If you didn’t know Mariah Carey in the 90s, you would just think she was another Hollywood train wreck with a great voice. She may have hit her prime in the 90s but lately she’s made top headlines and it’s not for her famed vocals. She’s had a very public break up with millionaire investor James Packer and a reality show which apparently flopped. To top it all, there was that very cringe worthy New Year’s Eve performance where she was victim of a tech fail – leaving her with not much else to do except prance around on stage pretending to sing to music she couldn’t hear.
There were times when life was easier on Mariah – a lot easier. In 1990, she shot to fame with the song “Vision of Love” and things only went up from there. Her Rainbow and Honey album and all the marketing collateral that came with it would be THE poster teenage boys would ogle at. Her videos would have many young girls imitating her dance moves in their living room.
In her youth, she was curvy but just the right amount. Plus – no one could dance and sing live like Mariah. She has a reputation for being a big diva and difficult to work with but there’s no denying that she has more than her fair share of talent (ok, maybe not in acting but definitely singing and dancing). This is a tribute to the talent that she is despite what’s going on in her life at the moment.
15. Mariah In Honey
Mariah will always be known for her high notes but the “Honey” video raised Mariah’s hottie status a few bars higher when it came out. Maybe it was the white bikini or her wetsuit- and who could forget the military jumpsuit she wore while sitting on Mase’s lap. Her acting may not be so great but she can rock a music video that commands attention. Remember the scene where she comes out of the pool? I’m not sure if there was a real plot in the video but somehow she finds herself bound in rope speaking Spanish. We’ve seen Mariah’s weight fluctuate in recent years but during this period in her career, she showed up consistently toned and leaned. Boys wanted to date her and girls wanted to be her. This is a classic R&B video from the 90s that should make it into the music hall of fame.
14. Mariah In Rainbow
There is the magic of photoshop but I was there when Mariah went on the Rainbow tour – the pictures didn’t really lie. When her Rainbow album launched, Mariah was pretty fit, as most artists are when they are on tour. Her “Heartbreak” video featuring Jay Z was not only a clever collaboration, it also became a hit that topped radio charts. Even though critics slammed it, citing it was too similar to her other hit single “Fantasy,” the song hit the top of the charts. The album didn’t reach number one like the song or other albums but she did sell over 300,000 albums in the first week of sales (you know, back when people actually purchase albums). First came her album Butterfly and then Rainbow it really did seem like life was much simple for Mariah then. It’s a far departure from her life now where she is known for her recent divorces and reality show.
13. The Slinky Silver Number
If sex sells than Mariah’s “Touch My Body” music video should have sold millions of albums for her. In this video, Mariah welcomes a geeky type guy into her home dressed in nothing but a silk robe and black lingerie. In the video they’re running around playing laser tag, pillow fights, frisbee- pretty much every guy’s fantasy. The main chorus sees Mariah in a skin-hugging silver dress that leaves very little to the imagination. Hey- the song is called “Touch my body,” you’d expect that from a hip hop video! Hey when you’ve got it, you flaunt it. Mariah reportedly lost 20 pounds for this music video, making her the fittest and most toned she’d been for awhile. It was this song that made Mariah the solo artist who sold the most single in the U.S.- but some may have preferred her videos over her music.
