Princess Ariana Austin Makonnen

Philanthropist, Filmmaker, Writer

Princess Ariana Makonnen was born on January 6, 1984 to an American father and Guyanese mother. She married Prince Joel Dawit Makonnen of Ethiopia in September 2017.

She began her career as a teacher and freelance journalist in Paris, France. Inspired by the nighttime arts festival, Nuit Blanche, which she enjoyed while living in Paris, she founded and directed Art All Night, a festival that reimagined public space and enlivened the streets of Washington, D.C. with visual arts, live paintings, musical performances, poetry readings, and light projections. The festival was an immediate success and attracted audiences of 30,000+ people. After 5 years, Ariana started her own creative agency, French Thomas where she produced dynamic cultural and educational experiences in Washington, D.C. New York City, and Camden, New Jersey.

Today, Princess Ariana works full-time in philanthropy where she continues to channel her passion for culture, education, and communities. In addition, she serves as the Goodwill Ambassador of Friends of Guyana, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting education, cultural, and environmental programs in and about Guyana. She is a graduate of Harvard University.