Mariah Carey Says Only 'Part of' Her Diva Persona 'Is Real': 'I Play Into It'

"I can't help it," Mariah Carey said of her signature diva persona, as she opened up to W Magazine about growing up with a Juilliard-trained opera singer for a mother

Mariah Carey W Magazine feature credit Ethan James Green
Photo: Ethan James Green

Mariah Carey is opening up about her diva origin story.

The Grammy Award winner, 53, chalked up her prima donna persona to being raised by a Juilliard-trained artist as she admitted that "part of that is real" as she spoke to W Magazine for their Volume 6 The Holiday Issue ahead of her favorite season.

"There are things people are not aware of, because this whole quote unquote 'diva' thing is always what people see first… Yes, I play into it," she explained. "And yes, part of that is real. I can't help it."

"Like, what do you do if you grew up with an opera singer for a mother, who went to Juilliard and made her debut at Lincoln Center? There's just a certain amount that is going to emerge. So, yes, it's just an affectation, and sometimes it's purposely done, and sometimes it's just, like, you know, a response," Carey added.

Mariah Carey W Magazine feature credit Ethan James Green
Ethan James Green

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She also opened up about her "extremely dysfunctional childhood" as she revealed the root of her well-known love for the Christmas season.

"When you grow up with a messed-up life and then you're able to have this transformation where you can make your life what you want it to be? That is joy for me," Carey mused. "That's why I want my kids to have everything they can have. I want them to be able to understand that they can be anything they want to be."

Mariah Carey W Magazine feature credit Ethan James Green
Ethan James Green

The "All I Want for Christmas Is You" artist previously told PEOPLE that her youth was "when I learned I was definitely 'other,'" being raised by a Black father and white mother in Long Island, New York. She also revealed some of the advice she would have given her 12-year-old self.

"'Save up your money. Buy some conditioner and a comb, just wet your hair, keep the conditioner on it, and let it air-dry. You'll be OK,'" Carey said earlier this month, adding: "Oh, and I would've said, 'Please don't shave your eyebrows. It's never gonna look good on you.'"

RELATED VIDEO: Meghan Markle Tells Mariah Carey She Was Not Treated as a 'Black Woman' Until She Started Dating Prince Harry

She kicked off her signature season on Thursday, performing her 1994 hit holiday single at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, where she was joined by her 11½-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe, whom she shares with ex-husband Nick Cannon.

Carey is also preparing to celebrate the holidays with her two-hour special Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All!, airing Dec. 20 on CBS and Paramount+.

Mariah Carey W Magazine feature credit Ethan James Green
Mariah Carey. Ethan James Green

W Magazine Volume 6 The Holiday Issue is on newsstands Dec. 6.

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