The music legend on the holidays, life as a mom and coming up the hard way.
Mariah Carey is all we ever want for Christmas…and Valentine’s Day, and our birthday and every other day of the year. Not only has the Elusive Chanteuse and “songbird supreme” staked her claim on the Yuletide festivities with her #1 single in 1994, she’s also carved out a place in our everyday (glitter-flecked) lives with her smash hit-studded contributions to pop music over the past 25 years. Mariah is a genuine icon, famed for her five octave-spanning voice, which is a gift to us all.
What makes you feel the most fabulous?
Having a fantastic person do my makeup and hair. That’s pampering at its peak.
What can’t a true diva live without?
Dahhling, the word “diva” is so overused. Being the child of an opera singer, I’ve been hearing that word all my life. The true definition of a diva is a great singer – usually an opera singer. And then there’s the negative connotation of being a diva, as it’s understood today in modern society. The connotation is that of a difficult woman, and I don’t find myself difficult. I try to be as accommodating and as nice as possible, whenever possible. But I want what I want and I know what I like. And that’s it!
What’s your favourite quality in a woman?
And in yourself?
My sense of humour.
What’s something you enjoy that’s very domestic that would surprise most people?
I love to cook. I really love making my father’s linguine with white clam sauce, and I also love to cook a lot during the holidays for my friends and me.
Did becoming a mother change you in any way?
Yes. I had a very difficult pregnancy. Having twins is really hard. It’s not like having a single-birth pregnancy. But I wouldn’t change that for the world. My children are my two best friends and I just love them more than life itself. I enjoy watching their personalities develop, and love talking to them and listening to them talk to each other because they’re also each other’s best friends.
What is it like to raise a daughter in the public eye? Are there any aspects, in particular, of which you’re most conscious?
She’s already saying, “I want to be up on stage!” She’s telling me this, and I don’t want to force her to do any of these things. But she already has such an ear for singing! I just really don’t want to force her into it too much because I want to let her be her own person and live up to her own personality.
You’ve said you’d like to do more acting — what is the ultimate Mariah Carey role?
I’m working on a feature movie right now with director Brett Ratner and New Line Cinema that’s hopefully going to be ready by next Christmas. It started from a project that I brought to the table. I’m an executive producer of the film as well. I have a part in the movie, so that’s something I’m really looking forward to. It’s a comedic film. I think it’ll allow people to see something that’s different from who I was in Precious. I really wanted to do something fun, light and unexpected.
You’ve talked before about how people perceive your race and the assumptions that come with that. How have you navigated that in such a public space?
It hasn’t been easy. It’s still not easy. A lot of people still don’t know how to take me and how to categorize me. That’s because we live in a society where a lot of people have to be put into a box to make other people feel comfortable. And I guess I don’t really do that very well; I think it’s about me being at ease with who I am and not having to worry about labeling myself.
What’s the difference between you and some of the younger pop stars emerging onto the scene?
I don’t factor age into anything. But the difference between someone who just started doing this and me is – there’s too many to name – but I’ve paid a lot of dues and did a lot of things that paved the way for a lot of people. And a lot of other people paved the way for me. I think as long as we can continue to acknowledge that and recognize that this didn’t all happen by accident, that’s the best way to do it. I mean, some people become Instagram-famous and then they have a career. I didn’t go that route. I didn’t go the American Idol route. I was on American Idol, but I didn’t come up that way. I started out as a formal singer and paid my dues that way. I worked very hard and put in all the work – travelling the world, promoting for years and years, even when I didn’t really have to do that. But I did it all because I love music. I think that’s the main thing: I do it because I love music and I love entertaining.
What’s the quintessential Mariah beauty secret?
As much sleep as possible. I don’t get nearly enough hours of sleep. I’d ideally like ten hours of sleep a night if I could!
Complete this sentence: All Mariah Carey wants for Christmas is…
Peace on Earth!