When Mariah Carey teeters on skyscraper heels into one of her favourite restaurants in downtown Manhattan, every head in the house swivels.
The singer is a stunning sight to behold. With flawless skin, long tousled, honey-coloured hair, endless sun-kissed legs and Marilyn Monroe-type curves, she is the epitome of glamour.
"Darling! There you are!" she enthuses, proffering kisses on both cheeks as we sit to chat about her 14th album, Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse.
Since her last record, Mariah, 44, and her husband - actor, rapper and comedian Nick Cannon, 33 - have had twins, Moroccan and Monroe - affectionately nicknamed Dem Babies - who're now three.
"This album is about reclaiming myself and showing that since I became a mother I've become a stronger person," says Mariah. "This album really does have so much of my emotions invested in it and so much that I wanted to reveal about my life, including the peaks and valleys that have made me who I am."
Wife, mother, international megastar and friend of the Obamas there certainly is a lot to reveal about Mariah...
Mariah, how easy has it been to fit motherhood into your role of global superstar?
I don't really see myself as a global superstar, more as a very blessed, happy working mother. but yes, becoming a mommy has certainly changed me, both personally and professionally. Now it's not about me, it's all about them and I just want to do the right things so their childhood can be as beautiful and happy as possible.
I love being a silly girl, I really do; riding rollercoasters and going to Disney World and all that sort of thing. And I get to live it all over again with the children. Now I only watch animation with the children because Dem Babies are very picky and like to watch cartoons until they go to sleep.
I never expected to have these two amazing little people come along and change my life the way they have. I still call them babies although they're growing up fast. maybe it's because I want to protect them as much as possible. I asked for this very public life, but they didn't.
Are you planning to have more children?
I'm very happy with my two babies and they have a mummy and a daddy who love them very much. I had a tough, tough pregnancy because I was carrying twins... By the end I could hardly walk and I had to have a lot of bed rest. But I don't want to dwell on that or sound as if I'm complaining, because I know I'm very blessed.
What's your secret to a happy marriage?
It's a constant journey to find out what that secret is, but everyone has to go through the ups and downs of life. In a marriage you don't control your partner and you can't police what they say. Sometimes that's a little hard to get used to.
You must have found it difficult when, in a recent interview, Nick mentioned some of his ex-girlfriends, including Kim Kardashian?
It's true that I am probably more private than Nick is, although I think because he's a comedian he's more used to putting it out there than I am.
Is it true you've never heard of Kim Kardashian?
Of course I've heard of her, but I don't really watch reality television.
You've sung for President Obama at the White House more than once. How was that?
It was very humbling to sing for the First Family, I revere both Barack and Michelle enormously. He's so special and she's phenomenal. I'll never forget that eventful night when I heard he had won the presidency. It was like a dream. I could never imagined that a Bi-racial President would be in the White House in my lifetime and it's important for my children to see that as well. Funnily enough, Barack and Michelle were the first people other than my immediate family who knew that I was expecting twins. They wee attending a special Christmas gala that I was performing at in 2010. They were thrilled and I was very happy that they were the first to know.
You're one of the biggest selling female artists of all time. How does that make you feel?
I'm very proud of what I've achieved so far, but clearly I'm not one to sit back and do nothing. I always look ahead... I want to continue trying to make music that inspires people. I'm an achiever and that's partly because I had it so tough early on... I'm such and achiever that it's difficult for me to relax and let myself get some sleep. I'm very hard on myself, actually. believe me, you son't want to be here all day around me, because it's hard work.
All that success can result in a lot of media attention, some unwanted. Do you ever wish your fame would go away?
Not really. I love what I do. Things are sometimes written which can be hurtful, but mostly I can shake off anything that isn't true and concentrate on the music.
You must be bored of the diva tag by now.
I guess people like to put you in a little box and that box fitted me because I have the big hair and wear the tight dresses on stage. But that doesn't mean I'm difficult or nasty. I was on the first Divas Live show [in the US] and that seemed to kick the whole thing off.
My mother, an opera singer, used to use the term as a compliment it meant a very talented singer. I looked it up in a dictionary recently and now it also means a difficult and demanding woman. But I'm only demanding of myself. In other ways I'm pretty down to earth. For instance, I'm grateful for my career, I value my friendships, and I'm very loyal. All my friends know MC keeps her word and I never divulge secrets.
What's the most over-the-top thing you've ever read about yourself?
A story in the British press said I'd demanded that rose petals be scattered on the carpet of a London hotel when I arrived.
The truth is, we'd just arrived, it was 3am in the morning, and all I wanted to do was go to my room. The back entrance would have been fine, never mind rose petals. I'd never ask for anything like that. But that sort of stuff is written about me all the time and people believe it so I've learnt to shrug it off.
Did that put you off coming to Britain?
Not at all. I love going to the UK and adore everything about it even the weather. I have a lot of friends there and visit quite often. Do you know what I really appreciate? The British sense of humour. It has a certain cheekiness about it that I really like. I get it. Well, I think I get it...
Do you have any goals left?
I definitely want to do more films, especially in the independent sector. It's a medium I love and I really want to grow as an actor. And there are a couple of exciting projects looming. I've always been an optimist. If you're constantly thinking 'Oh this sucks, nothing's ever going to be right,' then it won't be. Me? I like to keep moving forward and I always trust that everything will work out in the end. And somehow, it always does.