November 2nd, 2009
02:43 AM ET

Mariah Carey: from diva to dowdy

The last time pop star Mariah Carey had a key role on the big screen was in the notoriously awful “Glitter” in 2001. But her performance in the upcoming drama, “Precious” has drawn a much different reaction from the critics: praise. Director Lee Daniels removed every bit of “glitter” from her physical appearance for the film and transformed her into a dowdy, unglamorous, non-make-up-wearing welfare caseworker - the very antithesis of a diva.

Why would she agree to all this? I put that very question to her at the film’s red carpet premiere Sunday night at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.

“I just loved the book 'Push' that 'Precious' is based on and read it a few years back,” she says, “And I was just like, if this gets made into a movie - and I know Lee Daniels can do it right - if I can just be a part of it, they can put bags under my eyes and as many mustaches on me as they want, and hideous hairdos, and it is what it is, but it comes from inside and they stripped all the layers and [helped me] become the character.”

One of my colleagues in the press asks, "Was this performance a career milestone?"

“I had one film [Glitter] that had me under the stone! (laughs) I didn't realize that you really have to be selective with the people that you work with and you have to have that support system and you have to work with people who you think are geniuses and Lee Daniels is a genius in my book.”

“Precious” opens in limited release this Friday, November 6th.

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. DillyRat

    @ rachel... haha I laughed for like an hour at your comment! I agree with Steve too. I also think his comment IS relevant and related to the topic due to the fact that the article is about "Mariah Carey: from diva to dowdy" and the way she goes from her normal dress (that of a 17 year old hoochie wearing things 3 sizes too small) to a dowdy character in a movie so Chris can just... zip it... Good day, Chris. I SAID, "Good day!"

    November 4, 2009 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. rachel

    I love Steve's comment and I agree completely. Acting and dressing her age would be refreshing for a change. She looks like she has to unscrew her feet to put her pants on. It'd be nice to see her in a dress she hasn't been shoehorned into.Why not just wear a sausage casing and get it over with?

    November 4, 2009 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jane/Seattle

    When Ms. carey first hit success with her first "album" way back when, I knew we had a Jewel of a singer. Over all of these years, I believe that she has listened to all of the wrong people with regard to her carreer. Tommy was a bad personal and career move on your part. Mariah and EVERY other GOOD singer does/do not have to Pander to the sexuality factor! In fact this type of "marketing" has actually hurt her and others. Just sing, Mariah, as you DO have the pipes! Acting? Do this if you want, but don't forget to find/seek good material and let the sexual divas have the fake fame! You are too good for this and you need to rise above such fakery for your Props! Peace

    November 3, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. yoyo

    Yeah because Mariah cares about all the people who left a negative comment. Go ahead girl make yourself happy, and enjoy your millions. People will talk about you until the day you die, and probably wont stop then. People are so pathetic, get a life, because im sure Mariah is enjoying hers.

    November 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Russ

    she's put a lot of weight on recently.. she was on Leno last night and holy crap! she had huge boobs sticking out and you could totally tell she was a number of sizes bigger! not sure if that's becoming lazy after marriage? or if it was for this role?

    but wow.

    she looked so different when they showed the clip from this movie.

    November 3, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Orville

    Forgive me, but she stopped "singing" a long time ago. Somehow, the record buying public preferred that she "squeak" instead of sing so her recent millions are the result of that folly instead of demanding a higher level of performance and technical expertise.

    So now she wants to do what? She wants to do something else to capture the extremely short attention span of the star-struck?

    You go girl.

    November 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pthomas

    If mariah can be someone else in the movie and not Mariah then that is great – if not I think it would be distracting. It is too bad that an obvious lovely woman with a beautiful voice cannot dress herself. It is hard to see how pretty she is when she insists on dressing like a 22 year old. If she took a moment to dress even the tiniest bit more sophisticated and mature she would look beautiful – (MILF I would not say she is on the cutting egde of music she makes standard issue pop music sung with a lovely voice)

    November 3, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Barbara in PA

    This book was really incredible. It was VERY hard to read, because it deals with things that most people don't want to talk about, as if silence makes them not real. But Saphire, who wrote "Push" used her experiences as a caseworker to create the novel.

    I have no doubt that "Precious" will live up to its expecations. And I do believe people should read "Push" as hard as it may be to do so, because it's only when we see the world through different eyes that we can start to implement changes from within, which eventually spill out to others.

    November 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Milf Biggenson

    I'm not a fan of her style of music, but I can sure appreciate her vocal talent. She is an amazing vocalist. To hear that she's getting praise for her acting ability in this movie is a wonderful thing, considering how much of a personal drubbing she received after "Glitter". I mean, come on people, have a little heart and give this woman her due. Those who complain about the way she dresses at her age, obviously aren't in showbiz. She's not dressing that way and greeting people at you. She's a celebrity on the cutting edge of music and now film; if she wants to stay relevant, that's the way it has to be. She's got to compete with Rhianna and Taylor Swift and Shakira et al. She looks beautiful at her age, so give her some credit!

