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The Diva

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The strong, dark, beautiful woman. She's often a go-getter, chasing stardom, wealth, or just recognition for her talents. If she becomes an Idol, she's not constrained by the pressures of always appearing youthful, innocent, and approachable.

Part of her allure is instead her maturity, either in personality or in sexuality. When she walks in the room she not only turns heads, but she demands respect and won't hesitate to set you straight if she doesn't get it. Because of this she can age gracefully and become more refined, and won't allow herself to be so easily replaced with the next young thing that comes around (although Passing the Torch is not unheard of).

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This archetype finds its roots in early 1900s opera singers, but was redefined by the pop diva's of the 1990s, before finally Beyoncé and her contemporaries put their stamp on it in the mid 2000s.

Coming from the same Latin root as divine (also referring to a "goddess"), a truly influential Diva can invoke being a goddess. In general she's a (Lovable) Alpha Bitch, is prone to melodrama, and is likely a master of throwing shade. When portrayed positively she's got self-confidence, swagger in spades, and is a consummate professional. When seen negatively, she's overly aggressive, temperamental, and hard to work with.

While they can overlap, what distinguishes Diva's from The Prima Donna is their sense of maturity and self reliance. A Prima Donna often begs to be catered to, might be thinly two faced depending on her situation, may act forever young. A Diva simply knows she's great whether or not anyone is stroking her ego, she's always true to herself, doesn't go out of her way to be a bitch, and is more likely to embrace her age as a badge of honor for a lasting career. Still, Beware the Nice Ones.

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As an archetype almost Always Female, and frequently overlaps with Sassy Black Woman. Even if she's genuine and caring, people's own conceptions about femininity can make them intimidated by her assertiveness. As such she often framed by the dark side of femininity, and as more of a whore than a madonna in the binary. These characters are memetically popular with gay men, and tend to have a LGBT Fan Base. Rare male examples are usually Camp Gay, or Drag Queens themselves.

This is an extremely common character type on Reality TV. Contrast Evil Diva.

Note that in Professional Wresting, a Diva is something else entirely: a female wrestler known more for Fanservice than for serious wrestling skill. The two terms may overlap, but please stick to the general trope definition when adding wrestling examples.

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Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • Both the titular Michiko and her rival Atsuko in Michiko & Hatchin. The former embodies more of the negative aspects, she's an uncompromising Jerk Ass at times, is certainly over dramatic, and more of a fashionista than she can rightly afford to be. She's mature sexually, but less so in personality especially when paired with Hatchin. Atsuko has an outlandish Blaxploitation-esque blonde afro, and is typically more poised and professional. Both can get catty and snarky when they square off against each other.
  • Eva, an opera singer in the "Magnetic Rose" short in the Anthology Film Memories held a reputation as being one. This was largely inspired by real-life diva Maria Callas, who held a similar reputation as the character, and whose rendition of "Un bel di vedremo" provides her leitmotif.

Comic Books

  • Vixen: Hustled her way up from being a poor refugee to the heights of the fashion world. She glamourous and poised as a model, and well known for her bickering with Amanda Waller while she was on the Suicide Squad.

Film

  • Mae West had a long career as singer, comedian, and sex symbol that started when she was in her 30's. Known for her quips and frank sexuality, she was also known for being quite demanding to work with, including later on in her career when she continued to demand to be cast as a sex symbol after she had passed sixty.

Live-Action TV

  • Dear White People: Coco is aggressively upwardly mobile and places a great deal of importance on appearance. Both physical (like her shame when her wig falls off) and professional (like at networking events). She dumps her boyfriend when she realizes she's more ambitious than he is, and more likely to be successful if she came up on her own instead of dating/marrying for power.
  • Empire: Probably most of the female characters, but head and shoulders about the rest is Cookie Lyon. After (and before) serving jail time, she's tough, outspoken, no nonsense, and extremely snarky. She also tends to dress in outlandish flamboyant costumes particularly when she wants to make an entrance or hammer a point home with someone. While a talented producer and vocalist, she's always been more of a support to her husband and her sons' music careers rather than being famous as a soloist. And despite literally being a grandma, she is still seen as very attractive and has gone through many partners over the course of the show.
  • Glee: Rachel starts out as a high-school version of the trope. While undoubtedly one of the glee club's best singers, she is overbearing, self-centered, and convinced that she's the next Barbra Streisand, to the point that she is generally portrayed as unpopular. However, this also means that she is talented and driven, and eventually does make it in show business.
  • The Muppets: Miss Piggy is often portrayed as an ambitious, fabulous, fashionable woman with a chronic need for stardom and attention.
  • Riverdale: Veronica is this as she falls in love with Archie from the moment she meets him in the pilot, going as far as stalking and kissing Archie in his apartment, making Betty so jealous of him that it marks the beginning of the infamous Love Triangle.
  • RuPaul's drag persona is an imperious, fabulously dressed woman who is easily offended if people imply she is insufficiently famous or iconic. This is also a common character type among the show's contestants.