12. Mariah In Clash
We’ve seen her weight fluctuate throughout her career but regardless of her size, she always looks great- with a little help from Photoshop, of course. Though she’s definitely slimmed down in recent months, critics wondered if her latest cover on Clash Magazine had gone too far with the retouching. The media questioned whether Mariah was setting unrealistic body image standards, especially from someone as influential as she is. In this issue, she is seen posing in lingerie that leaves very little to the imagination. This isn’t the first time she’s been accused of heavy retouching on her photos. Her Instagram feed has also had fans and critics alike wondering how real those photos of her were. She’s not the first celebrity or influencer to be called out for retouching Instagram moments but with a diva -ize reputation, all eyes will always be watching her every move. It’s the price of fame…
11. Mariah Carey Pre-Motherhood
Here’s young Mariah Carey before she married Nick Cannon and went on to have twins. Good looks are a ticket to Hollywood status but it’s substance and actual talent that determines whether you stay in the spotlight. When you can sing, act and dance, you are known as the triple threat. She can sing, there’s no doubt about that. But many have questioned her skills as an actress (like that time she starred in Glitter). Her fans are forgiving because her voice more than compensates for her acting stills. In fact, it’s said that at the age of two, her vocal talent was discovered while she was mimicking singing opera. From that point, a star had been discovered and she started singing lessons at age four. It would be awhile before Mariah got her big break with hits like “Dream Lover” and “Vision of Love.”
10. Mariah Carey As A Mermaid
This picture shows that Mariah Carey has more assets than her legs – the same legs that are worth $1 million. That’s right, when Mariah signed a contract with Gillette, she insured her pins for a total of $1 million. The brand collaboration was part of a nationwide search for the most beautiful legs in the US to promote Gillette’s Venus Razor. They even went on to create a 15 foot statue of her legs. When it comes to assets, Mariah sure knows how to flaunt them. Her wardrobe choices in life and on stage all play up her long, toned legs. No one knows how much the brand ambassadorship cost but if she insured her legs for $1 million, I imagine it wouldn’t have been cheap. Regardless, you can’t deny that she has business sense and knows her worth. You don’t get the reputation of a diva just by being nice.
9. Mariah Pre-Instagram
For a diva who supposedly has a no eye contact policy, she shares a lot to her fans and critics. Browse through her Instagram feed and you’ll find many photos that take you into her glamorous life. Just like her recent marketing posters promoting her Las Vegas show, she leaves very little to the imagination – like the pictures of her posing in a bathtub or most pictures with her where her cleavage is hanging out. I’m on board with the philosophy that if you got it, you flaunt it. If she’s comfortable showing her boobs out to the world – why should we be uncomfortable with it? If you’re a boob or a leg man, you won’t be disappointed. Perhaps nudity is something you get used to when you have people primping you from head to toe almost every day of the year. The life of an A list celebrity, I suppose.
8. Mariah Carey Au-Naturel
These photos are proof that she was beautiful without her entourage of groomers and makeup artists. There’s no such thing as overnight success. There was a time this singing diva was just like one of us. Before her big break, Mariah held odd jobs to pay the bills as a hostess, coat-check girl, waitress, and back-up singer for Brenda K. Starr. In one of her concerts, she talks about how she shared a cramped apartment with six other girls who were also trying to make it in the music industry. It’s hard to think this mega star would have come from such humble beginnings but hey – everyone has to start somewhere. If Mariah has taught me anything it’s this – when you have vocals like that, you will find your way to the top. Also, I’ve learned that anyone has the potential to unleash their inner diva despite what their roots are.
7. Mariah In I-D Magazine
2008 was the year E=MC² launched and was a big one for Mariah. The album was one of the first of 11 that shared insights to Mariah’s personal life. Most will remember her hit single and provocative video “Touch My Body.” With the launch of her album came lots of magazine interviews and appearances on talk shows – a time where most artists are at their fittest. Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock but I had never heard of I-D Magazine until I did research for this article. It’s a magazine dedicated to fashion but not the mainstream kind you’d see in the likes of Elle, Glamour or Marie Claire. The cover images above were taken from their 2008 interview with Mariah, and she’s dressed in nothing but a bra, underwear, and what looks like a ripped t-shirt. The shoot didn’t escape photoshop teams but I’m not sure if anyone really cares.
