Singer Mariah Carey has recalled a moment when she felt she “didn’t fit in” with beauty ideals. The 52-year-old singer said that her biracial heritage set her apart as “other” when she was growing up in a small town on New York’s Long Island.
The ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ hitmaker said that her family, at that time, didn’t have the money for her to spend on looking after her appearance.
She told PEOPLE: “That’s when I learned I was definitely ‘other.’ It would’ve been great to actually be a chameleon, but I didn’t have the tools for it, meaning we didn’t have money.”
“For people in the white neighbourhoods where we lived, it was clear that I was mixed with something. I wasn’t, like, the little girl living next door, with the silky long hair and freckles,” she shared.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s what beauty is supposed to be.’ And I didn’t fit in with that. I had, like, three shirts, and my hair was textured, honey. But it was several textures, and we were not working together. I don’t wanna use the word ‘neglected,’ but it wasn’t a fashion show,” Mariah added.
Asked what she’d tell her 12-year-old self, she said: “‘Save up your money. Buy some conditioner and a comb, just wet your hair, keep the conditioner on it, and let it air-dry. You’ll be okay.’ Oh, and I would’ve said, ‘Please don’t shave your eyebrows. It’s never gonna look good on you.'”
Mariah has channelled her childhood experiences into her new kids’ book, “The Christmas Princess”, with a positive message at the heart of the story.
She said: “It’s a lot about surviving the bullies that are making the main character feel ashamed of who she is. She survives and finds her destiny. Her music rescues her. It’s not a Prince Charming who comes in. She saves her own day,” she said.