Say “Mariah Carey” three times and look into a dark bathroom mirror: all of a sudden All I Want For Christmas starts playing, and Mariah Carey’s face appears, sunglasses and all. Okay, maybe she’s not quite that powerful. But there’s definitely some truth to just how magical her voice and presence is.
Billboard has called her the “top-charting female solo artist” of all time, which is just one fraction of her total career success. From music (which is definitely her biggest success) to acting, Mariah Carey seems to be able to do it all. Plus, she’s the holiday icon we all know and love. As soon as November 12th hits we all start to hear her dulcet tones and impressive runs as we’re picking up our almond milk and eggs at the grocery store. But how has she gotten to this point? Let’s find out.
20 Mariah Carey Has Always Been Gorgeous
Right from the get go Mariah Carey has had a beautiful look, and an even better personality. Her curly hair was a stunning feature of her’s back when she first started, even though we don’t necessarily see it often nowadays. That being said, we can still appreciate her starting out style through photos like these.
19 She Started When She Was Still Quite Young
Mariah Carey’s beginnings were anything but humble, we’d say. While Biography.com does tell us that her parents divorced, Carey was surrounded by a lot of love and was supported in her musical career from an early age. She’d been in singing lessons since she turned 4 years old, which is probably why her voice is as well honed as it is.
18 Which Meant Growing Up Took A While
Biography goes on to tell us that she signed her first official record deal at 18. Any Carey fans will recall that her first record had 4 hit singles to come off of it, which was the original definition of a skyrocketing career. Because her superstardom hit her while she was young, it took a while to sink in we think.
17 The Mid-90s Was Where She Really Hit Her Stride (Even If Her Hair Didn't)
She did eventually start to hit her stride in the music world, and in the early to mid 90s her second album took up the mantle of Mariah Carey’s best work (because, seriously, every album she puts out turns into her greatest work yet). The one downside to this era? Whatever’s happening with her hair.
16 And We Begin To See Some Iconic Carey Style
Older and wiser, though, and she eventually learned to soften those very manicured curls that were on her head in the last photo. Her style was trendy at the time, and even now it’s a bit of an inspiration for anyone who’s into the casual and cool cardigan style. She’s really coming into her own at this point.
15 As Well As A Little More Attitude
Not to mention how she’s really starting to embrace her sensuality. Her attitude went from being the sweet and ambitious girl in the first few photos to someone who’s incredibly hardworking, strong, and sultry. She knows her power and she isn’t afraid to turn it on to anyone in her path.
14 1998 Saw A Dramatic Shift In Style
Yes, there’s something a little different about this photo. Look closely and you’ll be able to see two clear differences about her from the last few shots we’ve seen. There’s also that whole big hair thing, which was super popular around this time. Glorious curls made a statement, and Carey’s were certainly incredible.
13 Which the Early 2000s... Well, It Was The Early 2000s
A victim of the trends in this photo, Mariah Carey never should have chopped her locks, in our opinion. While her smile is still the same (and the rest of her is undeniably Mariah Carey) that hair just doesn’t work. Not to mention the awkwardly pink shawl. There’s a whole lot of bold choices during this era.
12 Her Outfits Have Been At The Mercy Of Questionable Trends
Seriously, there’s only so much we can say about her style in these pics when we know that she was definitely at the mercy of trends. This outfit is not great, but Mariah Carey looks the same as always. While she’s gone through some changes, the early 2000s was where she really solidified her personal look.
11 And The Juicy Couture Years Were Very Real
Unfortunately this outfit was not just styled for a photoshoot. This was something Carey wore out and about often. In fact, there’s photos out there of her in this exact same outfit, but just with a different velour track top on. While we wouldn’t wear it now, we kind of can’t judge her; she still looks good.
10 As Were The Monochrome Outfits
Kylie Jenner may be rocking monochrome outfit looks more often than not now, but Mariah Carey was the originator of these trends. The hairstyles may have changed, but this look is actually pretty similar to some of the stuff she wears now. Minus those “I’m a cool dad” sunglasses she’s rocking.
9 Her Smile Has Never Changed
We all owned a shirt like this back in the early 2000s, but only Mariah Carey could pull it off as a dress. While we’re sure this was for photoshoot purposes and not wearing-it-outside purposes, the look is indicative of a larger aspect of early 2000s style for Mariah Carey: wearing her fabulous, never changed smile.
8 And The Mid-2000s Was When Her Current Style Really Started Developing
Low cut shirts, loosely curled hair, and casual looks to the camera; these are the things that really highlight who Mariah Carey is. Personally, we don’t mind the fact that she’s wearing a shirt style that stopped being popular as quickly as people embraced it. It fits her very well, and that’s enough for us.
7 She Skyrocketed To Fame
Sure, she always had that star power within her. Her first couple albums were huge hits, but finding her stride after a couple releases meant that the star power finally flourished and gave her everything she deserved. Awards, engagements, and more hit singles; Mariah Carey is in her heyday here.
6 Then She Reached Icon Status
This is the Mariah Carey we know and love, and firmly believed that it was the beginning of her turning into an icon. While she’s not rocking the heels in this photo, her makeup and style is similar to what we see today when we see her. Plus, that cellphone and wine combo is definitely #goals.
5 And Even Her Casual Looks Became More Polished
Her weight might have gone up and down, but her look definitely didn’t change much from this point on. With the creation of her icon status came a lot more desire to look presentable and polished, we believe. At least, that’s what we’re picking up based on the style she developed at this point.
4 2010 Ushered In A New Carey Era
We won’t speak about what happened with Carey in the early-to-mid 2010s. The pressures of stardom can get to be too much for some people, and even though Carey is extremely well practiced in dealing with the stress, she ended up having a hard time dealing with certain things. She seems to be all good now, though.
3 Which Included Some Dramatic Changes
Coping is tough for many people, and Mariah Carey is no exception. She still managed to look fabulous, although we definitely questioned a handful of her red carpet looks. At the end of the day she’s still as gorgeous as ever, but this kind of little black dress and grandma pearls style is one that’s not easy to pull off.
2 She's Always Fabulous, Though
Confidence is key, as well as continuing to work on yourself. Mariah Carey knows that, and has been outspoken about the reasons she had to take her break. Is this the kind of thing we’ll be thinking about in 10 years? Probably not. Will Mariah Carey continue to make music, all while looking fab? We certainly hope so.
1 And Is Still Lighting Up The World
There’s no end to the light that Mariah Carey brings. Her voice is incredible, her smile is divine, and she’s absolutely gorgeous. The holiday season is coming, and we’re once again convinced that she’s the human embodiment of the star on top of the Christmas tree. Looking good and creating music seems like Carey’s purpose in life, and she’s totally achieved it.
Sources: biography.com, billboard.com