6. The Number One Diva
You don’t get named the #1 diva in the industry for being easy to work with. If you witnessed her awkward six minute New Year’s Eve performance, you may have caught a glimpse of her being a ‘good sport.’ A malfunction with the earpiece prevented her from hearing the music. As a result she had to lip sync (sort of) to her own tracks. She held it together for the crowd (not an easy thing to do) but the frustration on her face was clear – someone was going to get fired. Other diva like behaviors include needing to sleep with 20 humidifiers, not entering hotel rooms unless the red carpet has been rolled out and needing an entourage of 15 to cater to her every need. It’s no wonder she and Nicki Minaj were rumoured to have their disagreements. You can’t have two queen bees running the American Idol hive!
5. Mariah Carey’s Christmas Album
She may have her own reality show Mariah’s World but if there’s one thing that’s consistent in her life it is that she will always have cameras around her, especially with the men she chooses. First it was her marriage to Nick Cannon, second came her engagement to billionaire James Packer- which included a 35-carat diamond ring worth $10 million. They never made it to the altar but it did give her a brand new revenge body. What happened between her and Packer may be kept hush-hush but what we know for sure is that a break up in Hollywood is always followed by someone getting a “break-over” (i.e. makeover after break up). If you’re wondering if she got to keep the ring, the answer is yes! It’s probably one of the most expensive break ups that happened before an actual marriage.
4. She Doesn’t Wake Up Like This
Despite her reputation for being a massive diva, Mariah has a sense of humour. In a promo for her upcoming E! series titled Mariah’s World, she jokes “I just wake up this way, natural – I swear.” She’s high maintenance and owns it. I mean, as if there weren’t enough eyeballs on Mariah’s life, the singer up and decides she hasn’t had enough exposure and signs up for reality TV. It’s a surprising decision considering that most reality TV will spin a story to the point where reality TV isn’t real anymore. Asked why she decided to launch now she said, “I definitely have, but this was different because it was on my terms. This was me doing me. Somebody else can have a perception of how they think you should be filmed and what it should be like, but when it’s my own thing that I’m doing, it’s different.”
3. Mariah Pre-Messy Breakups
This was Mariah pre-messy breakups. Breakups are messy enough as is but when the whole world is watching it unfold, there is very little room to hide. Imagine going through your second divorce and being pressured to talk about it on national television. It’s exactly what she had to do in an interview with talk show host Ellen. When probed about her break up, Mariah blatantly avoided the subject: “It’s kind of difficult to talk about it at the moment,” she explained. “So, I’m just going to compliment you on these decorations once again because they are fabulous, and I am here, among them.” Had she married James Packer, it would have been her third very public marriage. I guess the third time really isn’t the charm. The break up is rumoured to have cost Packer $65 million- which Mariah has pushed as an “inconvenience fee.” This fee includes moving all her stuff out of his mansion.
2. Mariah Back In The Day
For someone who once said “I’m not one of those people that goes into details of my personal life on national TV to get attention. Some things are better left unsaid”, I’m sure fans were shocked when Mariah announced she was launching her own reality TV show. As someone who’s had her life in the spotlight, she’s had plenty of experience with the camera. A show like this was due, especially when you don’t care about what critics think: “If critics have problems with my personal life, it’s their problem. Anybody with half a brain would realize that it’s the charts that count”. Mariah may have had a few not-so-popular albums and movies made but if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that she always knows how to make a comeback.
1. Mariah In Complex Magazine
Mariah donned fishnets and lingerie and posed with a whole bunch of dudes in creepy masks for the cover of Complex magazine. The article is a little dark and covers the hardships and life wins she has gone through. And it’s no surprise. In an age where most people in Hollywood only get 15 minutes of fame, she has made a legacy out of her name. We will be seeing more of her in the eight-part docuseries coming up but don’t expect her to spill the beans on her industry peers. As told to Complex magazine: “Some of us talk about other people and what they do and la la la. But I’m not that person,” Carey said. The series is set to take eager viewers through life backstage, a wedding in the making to a billionaire, a romance brewing on the side and all the drama that comes in between. It may be the guilty pleasure TV show we’ll all get hooked on…maybe.