Mariah Carey

The self-confessed shoe addict shares her style secrets...

Looks Magazine by Frank Peinemann

Looks (UK) September 1998. Text by Renee Stone. Photography by Frank Peinemann.

Her sweet voice has built her a multimillion-dollar empire which allows her to buy all the designer shoes she desires. 'You could describe me as an emotional shopper. No matter what kind of day, good or bad, I hit the stores!' she laughs. With music being her number one priority, Mariah doesn't care if she ends up on a magazine's Worst Dressed list. 'My focus has always been on my craft, my music,' she says. 'Dressing up and working with designers is a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, I'm still a singer/songwriter. I think there are some artists who have taken the fashion thing a bit too seriously and it has hurt their careers. I don't want people to say, "She wears her hat well in that shot," I want them to say, "Isn't that new Mariah Carey song great?"

Where do you think your shoe fetish stems from?
We didn't have much money when I was growing up, so I wore the worst clothes and I only had one pair of shoes, complete with holes in them! They were black, lace-up shoes and caused my feet hell in the cold winter months. They are still hanging up in my closet as a momento. I could never throw them out. Now, I own more shoes than I will ever wear!

Who are your favourite fashion designers?
I love the classic looks by Chanel, Gucci, Armani and Givenchy. I try to stay away from all the trendy 'look of the moment' stuff. I plan on singing 20 years from now and I don't want to look back on these times and think I looked like a fool!

You obviously work out. Do you have a set regime that you live by?
Well, a few years ago I went through a phase where I enjoyed the good life too much. You know, good food, fine wines and too many desserts and I became more voluptous than I wanted to be.

I don't work out right now because I'm recording and when I sing I can't do much exercise. I don't have enough stamina to do what I need to do. I have that weird kind of muscular body type where if I train hard for two weeks I can relax for a while. It's bizarre... I could become a bodybuilder, if I wanted [laughs].

What are your exercise rituals?
I run on the treadmill and do sit-ups every morning. I like to do leg raises and push-ups. My brother Morgan is a personal trainer in Los Angeles, so he's always on hand to give me some professional advice. But I find that if I work out too hard, I have no energy left for singing... and let me tell you, that is a workout in itself!

Do you feel the need to continually improve the way you look in each of your videos?
See, I don't think that my videos are focused on my body very much, or any kind of sexuality. I like to have fun in my videos. But yeah, it's hard to be in the public eye, because people do scrutinise you. Somebody took a picture of me on the video set and it wasn't the most flattering angle. Then they wrote in the paper: 'She's had an obvious weight gain due to her stressful life.' I'm like: 'Weight gain?' If anything, I've lost weight, you know, because I never eat as I'm working so hard. People are gonna say what they're gonna say! I can't really obsess about it. It took ages for me to feel confident enough to let go of a lot of things.

How do you like to dress when you're not all dolled up, ready to perform?
It's funny, people come up to me and tell me I look like Mariah Carey all the time, even when I'm not in 'uniform.' When I'm not doing interviews, I will usually wear a baseball hat and braids because most of the time I don't feel like dealing with my hair, especially in humid weather.

Let's talk about your diet. What do you like to eat?
I used to be a vegetarian but I have a weakness for grilled shrimp, crab cakes and chicken! I generally try not to diet. When I'm over tired or working a lot, the only thing I feel like eating is McDonald;s cheeseburgers and fries.

What's in your dressing room when you're on tour?
It's actually in my contract to have my dressing room filled with Cristal champagne, Quaker Fat Free Apple Cinnamon Rice Cakes, Bel Arbors red wine and fruit. I also love lemon zinger and camomile tea.

Is it true that when you're in Britain you bring your own Coca-Cola?
[laughs] Yeah. Does that sound pretentious? The UK formula is different to the American version.

What's the cosmetic you keep in your handbag at all times?
I absolutely love my MAC lip pencil in 'Spice.'

Do you have a special make-up regime?
I don't like to wear a lot of make-up when I'm not working. I tend to go with natural shades of brown for my eyes and cheeks. I never leave my house, even if I'm not working, without a coat black mascara on my lashes. It really gives me that 'wide awake' look.

What's your best-kept beauty secret?
My humidifier which I keep backstage. It prevents my skin from drying out.

What has been your biggest ever beauty mistake?
When I was 12, I tried to lighten my hair but I didn't know how to use peroxide. The package said 'Golden Blond,' which I though would turn out a nice colour. I was horrified when my hair turned a brighter shade of orange. It was so embarrassing, I had to live with it for a year, until it finally grew out!

What's the funniest rumour you've ever heard about yourself?
That I was seeing Donald Trump [laughs]. He's a great guy, but I haven't seen him in two years. And I was like, 'What?'

I imagine you're linked to just about anyone you speak to nowadays...
Yeah, you know, you bump into somebody in the elevators, suddenly you're moving in!