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Corner Studio Girlies

By Marcel Alcalá


By Whitney Mallett

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Full Corner Studio Girlies

“I get kinda hectic inside,” croons Mariah Carey on her 1995 hit single “Fantasy,” illuminating over a candy-sweet dance beat her reoccurring chaotic, erotic daydream. Seven years later on MTV’s Cribs, Mimi showed just how hectic she likes to get inside her Tribeca penthouse, pairing strappy heels with a strapless ensemble to work out on her Versaclimber total body cardio machine. “So I can stand here, look at New York, things of that nature,” she tells the camera, pumping up and down in place, looking beyond statuesque while she takes in the city skyline, her honey-colored blowout falling across her bare shoulders.

Studio Girlies Snakes

In that scene we get only a glimpse of the buildings visible from Carey’s exercise room (which is crammed full of equipment that the singer’s brother bought: “I really don’t know how to use most of it,” she confesses), so it’s hard to say which way the windows face, but given the episode’s 2002 air date it’s safe to assume she was looking at a post-911 skyline, the nearby twin towers having fallen relatively recently. The prior year’s September 11 attacks were Carey’s excuse for the failure of her star-is-born film Glitter, which hit theaters ten days later, only to belly flop. And while I’m not suggesting that sabotaging the vehicle intended to catapult Carey into cinema stardom played a role in Al Qaeda's attack schedule, it has been documented that Osama Bin Laden’s preferred five-octave-range songstress was Whitney Houston.

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Glitter originally had an August release date, but the premiere was pushed back after Carey had to be hospitalized for exhaustion at the end of July. According to The New York Post, her breakdown was triggered by Jennifer Lopez using in her 2001 single “Be Real” a sample from Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Firecracker,” which Carey had originally used as the basis of her song “Loverboy,” intended for the Glitter soundtrack and teased in the film’s trailers. Carey switched it up, releasing a version of “Loverboy” that samples Cameo’s “Candy” instead; its critical reception that summer was lukewarm at best. Carey was convinced her ex-husband and Sony Music chairman Tommy Mottola was trying to sabotage her. Ever the snake, Mottola not only licensed “Firecracker” two months after Carey, but fast-tracked the release of J Lo’s song on which the sample appears, so that it hit the airwaves first. What’s more, he caught wind of an Irv Gotti-produced duet Carey had made with Ja Rule (also for the Glitter soundtrack) and frantically hired Gotti to remix J Lo’s “Be Real” to feature Ja then made sure that their collab came out before Carey’s. In her Allure magazine cover story, which hit newsstands right before the twin towers fell, while J Lo and Ja Rule’s track was topping the charts, the interviewer mentions that Lopez claims to get eight hours of sleep a night, to which Carey snaps back, “If I had the luxury of not actually having to sing my own songs, I’d do that too.” (Many of Lopez’s hits feature ghost singing by Christina Milian, Ashanti, and others).

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Carey and Mottola were married for only five years. Shortly after their wedding in 1993, the couple moved into their 22,000-square-foot Westchester dream home, a red-brick castle they had built in upstate New York, which featured a recording studio, beauty salon, and indoor swimming pool enclosed by a heavenly cloud-painted ceiling. But our sweetest dreams sometimes become the stuff of nightmares, and Carey came to nickname the house “Sing Sing” because she felt like she was living in a prison where she had to sing, sing, sing all the time. Like their marriage, the house didn’t meet a happy end, catching fire and burning to the ground in 1999 after being sold to new owners. That same year Carey put in a bid to buy Barbra Streisand’s Central Park West duplex, though after being rejected by the co-op board, she ended up moving to Tribeca instead, settling in at the penthouse apartment where she still lives today. On the Cribs tour, we never see Carey’s own bedroom, the diva opting instead to show us her only guest room, aggressively butterfly-themed in its décor. “I like butterflies,” she offers. Which, duh—she named an entire album Butterfly and there’s of course her infamous Emanuel Ungaro sequined butterfly top. But why would a dream home have only one guest room? Any more and, according to Mimi, “fools like to stay over too much.”

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