Ariana DeBose, 31, made history as the first openly queer woman of color to not only be nominated for but win an Oscar. She won Best Supporting Actress for her incredible performance as Anita in West Side Story. Rita Moreno won an Oscar for playing the notoriously challenging role sixty years ago, making this the first time two actors won an Oscar for playing the same role. Ariana spoke on diversity while accepting her Oscar.
“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus,” she said with passion. “Look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art, and that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate. So to anyone who has ever questioned your identity, or if you find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us.” She was later spotted celebrating with her partner Sue Makkoo, 51. Here’s everything you need to know about Ariana’s sweetheart.
Now, ahead of the premiere of Schmigadoon!‘s season 2, in which Ariana will star as Emcee, find out more about her partner, Sue.
1. Sue is a Broadway costume designer
Sue Makkoo has an impressive 25-year career as a costume designer. On her profile at the Manhattan School of Music, where she serves as a professor in the musical theatre department, she has worked at the Tony Award-winning theater La Jolla for the past 11 years. She also works under tenure at the University of California, San Diego Department of Theater and Dance MFA program. On top of all that, she has designed costumes for a number of Broadway productions including Memphis, Sideshow, Hands on a Hard Body, 33 Variations, and Cry Baby.
2. Sue & Ariana met while doing a show together
Sue and Ariana definitely share a love of theater. In fact, that’s how they met, which is incredibly adorable. They met while working on Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Ariana played Disco Donna while Sue was the costume associate, as per Purewow. So sweet! This production was back in 2018 so this means that the couple will soon have been together for four years.
3. She bought and renovated a house for Ariana
Costume design isn’t Sue’s only artistic pursuit. She also specializes in renovating homes and even bought and renovated a place for Ariana in Upstate New York. She opened up about her process with My Domaine. It was important for her to find a place where Ariana could really unwind after rehearsing for a Broadway show in the city. “Well this house is a bit of a Diva. She wants what she wants and lets you know when you are wrong,” she quipped, possibly teasing that it’s a trait that her girlfriend shares. “It is a series of L shapes so it is tricky. My vision has always been to create a magical little spot in the woods. Miss Honey’s cottage so to speak. That is if Miss Honey was a little bit rock and roll.”
4. She writes poetry
Sue’s talents aren’t restricted to the visual realm. She recently created a website called Civilized where she seeks out and shares “moments in a day that were kind,” in her own words. Under a section labeled essays, she shares musings that most closely resemble poetry. She seems to be inspired by holidays and the changing of seasons. In fact, she wrote her most recent essay on Valentine’s Day. Take a look at some of her reflections here.
5. She has a daughter
Sue introduced the world to her adult daughter, Adalyn Belle, on her Civilizations Website. Her daughter started out as a chef who began studying psychology and teaching cooking classes for adults with Autism. This led to her working with at-risk adults in a government facility and eventually going on to get her master’s and become a therapist. It’s clear Sue is very proud of her daughter. “I’m lucky, my daughter is my best friend and I just plain love spending time with her, but we have earned it,” she wrote of Adalyn. Things were not easy raising a family alone and there is a feeling between us that we raised each other. Even beyond that almost cliche phrase, there is a larger feeling that we’ve done this before. We innately know what the other needs, we know what the family needs and at 5 years old she was so mighty