Photo: Vanity Fair
If we’re talking about a diva, a perfect example would be Mariah Carey, the legendary singer-songwriter who popularly burst in a bathtub wearing 6-inch stiletto heels during a televised tour of the house.
Though Carey served and ate the word “diva” – in her own way – Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, hasn’t gotten there yet. Especially when the music icon claims that the Duchess has pleased the audience with “diva moments.”
On an episode of Archetypes, a podcast hosted by Meghan which navigates “the labels and tropes that try to hold women back,” she talks to Carey about the “duality of a diva.”
Dressed in a sequined evening dress, Carey talks about being raised by a diva (her mother was an opera singer) and how that came to understand the word diva. Carey was torn when Duchess Meghan asked if diva was “a compliment or a criticism.”
“I think it’s both,” she answers. “For me, I think it’s both. I do because I mean, I know the origin of the word.”
Her mother used this word when talking about someone. But young Carrie wasn’t quite sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. All she knew was that there was a certain “grandeur” to the way her mother used it.
“It’s very much the grandeur of it all, is what I envisioned,” Carey recounts.
“Glamorized and fabulous and whatever. And then as things evolved, the past 20 years – I don’t know numbers – the diva, they mean you’re a successful woman, usually. But also, forgive me if we’re not allowed to say the B-word, but a B-I-T-C-H. Like, it’s not okay for you to be a boss. It’s not okay for you to be a strong woman, you know what I mean?”
Carey then throws herself into her harsh upbringing and Meghan insists it was a strong will to be a diva for Carey and see an indication of success where she came from, and that living up to the term for all its not-so-good definitions was some kind of defense mechanism.
“I agree with you, but I think on top of that, it’s also for laughs,” Carey continued. “Half of it is just for laughs.”
The podcast discussion is also worth the ear for Carey’s iconic MTV Cribs appearance recordings.
“Some people took it so seriously when you were in your stilettos and getting in the bath. Everything was all extra and super over-the-top,” Meghan states of that iconic moment, while Carey reminisces memories of growing up in “plenty shacks.”
“And I think that’s really important for people to remember, that there might be this persona, and yes, the diva thing we can play into. I mean, it’s not something that I connect to, but for you – “ Meghan starts, ahead of Carey interfering.
“You give us diva moments sometimes, Meghan. Don’t even act like…” Carey jokes, with Meghan gently protesting.
Carey then clears out: “It’s the visual. It’s the visual. A lot of it is the visual. But let’s pretend that you weren’t so beautiful and didn’t have the whole thing and didn’t often have gorgeous ensembles. You wouldn’t maybe get as much diva.”
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Meghan Not Quite Sure about the Term Diva
Of course, Carey portrays much of a diva for laughs, but during an interview, she walks around her own home in a stunning evening gown because she wants to and can.
“People strive for divadom,” she says to Meghan. “Revel in it!”
However, Meghan is obviously ambivalent about doing so. Following the interview, she confesses she was shocked when Mimi referred to her – the Duchess of Sussex, of all people – as a diva.
“My mind genuinely was just spinning with what nonsense she must have read or clicked on to make her say that,” she admits. “I just kept thinking in that moment, ‘Was my girl crush coming to a quick demise? Does she actually not see me?”
Meghan adds: “So she must have felt my nervous laughter, and you all would have heard it too, and she jumped right in to make sure I was crystal-clear when she said ‘diva,’ she was talking about the way I dress, the posture, the clothing. The quote-unquote fabulousness, as she sees it. She meant diva as a compliment, but I heard it as a dig.”
For Carey, the word diva is as cozy as sequins throughout the day. But for Meghan, someone who managed to take down the royal family with an interview with Oprah donning a Giorgio Armani gown, maybe diva hits a tad bit close to home.
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