Before Mariah Carey even took the stage at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour to talk about her forthcoming E! reality series Mariah’s World, she and her network, E!, signaled that this would be a different sort of press conference. Instead of a chair, stagehands brought out a couch—but not just any couch, a purple velvet couch. But not just any purple velvet couch, but one with a throne at one end. Next to it, a side table with white flowers, carefully arranged by a stagehand.
And that wasn’t even the most incredible part.
Mariah was preceded on stage by six men, all wearing pants but no shirts, all of whom had negative body fat and had ever before been in the same room as a carbohydrate. They presented her, and then arranged themselves in the formation above, so Mariah could sit on one of them instead of on her velvet ThroneCouch.
“Shalom,” she said. “So is this perfectly normal. And I don’t know. Should we get into the first question? I’m just so comfortable here on this couch that I just wasn’t sure we should start taking questions.” She was still sitting on the hot guy. The guys, by the way, were either sweaty or covered in something shiny, and those in attendance got a close-up look, because they transitioned into pages, delivering microphones to whoever wanted to ask Mariah a question.
Mariah moved to the real couch, but before any questions began, she started posing for the photographers. “This couch is okay. Let me see. Hi. Photo op. Photo op.”
That was just the beginning of a riotous and wonderful press conference, during which she was both self-deprecating and self-assured. Highlights of what she said about the show and her life are below.
Even better, based on this trailer below, her eight-episode show—which debuts Dec. 4 and is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions—looks like it might be just as fun as the press conference was.
The most amazing things Mariah said during her TCA session
Mariah’s press conference was full of levity and insight. These are the 14 things that stood out to me—which probably lose some of their magic in text form. Maybe just read them aloud in Mariah’s voice to get the full experience.
- Before taking any questions, she acknowledged her attire by saying to the room, “Now, you have to tell me if there’s any issues going on over here. Somebody raise their hand and be, like, ‘Move your leg.’ Okay? Because I will listen.”
- Of her reality TV show, Mariah said, “I don’t consider it reality.” Instead, she told us, the reason she wants to call it “a docuseries is because it feels like a documentary.” Why avoid the term reality? “I don’t even watch reality. I don’t even know what that I don’t even know what reality is, literally, like, in the terms of, like, real or not real.”
- Asked if there was “a female artist who you think is just doing it, like, really just killing the music industry,” Mariah said, “There’s a few.” The journalist followed up: “And they would be…” Mariah shut that down brilliantly: “They would be lovely ladies, and it’s not their day.”
- Her kids will be part of the series. “They could have their own show because that’s how funny they are,” she said. “They are an integral part of my life. … I think it should be sparingly used, unfortunately, but they should have their own show. Like, if I were, like, an agent and I discovered them, I’d be, like, ‘These kids need to be on TV.'”
- Nick Cannon will filmed for the series, but may not appear on the show. Mariah explained: “I can’t speak for what he thinks because he’s his own guy and we are not together anymore, but he’s cool about being on the show and having the you know, coming around with the kids and very supportive.” Asked if he’ll be on Mariah’s World, she said, “Well, I didn’t say that, darling. I said he came around. I don’t know what makes the final cut.”
- Laughter at that answer prompted her to say, “I’m sorry. Was that rude in some way? I am so not trying to slay anybody at all.”
- When someone asked her about her “shade” repeatedly, Mariah said, “I don’t do shade. I don’t know why people think this. I really don’t. Do you legitimately think that I’m a shady person, or maybe a nice person that gets put in situations where I have to answer questions that might be awkward or uncomfortable, and so it’s the first thing that comes to my mind is what I say? It’s my own truth, darling. It’s my truth.”
- Mariah had this exchange with my friend Damian Holbrook from TV Guide:
Damian: That trailer gave us a lot of touches of what we are going to see, but it left us hanging. Did you get puppies the delivered? And where can we get those delivered?Mariah: Define “delivered.”
Damian: Well, like, if I were to call over this gentleman… (Damian indicates the sweaty, shirtless man standing near him and, incidentally, in front of me.)
Damian: He would deliver to me?
Mariah: He would deliver it? So it’s one puppy or two or three or more? How many puppies do you want?
Damian: I just need one.
Mariah: How many puppies do you want, darling?
Damian: I just need one, honey.
Mariah: I mean, we just can’t have all of the puppies we want.
- Asked if she would be directing the series, Mariah said, “I think I’m always directing, and I can’t help it. Right now, I’m, like, Is this hand looking right? Should I be going like this? You know, I can’t help it. So, probably, I am directing either, like, subconsciously or, like, you know, another way, overtly.”
When someone asked a question about her time on American Idol, Mariah said, “Oh, it was the most abusive experience. By the way, you’ve just driven me to drink.” She then took a sip of champagne.
- “I don’t know that anybody really knows the real me because if somebody just sees me on TV or a video or this or an interview, it’s not enough time to get to know somebody. If you know somebody for 10 years and they are your friend, you kind of know the real them.”
- Mariah struggled with having cameras around. “I did that a lot in the beginning because I was like, Why are they in here? I’m changing. This is awkward. Can you guys turn off the cameras? And as I started to feel more comfortable with the whole documentary thing, I was just like, All right. It is what it is. And if I don’t give the right amount of access, it’s going to do the opposite of what I want.“
- Regarding the presence of camera crews in her life, Mariah also said, “In the beginning, I was very I was a little bit withholding in terms of the amount of access that I was giving, because I wasn’t sure I’m never sure who to trust. That’s just the honest truth. I just didn’t know, really, exactly how things were going to be perceived. … So I was a little bit less free with my personality and stuff, and so we are still in the process of filming and getting more real moments is the honest truth. But, again, my goal was to make it something that can be that can be a lasting piece of work for my fans and even just great footage no matter what we don’t use for my kids, like, eventually, you know, for them and for myself to have.”
- “I’m like the same person that I was when I was a kid. I know the realities of having to watch what you do and try to look a certain way and whatever, but I’m just the same person because I grew up with nothing. I didn’t have money. I had a very difficult childhood. I moved around a lot. I had some things that were amazing and great and encouraging and then some things that were really difficult and sad and hard and hurtful. So I think that’s always a part of me, and I think that goes into making music or doing any kind of creative activity.”