'West Side Story' star Ariana DeBose opens up about her biracial, queer identity: 'I'm very proud'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Ariana DeBose has already won top honors for her role in "West Side Story" -- and now has the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

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"It's such a wild thing and I didn't know when you grow up watching these, these telecast, these award shows, you know, you dream of being a part of them," DeBose said, "but it seems very far away and then suddenly it's like right here, so it's wild."

DeBose says she is of Puerto Rican, Black and Italian ethnicity, and identifies as queer.

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"I'm very proud of all the communities that I belong to," DeBose said. "We wouldn't even be having these conversations around identity and representation, if the work first wasn't there, right, if that wasn't sound. And I'm so proud of this work."

She added, "But at the end of the day, it's about your humanity, right? So however the world wants to describe it, what you got to worry about is your understanding of yourself and how you walk in the world and choose labels you would be proud of."

She said this last part of her journey has had many lessons.

"What I'm taking away is the knowledge that it's okay to let yourself be seen and be celebrated and when it happens, enjoy it," DeBose said. "There's nothing wrong with enjoying the moment."
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