    November 3, 2009 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. hannah

    kudos Mariah, we love you more.

    November 3, 2009 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Geoff

    Mariah Carey dresses the way all good looking women should dress. I hate to see her going for the downtrodden look in a movie when she should be wearing string bikinis that show off her implanted floatation devices and minidresses that barely cover below her waist. Yeah BABEEE!

    November 3, 2009 at 5:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Nikita

    that's the spirit 'lamb' only have one chance in life..make the most of what you wanna & do be who you wanna be 🙂 Best sure you'll be FANTABULOUS!

    November 3, 2009 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. leslieramos_manila

    mariah is an amazing "artist", this is an opportunity that is long overdue. All her fans are glad she took this part for a change. Go MC!!

    November 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. m0namii

    I wanted to see a pic of the "unglamorous" Mariah...

    November 2, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bevvie

    I look forward to seeing her in the movie. I look forward to seeing the movie period. I am in a book club that is reading the book to discuss. I will read the book after seeing the movie. I don't want to expect the movie to be like the book, so I will see the movie first.

    This article was not about how Mariah Carey dresses outside the movie. Stay on target, people!

    November 2, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  16. lauratheresa

    She "STILL" can sing–just ask her young husband !! she sings him to sleep each night ! Mariah is multi talented–I saw a clip too & she seems to do a good job acting–also,she gives back to her community by suopporting the art & music dept. She ok–looks good for her age.peace

    November 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  17. d osullivan

    Wear clothes. Being half naked lets people thnk you can sing.

    November 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Tanya

    She can't even really sing anymore...all she does is whisper.

    November 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Omaha Reader

    Mariah Carey should know by now that she just needs to do what she's good at – MUSIC. Love her music and her voice. Keep singing, MC!... oh one more thing, if you want to wear small sizes, please loose some more weights... If you're not skinny but wear clothes too small, well, they'll make you look... fat!... sorry, but it's true...

    November 2, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  20. carolyn

    I suspect there is a lot of depth in Mariah Carey, depth hidden by the lure of glamour.

    November 2, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Kitti J

    I've seen the trailer for the movie. It looks very powerful. Mariah Carey and Monique seem as if they are taking their career to a new level.

    November 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  22. sj

    She did a wonderful job in the film. It's an amazing film – which I think everyone should watch. You don't even notice that it's Mariah – someone you are used to seeing as a diva. She is believable in her role.

    November 2, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Chris

    Steve, what does that comment have to do with this article? Just letting us know your thoughts on an unrelated topic? In fact, this article talks about how she is an "unglamorous, non-make-up-wearing welfare caseworker – the very antithesis of a diva."
    Sounds to me like she's being pretty classy about it.

    November 2, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  24. JB

    Mariah is a BEAUTIFUL BOMBSHELL that can blow me up anytime...No Pun intended...As with her music career, I am sure she has done a wonderful job in this movie...

    My gosh she is just so fine...I remember her when I was younger and she was scrawny...She looks so much better now that she has aged a little...

    November 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Dboya

    Wear whatever makes you look and feel good baby! Let the haters talk! They're going to do that anyway. Can't wait to see the movie

    November 2, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  26. J

    Stop Hatin...Lucky Nick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Dan

    I think it's great when singers take a risk and try to act, and vice-versa. Most of the time it doesn't work out very well....hence Madonna's acting career. But it takes a lot of courage for an artist to expand beyond what they're used to.

    November 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Adrianne

    Any time a singer has an opportunity to stretch his/her talents, they should take advantage of it. Ms. Carey's appearance is not the important part of this – it's whether she has the acting chops to pull it off. This film looks so far to be a very moving film and she's lucky to be a part of it.

    November 2, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Steve

    You're 40 years old....stop dressing like a 17 year old hoochie wearing things 3 sizes too some class...

    November 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Andrea

    It sounds to me like she is stripping away the superficiality and trying to become a part of something larger than herself. Perhaps create a depth of character that no one has seen before where she is concerned. Kudos!

    November 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Kyra Lynn

    I think it is important especially for celebrities to show all different sides of them and be real with everyone so I say that people will she a new sides of Mariah and have some what of an all new respect for her!

    November 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Sally

    I saw a clip for this movie on Oprah and it looks like an amazingly moving film, Mariah Carey is an amazing star that has succeeded throughout the decades and I am sure she will be add an amazing component to the film, regardless of makeover or makeunder.
    Kudos to Mariah for selecting such an amazing project to be a part of!

    November 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Honeycomb

    She will do just fine. I look forward to her doing something outside of the box and out of her comfort zone.

    November 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Debra R

    Can't you just stick to singing and wearing indecent clothing?

    November 2, 2009 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |

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