Meghan Markle doth protest too much when Mariah Carey tells her she 'gives us diva moments'

·5 min read

If anyone knows who or what a diva is, it would be Mariah Carey, the record-breaking singer-songwriter who once famously entered a bathtub in 6-inch stilettos during a televised house tour.

While Carey has fully embraced the term "diva" — very much on her own terms — Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, hasn't quite gotten there yet. Especially when the Grammy winner tells the duchess she's been keeping the public quite fed by serving us "diva moments."

On Meghan's new Spotify podcast Archetypes, which explores "the labels and tropes that try to hold women back," she speaks with Carey about the "duality of diva." Carey, wearing a sequined evening gown because she's a professional, talks about growing up with a diva — her mom was an opera singer — and how that informed her understanding of the term. So when Meghan asks her if she thinks diva is "a compliment or a criticism," Carey is ambivalent.

Mariah Carey and Meghan Markle
Mariah Carey and Meghan Markle

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Chris Jackson/Getty Images Mariah Carey and Meghan Markle

"I think it's both," she says. "For me, I think it's both. I do, because I mean, I know the origin of the word." Her mother would use the term while talking about a friend, but young Carey didn't know if it was good or bad, just that the way in which her mother used it had a sort of "grandeur" to it.

"It's very much the grandeur of it all, is what I envisioned," Carey recalls. "Glamorized and fabulous and whatever. And then as things evolved, the past 20 years — I don't know numbers — the diva, they mean you're a successful woman, usually. But also, and forgive me if we're not allowed to say the B-word, but a B-I-T-C-H. Like, it's not okay for you to be a boss. It's not okay for you to be a strong woman, you know what I mean?"

Carey later delves into her troubled upbringing, and Meghan notes how becoming a diva was aspirational for Carey, and a sign of success considering where she came from, and that embracing the term for all its negative connotations was a sort of defense mechanism.

"I agree with you, but I think on top of that, it's also for laughs," Carey adds. "Half of it is just for laughs."

This podcast conversation is also worth it solely for the audio clips of Carey's iconic MTV Cribs appearance (though the video lives rent-free in many a mind to this day).

Mariah Carey's 'Cribs' episode, a seminal moment in diva history
Mariah Carey's 'Cribs' episode, a seminal moment in diva history

MTV Mariah Carey's 'Cribs' episode, a seminal moment in diva history

"Some people took it so seriously when you were in your stilettos and getting in the bath. Everything was all extra and super over-the-top," Meghan says of that legendary performance, while Carey conjures memories of growing up in "plenty shacks."

"And I think that's really important for people to remember, that there might be this persona, and yes the diva thing we can play into. I mean, it's not something that I connect to, but for you —" Meghan begins, before Carey interrupts her like she's a backup singer stepping on her notes.

"You give us diva moments sometimes, Meghan. Don't even act like…" Carey quips, as Meghan gently protests. Carey then clarifies: "It's the visual. It's the visual. A lot of it is the visual. But let's pretend that you weren't so beautiful and didn't have the whole thing and didn't often have gorgeous ensembles. You wouldn't maybe get as much diva."

Sure, Carey plays a lot of the diva stuff for laughs, but during her interview (on a podcast, mind you) she is actually walking around her house in a sequined evening gown because she wants to, and because she can. "People strive for divadom," she tells Meghan. "Revel in it!"

But Meghan is clearly hesitant about doing so. After the interview, she admits she was thrown when Mimi called her — the Duchess of Sussex, of all people — a diva.

"My mind genuinely was just spinning with what nonsense she must have read or clicked on to make her say that," she says. "I just kept thinking in that moment, 'Was my girl crush coming to a quick demise? Does she actually not see me?'"

Meghan continues: "So she must have felt my nervous laughter and you all would have heard it too, and she jumped right in to make sure I was crystal-clear when she said 'diva,' she was talking about the way that I dress, the posture, the clothing. The quote-unquote fabulousness, as she sees it. She meant diva as a compliment, but I heard it as a dig."

For Carey, the term diva is as comfortable as sequins in the middle of the day. For Meghan, someone who took down the royal family with an Oprah interview while wearing a Giorgio Armani gown, perhaps diva hits a little too close to home.

But if Meghan — and by extension, all of us — can learn anything from one of the most successful artists in pop history, it's to not take herself too seriously. Might we suggest throwing on some Louboutins, hopping in a bubble bath, and just reveling in that divadom while "God Save the Queen" plays softly in the background.

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