Music

  • Beyoncé: The Trope Codifier after going from a member of a girl group to being a solo artist in the early 2000s. Many of her hits embody different aspects of the trope, making her not only a well known musician but a feminist icon that embraces the power and positive attributes of the diva. She is fierce, remarkably talented, and her flawless sense of poise has fans laud as Queen Bee. She can do no wrong even when she makes mistakes.
  • Barbara Streisand's long career, distinctive and powerful singing voice, and outspokenness have long branded her a Diva.
  • Diana Ross was a well-known diva of the Motown era, and is the real-life inspiration of Deena from Dreamgirls.
  • The Italian born Egyptian singer Dalida is also, if not a tragic, Trope Codifier. Often going for the dramatics while on stage with her long golden hair and long gowns, having her heart broken many times and channeling it by singing with powerful emotion, and ended her life saying "Life is unbearable... Forgive me..." She's a popular French icon and her image is popular with drag queens.
  • Nicki Minaj: Her public persona is extremely flashy and at times even erratic but she definitely qualifies. You don't get to be the highest selling female rapper without hustling, and holding your ground. She says that when Lil' Wayne says that he doesn't want to talk to anybody, and wants everything ready for him, he's being a boss, but when she does the same thing, she's a bitch.
  • Rihanna: She's become prominent in fashion circles for her cutting edge sense of style and appreciation for couture. Known for throwing shade via Twitter or in Funny Background Events. Her music has a certain edge of maturity and darkness to it, particularly after the physical assault case with Chris Brown.

Professional Wrestling

  • Yumi Ohka, a voice actress recruited by JD Star for it's "Athress" program, almost immediately made her idol aspirations known, sung her own entrance music and even put on performances in the middle of JD Star shows. Unlike her Tag Team partner, The Bloody, Ohka seemed to take the athress mission of ascending beyond pro wrestling to mainstream media stardom seriously, even if she did focus on music rather than acting. This became a weakness, as though she still trained hard enough in pro wrestling to help The Bloody win the TWF Tag titles JD was using, they went on to lose the belts when rival team Crow and Fang challenged them to a barbed wire steel cage death match, knowing such a stipulation would put the image conscious Ohka at a disadvantage. Outside of JD Star, the athress program was seen as an insult to pro wrestling and Ohka initially floundered when JD Star closed down. However, she endured the jokes, kept singing, won several tournaments in Pro Wrestling Wave and finally became a champion of something other than Dramatic Dream Team's parody ironman heavymetal weight division again after a nine year drought.
  • Melina Perez is one of the few pro wrestlers to be a diva in this sense, rather than the usual pro wrestling version of a slap happy slut. Melina was a very high maintenance fashionista who justified her excesses by reminding every available ear how good she was at what she did, and would aggressively attack, physically, legally or otherwise, anyone who dared disagree, was simply not submissive enough in her presence or messed up something she valued. That said, she loved John Morrison(who was a basically a male Alpha Bitch and almost a male version of this trope) and would show begrudging respect to opponents who 'keep her on her toes', to paraphrase Perez herself. "Respect" didn't stop her from furiously trying to destroy those "In her way" but her famous rivalry with Mickie James did soften Perez a bit when James returned that respect, leading a beautiful friendship.
  • Jillian Hall could be considered as much a parody as possible, given the term "diva" tends to have very different connotations in pro wrestling. She was confident, ran her own businesses at various points and frequently sung songs of trope codifier Beyonce...or rather butchered them. Jillian was a terrible singer oblivious to her shortcomings. What friends she did make she ended up abandoning or turning on Hall due her ego, aside from Cloud Cuckoolander Tag Team London and Kendrick and the hedonistic Kaitie Lea. Despite being a decent at worst wrestler, she's best remembered for always losing in WWE. Some of her ventures would start off promising but always ended up going bust in spectacular fashion, except, ironically enough, an album released on I-tunes, which out sold one released by her better singing rival Lillian Garcia.

Theater

  • Dreamgirls: Of the Dreams, Effie fits the archetype the most — being the confident, self-centered, big-voiced, narcissistic member who is eventually left behind by the group. Deena, inspired by Diana Ross and played by Beyonce, may also count.
  • Parodied in Spamalot with the Lady of the Lake's "The Diva's Lament", in which the character is portrayed as a diva complaining about her lack of stage time.
    "''This is one unhappy diva
    The producers have deceived her
    There is nothing I can sing from my heart
    Whatever happened to my part?"''
  • Beatrice Stockwell, the in-universe actress who plays the Chaperone in the Show Within a Show of The Drowsy Chaperone is a classic diva. She's an older actress who still is trying to command stardom. Apparently she demanded that she sing a "rousing anthem" in every play she appeared in, and throughout "As We Stumble Along" transparently tries to upstage her younger co-star, by standing in front of her and moving various objects to hide her from the audience.

Video Games

  • Arms: Twintelle, the eldest of the female characters, marked by her glamorous lifestyle. She's a movie star, and much more refined and mature than Teen Idol Ribbon Girl.
  • Overwatch brings us...well, D.Va (real name Hana Song), an internationally famous Korean pro gamer, movie star and musician turned MEKA pilot (who live streams her battles against Kaiju sized Omnics). Her personality is a little more immature and bratty than most examples, but she certainly has the flair for the dramatic and the snark down.
    "Is this easy mode?"
  • Dee Vasquez of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a confident, seductive, assertive show business mogul.
  • The Sims 3: has the Diva trait if you have the Showtime expansion. Give that trait to your Sim, and he/she will likely to slap someone when insulted, break up with someone after an argument, is hard to impress, can compliment themselves, and have a boost if they have the Singer career.

Western Animation

  • Rarity of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is Ponyville's fashionista, and has an obsessive affinity with style and glamor. However, while she is superficial and at times incredibly melodramatic and snobbish, she fall short of being an Alpha Bitch due to her generous and often well meaning nature. Also, despite some delusions of grandeur, the show averts Ambition Is Evil by having Rarity a sometimes successful business and social climber, when for morally acceptable figures at least.
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