Mariah Carey is a 44-year-old, Grammy-winning, married mother of two, but she'll always be young at heart—because as she puts it, "Darling, I"m eternally 12-years-old!"
The Elusive Chanteuse used this much-repeated line in a recent interview with Out's digital issue, sticking to her flirty, intentionally "ditzy" script as she talks about the daunting reality of getting older in an industry obsessed with youth.
When you look at M.C.'s answers, though, she doesn't seem all that different from a 12-year-old girl. Let's take a look at just a few examples of how Mariah is strikingly similar to a typical tween...
Mariah, 44, Embraces "Ditzy" Image: Mariah fondly remembers getting Norman Mailer's biography of Marilyn Monroe as a Christmas gift when she was a little girl. "I was a reader, believe it or not," she says. "It doesn't go with the ditzy image, I guess. I have too many highlights." Really, though, "I flirt with it, and I play with it," she says. "If it pisses people off, whatever."
Tween, 12, Embraces "Ditzy" Image: Things are improving, but for many years pop culture portrayed it as a positive thing for young women to downplay their intelligence. Acting "dumb," though, isn't cute, and thankfully, you gals (and the media, slowly) are catching on. It's cool to have interests and hobbies, to do things (and not just talk about other people), and yes, sistafriends, it is cool to read! (BTW, whether you're 12 or 44, Amy Poehler's "Smart Girls at the Party" is a great resource!)
Mariah, 44, Idolizes Celebrity: Because she is a star herself (and has the funds to prove it), Mariah can take her obsession with Marilyn Monroe to a whole new level. Her daughter Monroe gets her namesake from the late screen siren, and Mariah proudly owns the actress's childhood piano and various memorabilia from her estate. And while it might seem Mariah is drawn to Marilyn simply because of the glam image that survives her, she also looks to her as a role model. "[Marilyn] paved the way for women in Hollywood," Mariah tells Out, "and every single woman owes something to her for that, whether they agree with her image or not."
Tween Girl, 12, Idolizes Celebrity: Selena Gomez! Demi Lovato! Ariana Grande! Take your pick. Girls today take inspiration from their beloved idols, incorporating them into their own lives as best as they can (with a weekly allowance from mom and dad). But like Mariah does with Marilyn, young girls put their role models up on a pedestal. Marilyn's unhappy life was plagued with struggles, but she wasn't living in the era of Twitter. Celebrities now are under a blinding spotlight, and their tiniest slip-ups are magnified for the world to see, making it nearly impossible for them not to disappoint those much-adoring fans.
Mariah, 44, Loves Butterflies: Hey, a girl's allowed to like pretty things. At one point during her interview, she "extends her hand theatrically" to show off her butterfly ring. "This is Van Cleef and it's missing a diamond, and it's shocking," she says, before feigning "shock and awe, shock and awe" and jokingly tossing it across the room.
Tween Girl, 12, Loves Butterflies: Ladybugs come in and out of fashion, but butterflies seem to be a constant in the pre-teen fashion world. Whether they're on T-shirts, hair clips, earrings or tattoos (please, girls, temporary only—the previous generation is tramp stamped so that you don't have to become a cliché!), these post-pubescent caterpillars are a style staple.
Mariah, 44, Feels "Different": The New York native wasn't always the dashing diva drenched in diamonds—she a girl "from mixed-race background, neither white enough or black enough, to fully belong anywhere," as Out describes her. But not fitting perfectly into a certain mold worked in her favor, Mariah says, explaining, that "a lot of my fans relate to me because they felt different."
Tween Girl, 12, Feels "Different": It's tough being a kid, and unless you're one of the few who sails through adolescence easy breezy, you likely remember feeling ostracized or at least left out during those formative years. Too often, a tween who feels "different" from her peers perceives this to be a bad thing. But just ask Mariah, or anyone who didn't peak early, for that matter, it's a good thing not to be just like everyone else!
Mariah, 44, Thinks She'll Be Young Forever: There's no need to recycle album covers and what not! Mariah playfully tells Out, "I don't count years, but I definitely rebuke them—I have anniversaries, not birthdays, because I celebrate life darling." She clarifies, like a texting tween, if you will, "Please put an LOL next to this, because people are going to be like, WTF?"
Tween Girl, 12, Thinks She'll Be Young Forever: To a sixth grade girl, 25 seems OMFG SO OLD. And 40? Whew, that's like actually old, old—like a dad's age! These numbers seem so, so far away, so tween girls, like Mariah, do tend to live in the moment.
So, the moral of the story is that growing up overrated! Fine, so some parts of it are OK, but Mariah hits the nail on the head when she tells Out magazine, "You can't lose the inner child, but everybody does."
Not Peter Pan, and certainly, dahhlings, not Mariah Carey.