeable resolution and can continue to work together in the future.