She's the vocal powerhouse behind what is shaping up to be the song of the summer, but even Ariana Grande
hasn't always felt confident.
"It's tough to spend some of the most important years of your life in front of so many strangers who want to pick you apart," the "Problem" singer says in the September issue of Seventeen
, on newsstands Aug. 5.
"Insecurity has been the hardest thing I've had to overcome. I think everyone my age struggles with that because everyone strives for approval and wants to feel loved."
Grande, 21, found fame as a teen on the Nickelodeon shows Victorious
and Sam & Cat
. Though she's now collaborating with some of the hottest names in music, from Iggy Azalea
to Nicki Minaj
, she has faced backlash for her ever-present ponytail
and rumored rift with costar Jennette McCurdy
Grande says she found strength in her grandfather, who died last week. Family is a big priority for the pop star, whose brother Frankie
is competing on Big Brother
However, she also names the estrangement with her father as the toughest thing she's had to deal with to date.
"It's private, but it happened last year," she says. "It took me so long to be okay with it. The thing that got me there was embracing the fact that I am made up of half my dad, and a lot of my traits come from him. So much of me comes from my father, and for so long, I didn't like that about myself. I had to accept that it's okay not to get along with somebody and still love them."
But don't worry, Arianators: She's forgetting the haters and doing better than ever.
"I feel like for the first time in my life, I'm really okay," Grande says. "I used to freak out about everything all the time. I used to be like, 'Oh my God, somebody said this!' Everything used to be such a big deal! But now, I feel I can handle everything that comes my way with a calm energy."