I tried living like Mariah Carey | mcarchives.com

Wednesday 11 July 2018

I tried living like Mariah Carey

"Why you so obsessed with me?" Mariah Carey purrs in the chorus of her 2009 track, "Obsessed". "Boy, I wanna know." A quick Google search tells me that Mimi's fans - Lambs, as she calls them - have plenty of reasons to be obsessed with the singer - a skinny legend, as they call her.

Michael Muñoz, a Lamb who goes by the Instagram handle @hugefanofmariahcarey (naturally), summed up the fandom's rationale succinctly in an interview with Her Campus last year: "Honestly, she is very talented," he said of Mariah. "Not only does she sing (Britney Spears hasn't sang live since the Clinton Administration), she writes her own music (unlike Beyoncé, or should I say Bey-on-her-way-to-jail-for-stealing-songwriting-credits) and composes her own music."

"Also, the voice," Michael continued. "Sure, it's not as strong as it was back in the '90s, but neither was our economy. And we still deal with it. And it's also very inspiring to see a woman of color succeeding through so many obstacles. All in all, I love her."

I don't consider myself a Lamb by any means; for the sake of transparency, I'll admit that I'm a member of Beyoncé's Beyhive. (And for the sake of civility, I'm refusing to justify Michael's "Bey doesn't write her own music" remark with a response.)

Still, I have to concede that I too am entranced by the Elusive Chanteuse and her legacy of iconic, unapologetic extra-ness, from that high note at the 2:48 mark of "Emotions" to her cheeky plea for a sip of tea on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest last year. So when one of my fellow editors approached me with the challenge to live like Mariah for an entire week, I had to accept - both in the name of journalism and because I wanted to experience first-hand the full extent of MC's divalicious lifestyle. Here's how it went, dahhhling.

Mimi diet/beauty secret 1: bathing in cold milk
In an interview with the Guardian earlier this month, Mariah quashed the longstanding rumor that she bathes in mineral water only to replace it with an even more bizarre revelation. "I bathe in milk... sometimes I use milk as a beauty treatment," she admitted, adding that it's always cold milk.

I've never submerged my naked body in a tub filled with chilled milk before - which is somewhat surprising, considering the fact that I grew up in Wisconsin - but it sounded so absurd, I knew it had to be the inaugural activity of Mariah Carey Week. I stocked up on milk at my local Target, buying five gallons total - enough milk to fill up my bathtub a couple inches. I chose 2%.

(For the record, I chose to buy the milk at Target because my local store has self-checkout machines; I didn't have the confidence to roll up to a human cashier with a third of the store's 2% milk supply in my cart.)

Without room in my fridge to stash all the milk for a later date, I had to get the bath ready as soon as I got home from my Target run. So after all of the milk had glug-glug-glugged its way into the tub, I stripped and inched my way into the white, freezing froth - a mistake, I realized immediately. Sitting naked in a pool of cold milk is really, really uncomfortable. (Shocking, I know!)

I'm not sure if my lower half actually got used to the bath's temperature after a while or if it just went numb, but as soon as I began feeling slightly more comfortable in my dairy dip, I slowly lowered my upper back into the milky abyss and lay there for a few minutes. That lasted all of about two minutes before the funky odor of the milk finally reached my nostrils, and I had no choice but to drain the tub's creamy contents.

After carefully rinsing every inch of my body with hot water and toweling off, I thought that my legs and feet were slightly softer than they were pre-milk bath, although it was hard to feel much of anything besides the tingling of my thawing extremities.

I tried living like Mariah Carey | mcarchives.com

Mimi diet/beauty secret 2: working out in heels
A trio of images from one of Mariah's sessions with celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson went viral last winter after people noticed that she was wearing $600 Fenty Puma by Rihanna stilettos during the workout. The superstar later admitted that she wore the shoes "for laughs" but added, "It's actually good for the calves." Obviously, I had to put her claim to the test.

After a few minutes in heels on the stair stepper in my parents' dingy basement - you didn't think I was doing this in public, did you? - I can confirm that my calves (and knee joints) were indeed feelin' the burn.

Mimi diet/beauty secret 3: eating nothing but salmon and capers
Saw that pie Mariah's holding in a picture? There's no way she ate it because her diet features two foods, and two foods only: salmon and capers. "It's really hard. My diet, you would hate it," she told E! News in a November 2016 interview. "All I eat is Norwegian salmon and capers every day. That's it!" Challenge accepted.

I don't do the whole lox thing because I'm a baby when it comes to foods with weird textures, so I picked up a pack of herb-crusted salmon fillets and dumped a spoonful of capers over the top. I was a huge fan of the salmon - I'll eat anything if you cover it with breadcrumbs - but I could definitely do without the ultra-salty tang of the capers. (Side note: What are capers? Does anyone actually know? Shoot me an email if you have any leads.)

I tried living like Mariah Carey | mcarchives.com

Mimi diet/beauty secret 4: avoid mascara at all costs
"I hate mascara," Mariah told Us Weekly in 2015. "I never wear it. Whenever a makeup artist tries to put it on me, I throw a fit." Instead, she relies on sets of fluffy, dramatic fake eyelashes. My eyes are pretty small, so I wasn't entirely sure how this look would turn out: Would I look extra glam (the goal) or as if caterpillars had set up camp on my eyelids?

After curling my hair into relatively soft, Mariah-esque waves and applying some eyeshadow - she uses a lot of shimmery browns and golds, judging by her Instagram feed - I bravely popped on the fake eyelashes. Don't see a difference? Neither did I! (Besides my hair deflating, that is - it's never been able to hold a curl.) I think I chose a set of eyelashes that were a little too natural, but at least I can see out of them.

I tried living like Mariah Carey | mcarchives.com

Mimi diet/beauty secret 5: add some mint extract to your lip gloss
According to author Diane Irons, MC adds a drop of mint extract to her lip gloss to achieve a naturally plump pout. "The mint stimulates blood flow and enhances lip color," Diane writes in her book, Bargain Beauty Secrets: Tips and Tricks for Looking Great and Feeling Fabulous.

I wouldn't have thought to do this on my own, but it sounds harmless enough, right? For this little experiment, I picked up some peppermint extract at a local grocery store and mixed it with a little bit of Rihanna's Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, a shimmery, pinky-orange gloss.

My lips do look a tad plumper, but I don't care about that so much as how this concoction feels on my lips - i.e., so good. It doesn't burn or sting; it's just a pleasant, minty-fresh tingle. I'm stealing this hack for sure. (I encourage you to do the same, provided you're not allergic or sensitive to mint.)

Oh, and just for the sake of transparency, here's how long it took me to Mariah-ify myself: 48:20.70. That included applying makeup, curling my entire head of hair, putting on fake eyelashes, and whipping up the minty lip gloss. No wonder Mariah chooses to consider time "irrelevant".

So what's the tea?
If I learned anything about Mariah Carey during my weeklong attempt to live like her, it's that there is actually a point to a few of her absurd-sounding habits. Mint in lip gloss? I'm obsessed. Heels on a cardio machine? Slightly dangerous, but definitely effective. Admittedly, I don't think I'll ever understand Mariah's penchant for cold milk baths; I'm also very confused as to how she's not constantly dehydrated from all that salmon and capers. But hey - I don't know her.


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