Ariana DeBose Talks Making History With Her First SAG Awards Win for 'West Side Story' (Exclusive)

The actress is also nominated for an Oscar, a Critics' Choice Award and more for her work in 'West Side Story.'

Ariana DeBose is no stranger to making history. On Sunday, the breakout star of West Side Story took home the 2022 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her work as Anita, snagging her first win for her first nomination. 

"My heart's beating in my chest right now. It's taken a lot of time for me to feel comfortable calling myself an actor," DeBose said during her speech. "My roots come from the dance world and the Broadway stage and the Anita that we see on the screen took every bit of me, but she took 10 years to make, and I'm very proud of her and of our film."

The actress continued by thanking the film's creator, Steven Spielberg saying, "Thank you for believing in the possibility of my talent, and that of my colleagues. Thank you to the entire cast and crew of West Side Story because what a labor of love and it's a beautiful cinematic experience and I'm thrilled that people get to actually see it."

Wrapping her speech, she thanked her fellow actors, and even Lady Gaga, "And just thank all of you, staring at me, so many of you," she added. "I've watched so many of you for a very long time you have inspired me and you continued to do so and I am just thrilled to be among you. So, thank you."

DeBose has already taken home a Golden Globe and snagged both a Critics Choice and Oscar nomination for her role as Anita. The Best Actress nom makes her the first openly queer woman and the second Latina to be nominated in the category. 

“We here! And we queer,” DeBose told ET’s Nischelle Turner on the SAG Awards red carpet on Sunday. “It is exciting and I'm very proud of these moments because I think they're indicative of the fact that they will not be the last."

“That's how I choose to look at them and it's like, if we can have these conversations around me, that just means the door is open, so come on in.” 

DeBose, if she wins the Oscar, will become the second Latina woman, after Rita Moreno made history when she won for the same role in 1962.  “I don't know if I have words to describe what it would mean to me yet,” she says. “I know that it would mean a great deal to the many communities that I belong to.” 

She adds, “Because, it is a further recognition that we are here we are valid and our stories matter. I am so proud to have represented my communities as an Afro-Latina as an openly queer woman, woman of color.” 

When it comes to the moment, the actress who took home the SAG for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, is grateful to get the accolades.

“I have this motto keep your feet on the ground and your heart in the heavens that way you never miss any moments,” she says. “And these are so special like when you worked or so long and you challenge yourself the way that I really strive. To These moments mean everything, and I don't want to miss a single one.”