Mariah Carey isn't quite who you might think she is.
The 52-year-old is the cover star for W Magazine's latest issue, where she opened up about topics like legacy, her status as a pop diva and being a mother. But getting to where she is today hasn't been an easy path for the holiday icon.
"Christmas makes me happy. People think I had this princess-style life or whatever, a kind of fairytale existence where I just emerged, like, 'Here I am!' And that is not what it is," Carey told W Magazine.
"When you grow up with a messed-up life and then you're able to have this transformation where you can make your life what you want it to be? That is joy for me. That's why I want my kids to have everything they can have. I want them to be able to understand that they can be anything they want to be."
In her 2020 memoir, "The Meaning of Mariah Carey," the pop legend opened up about her childhood, recounting harrowing experiences of violence and drug use among her siblings. Growing up in the predominantly white Long Island neighbourhood of Huntington, the "Always Be My Baby" and "Fantasy" singer also explained that she often felt "othered" as a biracial girl.
"There were no role models for people who were clearly mixed or, you know, light-skinned or whatever we were categorizing it as then, so I didn't know who to look up to when I was growing up," Carey, who was born to a Black father and white mother, shared in her book. "It was difficult.”
In her interview, the "We Belong Together" and "Hero" singer also opened up about being a diva, and how that affects how some people view her.
"There are things people are not aware of, because this whole quote-unquote 'diva' thing is always what people see first," she added. "Yes, I play into it. And yes, part of that is real. I can't help it. Like, what do you do if you grew up with an opera singer for a mother, who went to Juilliard and made her debut at Lincoln Center? There's just a certain amount that is going to emerge. So, yes, it's just an affectation, and sometimes it's purposely done, and sometimes it's just, like, you know, a response."
Still, the "All I Want For Christmas Is You" artist, who kicked off the holiday season earlier in November, explained that her memoir doesn't cover every aspect of her life.
"My life in general is actually much more layered than what people know or what is even in the book," she continued. "People who have been friends with me for years were like, 'How come you never told me all of this happened to you?' At this point in my life, it’s about doing things that I really want to do."