Come on in! ItÃ‚â€™s MariahÃ‚â€™s house
The marble! The gold! The decor tricks you can steal! On the eve of her huge new album, surprisingly grounded superstar Carey opened her home and her heart to writer Carole Radziwill.
to watch Mariah's "10 Things You Don't Know About Me"
I have to confess: I had never met a diva before Mariah Carey. I wasnÃ‚â€™t even sure what one was, so I looked it up. First definition: a woman of outstanding and rare singing talent. Second definition: someone who is difficult to deal with. IÃ‚â€™d met plenty of second-definition divas but never an actual one, so, naturally, I had outfit angst. What do you wear to meet a woman who sings in octaves most of us barely know exist? A ball gown? No, too dressy, plus mine has a burn on the sleeve. Jeans? No, too disrespectful. Red lipstick? No, too much
. I settled on white pants, an AC/DC concert T-shirt and Chanel lip gloss. Meanwhile, Mariah answered the door herself, low-key, in a ponytail and pink hoodie. So this, I thought, is a diva?
And after spending two hours chatting with her at Tommy HilfigerÃ‚â€™s beach house in East Hampton, New York, which Mariah had rented to work on her latest album (still unnamed as of press time), I realized the diva thing is only something we see on TV. In reality, this megastar was once a shy kid who was self-conscious about her multiracial identity, which marked her as different in the cookie-cutter suburbs of Long Island, New York, where she grew up. After what felt like a lifetime of hard knocksÃ‚â€”her parents divorced when she was three years old and her mother moved the family from one place to another, sometimes barely making ends meetÃ‚â€”she had her first best-selling album and her first seven-figure paycheck by 20, and a wedding train longer than Princess DiÃ‚â€™s at 23. (She married Tommy Mottola, then chairman of her record labelÃ‚â€™s parent company, Sony Music, in 1993.) That may sound like a fairy tale, but CareyÃ‚â€™s the first to scoff at those who say it wasÃ‚â€”she paid her own way to the ball!
Her marriage ended in divorce in 1998. Then, in 2001, Mariah checked herself into a hospital for exhaustion, creating a tabloid frenzy. But two months later she was onstage again, serenading the nation at the 9/11 Ã‚â€œAmerica: A Tribute to HeroesÃ‚â€ telethon. Now, at 37, sheÃ‚â€™s sold 160 million albums worldwide, earned five Grammys and is tied for number-one hits in the United States with none other than Elvis Presley. Oh, and she launched her own M by Mariah Carey fragrance in September and is preparing for her new album tour. Privately, the star with a set of pipes and a sense of humor (she dubbed her home with ex Mottola Ã‚â€œSing SingÃ‚â€) has created her own paradise in New YorkÃ‚â€™s Tribeca neighborhood, where she moved in 2001. ItÃ‚â€™s a triplex penthouse apartment decorated in shades of gold and pink, with framed family snapshots covering practically every surface. At the photo shoot, Mariah gave me a complete home tour and opened up about everything from her obsession with lounge chairs to her dysfunctional childhood and her current love life.
Thank God, I told her, for that childhood. Had she grown up like every other girl on Long Island, she probably wouldnÃ‚â€™t have had the ambition to make it so big.
Glamour: I watched you on YouTube last night, singing Ã‚â€œAmerica the BeautifulÃ‚â€ at the NBA finals in 1990Ã‚â€”one of your earliest TV appearances [at age 20].
I was a little malnourished, wasnÃ‚â€™t I?
Glamour: Yes, you looked like you weighed 80 pounds. And most of that was hair.
[Laughs.] Well, I did my own hair then. No one even knew who I was! I was such a little girl.
Glamour: How old were you when you got your first big paycheck?
I was about 20. I went from having to getting a publishing advance of , million.
Glamour: Tell me about your so-called Cinderella story.
[Laughs.] When Tommy [Mottola] signed me, I had two other record deals pending. I had already put in the hard work and I had my life planned but nobody likes to talk about that. I guess fairy tales make better stories.
Glamour: Yes, they do. What advice would you give that little girl now? Or someone like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears who always seems to be messing up?
I wouldnÃ‚â€™t want to speak to those people specifically, but I would say you need to be very centered, and spiritually know where youÃ‚â€™re at, all the time. DonÃ‚â€™t read the tabloids. DonÃ‚â€™t be obsessed with what people are writing or saying. Live your life for you. My lifestyle has changed since making it. ItÃ‚â€™s not a financial struggle, but IÃ‚â€™m still struggling in a lot of ways.
To read the rest of the interview with Mariah and see exclusive photos inside her home, pick up the November issue of Glamour magazine
on newsstands now.