"My two minutes with Mimi"

Saturday 11 April 2009

Not everyone can boast that they have managed to meet R&B superstar diva Mariah Carey twice in the same week - or even came within metres of the musical icon. But that is exactly what I did when she recently popped into South Africa for the opening of Sol Kerzner's One & Only Hotel at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
Celebrities like Sharon Stone, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Marisa Tomei and Mariah were all here. The minute I heard Mariah was due to visit SA, it became my number one mission to track her down and fulfil a lifelong dream - to be photographed with my idol and get her autograph for my collection.
Having amassed around 4500 autographs, Mariah's (or Mimi as her true fans call her) was at the top of my list and I was prepared to do anything (well, almost) to make sure I got up close and personal with her. I always knew that if she ever set foot in the city, I'd map out a plan to track her down in person and we'd hopefully meet. Little did I know that it would take some tricky work to dodge the bodyguards and other hysterical fans to accomplish my mission. Here is a rundown of events as they took place.

Tuesday, March 31
4pm - My colleague, Sieraaj, surfs Mariah's Twitter page where she announces that she is due to fly to South Africa. Immediately I scream with sheer disbelief and we plot how to go about accomplishing the impossible - meeting Mariah Carey. My persistence pays off when a reliable source tips me off that she is indeed in town for the hotel opening. At this moment I am able to dispel any thoughts of Mimi's visit being nothing but an April Fool's joke.

Wednesday, April 1
8am - The quest begins! I discover that Mimi's currently in Miami recording her next album and if she is due to visit Cape Town, she either has to fly from that city or New York.
11am - I get a tip-off that "a number of Hollywood stars" will be arriving in Cape Town later in the day.
3pm - Sieraaj and I arrive at the airport where we soon realise (much to our disappointment) that there are no flights arriving from the US for the day. Discouragement flashes across my face.
5pm - While drowning our sorrows in comfort food, Sieraaj and I read a Mariah Carey fan site and discover that she has stopped over in London, before heading to Cape Town. Next quest: track down the London arrival times!
5.15pm - We learn that two flights will arrive the following day at 7am and 8am respectively. Now we are excited.

Thursday, April 2
6.30am - Despite the lack of sleep, we are off to the airport with the hopes of spotting Mimi. We are greeted by Mercedes-Benz cars and a barricade of security.
8am - I overhear security referring to Mariah Carey and that they are here to fetch her from the airport. It's official! The singer, who has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, is indeed in Cape Town.
9am - The superstar arrives and is greeted by a buzzing crowd of fans. How was I going to beat out my "competition" and get Mimi's attention? As soon as she comes my way, I say: "Mimi, you're a stone winner (one of her familiar sayings)! Please can you autograph this magazine for me?" Her security teams refuse me access, however. She replies: "I gotta sign it, he said the word." I am a happy fan and I begin shaking with excitement. But my mission is not fully accomplished - I have to get that elusive photo with Mimi.
10am - I hear rumours that Mimi is due to attend designer Gavin Rajah's next fashion show two days later and I make sure I get on the guest list!

Friday, April 3
5pm - Sieraaj and I decide to continue the Mimi-stalking and opt to spend the entire Friday night at the V&A Waterfront. In our six-hour stalking stint, we bump into Hollywood actress Marisa Tomei. She and boyfriend Logan Marshall Green (of The OC fame) are on their way to have dinner and that is when we spot them. After six hours - and no sign of Mimi - we call it a night.

Saturday, April 4
2.30pm - I arrive at the One & Only Hotel hoping to see Mimi before attending the fashion show launch. But when Sieraaj sees Mariah's status update on her Twitter that she is all packed up and ready to leave SA, we know our moment with Mimi is only a few minutes away.
3pm - Bodyguards line up at the hotel's front door, suddenly Mimi appears, with husband Nick Cannon at her side. I walk up to her and say, "Mimi, a picture please! For the nostalgia!" She laughs. "Ha, ha, for the nostalgia - you guys are true lambs (fans). Come on boys, let's take a nice photo, for the nostalgia." Nick takes my camera and snaps a photograph. I thank her and tell her I am her biggest fan and she replies: "Thanks honey, you're a sweetie."

(Clayton Morar - Weekend Post)

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