As you’ll hear in our first interview from Australia’s new hottest billboard, a story about an American actress, an Australian model and a country on the brink of economic collapse.
“It was like I’d been through something,” she says.
A few days before her new billboard went up in Melbourne, Arias parents, wife and mother-in-law got the news.
The couple had been living in the city, which has a high cost of living, and were looking to relocate, but could not find a good place to live in the suburbs.
She said she and her husband would have to leave the city.
They said they wanted to see the city for themselves.
And then, at first, Ariashas billboard became an international sensation.
Arias billboard in Melbourne’s CBD (ABC News: Sarah Brown)Aussie celebrity Aria was one of the stars behind the billboard, and she says she was “absolutely blown away” by how popular it became.
“I’ve been living here for a long time, so I was a bit overwhelmed by the reaction,” she said.
While Ariashawas billboard has drawn attention from the world, it has also attracted the attention of her father, an American, who has now asked the Australian Government to ban it.
ABC News has been told the billboard was approved by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as a “news” sign for its Melbourne coverage.
Ms Grande says she had no idea her billboard was coming to Australia.
“It’s just a funny thing, I’ve never even heard of Aria,” she told the ABC.
But the billboard has sparked an international conversation, with celebrities, politicians and even politicians themselves sharing their views on the billboard.
It has been criticised by the US embassy in Canberra, which said it was an “inappropriate” and “disturbing” display of American culture.
On Tuesday, the Australian ambassador to the US, Chris Jaffe, told the US Congress that “Americans have a right to celebrate the diversity of our culture and to celebrate America”.
“This billboard is an opportunity for the Australian community to shine a light on Australia’s unique values and the unique diversity of its people,” he said.
“This is an invitation for Australians to celebrate and share their unique values with the world.”
The ABC has contacted the US Embassy in Canberra for comment.
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