Mariah Carey and Meghan Markle Share Experience Growing Up Mixed-Race: ‘People Want You To Choose’
Carey was featured on Archetypes’ episode “The Duality of Diva,” which explored how the word “diva” can mean super-glam, but also sometimes gets a bad rep. As per Markle herself, diva so often means “glamour and power and elegance,” but is also particularly associated with female celebs’ “extra” behavior like that rumor Carey only bathed in French mineral water. Spoiler alert: it’s not true, she actually bathes in milk (really).
“Extraness” aside, Markle and Carey’s conversation is a must-listen, chock-full of gems about their shared experience growing up as mixed-race. With Markle being born to a white father and Black mother, and Carey counting herself as white and Black Venezuelan-American on her father’s side, the two spoke at length about representation, fitting in, and even their natural hair texture.
Markle told the “Songbird Supreme” that she always looked up to the singer growing up, describing, “You came onto the scene, I was like ‘Oh, my gosh. Someone kind of looks like me.’” The Duchess then went on to talk about just how “formative” seeing the “Hero” singer on television was for her.
She said, “representation matters so much” while also describing how difficult it is “when you are a woman and you don’t see a woman who looks like you somewhere in a position of power or influence, or even just on the screen.”
The Duchess explained how she relates deeply to Carey as both are “light-skinned”: “You’re not treated as a Black woman. You’re not treated as a white woman. You sort of fit in between.” Meanwhile, Carey agreed, recalling: “People want you to choose.” The singer also said she never “fit in” and that her family often experienced racism.
The two also had a conversation about their natural hair texture that had us smiling from ear to ear.
Carey explained that “nobody knew how to do [her] hair” growing up, particularly because her mother is white. “I think sometimes when it’s the other way around, you get the benefit of someone who has dealt with textured hair.” After fame, her natural curls were often “shellacked” or weighed down with “hair grease” by hairdressers that did not know how to work with her texture.
Similarly, Markle said her hair is “so curly and so, so thick,” remembering how her grandmother once told her to “hold on to the sink” as she tried to brush her curls.
While the two were nothing short of vibing throughout the conversation, it did get a little awkward at one point. Speaking about the polarizing word “diva,” Markle said: “Yes, the diva thing we can play into. I mean, it’s not something that I connect to…” but Carey stopped her right in her tracks.
The singer interjected, “You give us diva moments sometimes, Meghan,” while the Duchess replied quizzically, “What kind of diva moments do I give you?” and laughed nervously, “Do you see me right now?!”
At that point, Carey explained she meant Markle gives diva moments with “the visual,” describing, “Let’s pretend you weren’t so beautiful, and didn’t have the whole thing, and didn’t often have gorgeous ensembles… I don’t care, when I can, I’m going to give you ‘diva.’”
Later on in the episode, Markle described how she heard Carey’s comment as “a dig,” not as a compliment. She said, “I don’t know about you, but it stopped me in my tracks when she called me a diva. You couldn’t see me, obviously, but I started to sweat a little bit.”
The Duchess said she started “squirming” in her chair when that moment happened, asking herself what “nonsense” Carey must have read “to make her say that.” She said she felt her “girl crush” on Carey coming to a “quick demise.”
But when Carey explained that she meant diva as a way to positively comment on Markle’s beauty and wardrobe, the former actress noted: “When she said diva, she was talking about the way that I dress, the posture, the clothing, the ‘fabulousness’ as she sees it. She meant diva as a compliment.” In that way, she realized “how one very charged word can mean something different for each of us.”
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