Stylist’s digital writer Megan Murray spoke to the woman, the myth, the legend that is Mariah Carey and it was…bizarre and brilliant in equal measure.
There are megastars, and then there’s Mariah Carey. Her fame is such a universally acknowledged fact that when I told my friends that I would be calling her from my tiny flat in east London one night to speak to her about the 25th anniversary of All I Want For Christmas Is You, their eyes widened with confounded wonder and one of them almost fell off their chair.
In fact, in their tiny, confused pupils I saw myself contort and mutate into someone more successful by my fractional, momentary association with her. To my pals, I was now a ‘big deal’ simply by her knowing I exist.
Their reaction was in no way surprising. Carey’s glittering (sorry) career has seen her as a 90s fashion icon, warbling songs that were crucial to my musical education like Heartbreaker, rocking a crochet bra and seriously low-slung jeans. She’s the first person to ever get their first five singles to the top of the US charts. She’s collaborated with artists such as Jay-Z, Missy Elliott and Snoop Dogg. She’s got her own alter ego. She’s the closest thing we’ll ever get to Ms Claus. She’s Mariah-bloody-Carey.
But though they, and my colleagues, were understandably excited for me (read: begging to come to my house and listen in on loudspeaker, which I declined, obviously, because I am a serious and professional journalist), I was terrified. You see, Carey has undoubtedly got a big energy.
Think riding the subway in a floor-length, sequin-encrusted turquoise gown (oh, she swims in formal wear and heels, too), bathing in milk and having one of the most straight-talking attitudes in the business. All of which she is, of course, adored for.
So, as I sit on a conference call to America waiting for the woman herself to dial in, I am understandably a little nervous. And then something miraculous happened, Mariah Carey was a total and utter legend.
“Helloooo! How are you?!” her all-American accent enthusiastically booms down the line, as she warmly thanks me for making the time to speak to her, and into Carey’s world I go…
You’ve done a Christmas advert with Walkers, which is a very British brand. Are you ready for a quick fire round of questions to test your British-ness? Let’s start with how you eat scones, jam or cream first?
[British accent] What would you do darrrling? You’re the expert?! I don’t know – I think I’d go for a touch of cream and then a little splash of strawberry jam.
Okay, what about your tea - would you dunk your biscuit in it? And is it milk before or after?
No way, I’m not a dunker. I mean, I would hope that most people would put their milk in after, but I don’t know. There’s all these tea rumours out there.
So this Christmas will mark the 25 year anniversary of your iconic hit, All I Want For Christmas Is You. How are you planning on celebrating?
Well, I have a lot of different things I’m doing. There’s a Christmas concert in Vegas in December, that’s really a family show that’s going to be a lot of fun and a great way to end the year because I love Christmas so much. We’re also doing a small tour of the East Coast and ending that on the 15 December at Madison Square Garden.
Do you have any Christmas traditions you do every year?
I have a lot of favourite Christmas traditions – I look forward to Christmas the whole year round! We go to Aspen, which is my favourite place to celebrate Christmas because it’s always snowy and it’s one of the best places ever.
We do all sorts of things, we go on a sleigh ride with the kids and my extended family, I cook, Santa Claus comes over – I know it sounds like I’m making it up but it’s true – I know him personally, he’s my dude. We have live reindeer. It’s an extravaganza!
What did Christmas look like for you 25 years ago, just before this album came out?
Well, somebody was probably rocking me in a cradle because I was only one years old! It’s all been very magical – and it still is! That’s why it’s so important to celebrate this anniversary, because it’s such an amazing accomplishment.
Wow, that’s amazing to have achieved such levels of success before your first birthday?
I know RIGHT? That’s what I’ve been trying to tell everyone. That’s why it’s so important we celebrate!
What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
Now, I’m not trying to be super serious, but I am going to answer this one in a serious way. It would have to be the unconditional love of my kids.
Well, when you put it like that, there’s nothing better. What about the best gift you’ve ever given someone?
Anyone who comes along with me in my little winter wonderland, that’s giving them quite a gift by bringing them there. But I have bought cars and stuff for people like that, you know, extravagant things…
And that’s it, my time with Carey is over and she’s been a whirlwind. Silly and sarcastic, fun and frank but really, anything but terrifying.
Mariah Carey is the star of the new Walkers Christmas campaign. As well as starring in the Walkers Christmas TV advert, the superstar will also appear on packets of Walkers crisps nationwide and on social media until the end of the year. Keep an eye on the Walkers social channels to find out what’s to come!