August 6, 2013

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Thirty Seconds With Mariah Carey

I attended the New York premiere of Lee Daniels' "The Butler" last night, and this movie is so stacked with recognizable names I thought my head was going to explode: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, James Marsden, John Cusack, Lenny Kravitz, Cuba Gooding Jr... and did I mention, OPRAH?

I couldn't decide what to ask Oprah. Do I ask her to say "brand new caaaaar!" into my audio recorder? Or do I just ask her to pay for my student loans? Sadly I didn't have to worry my inappropriate little head about it too much because many of the big names in the film didn't do press on the carpet. (Or they just did television press. I'm not sure, I couldn't see much from where I was positioned -- excluding Oprah's amazing and towering Afroprah.)

Do you know who else is in The Butler? Mariah Carey. Mimi. Meemz. Mimoo. But I didn't get to interview her either. I did, however, spend about 30 glorious seconds in her presence that were exquisitely ridiculous.

Mariah Carey was the last person to walk to red carpet, with husband/handler/unfortunate fedora aficionado Nick Cannon on her arm. The screening was supposed to start at 7:30. Mimi swooshed by the press line at 7:40 -- ten whole minutes after Oprah. Oprah! Isn't Oprah supposed to be the main event?

Not when you're Mariah Carey. But before I tell you what happened, let me tell you about Nick Cannon. Nick Cannon must really, really love Mariah Carey. Like almost as much as Mimi loves Mimi. I'm sure he thinks he loves her more, but come on, is it even possible for someone to love Mariah more than she loves herself? I don't think so.

Fedora-donning Nick is arm and arm with Mariah as he's whisking her by the press line. His other arm is just pointing at Mariah, presenting her to the awaiting crowd.

See? Or maybe he was just pointing at her GOLD-STUDDED LEATHER SLING. What happened next, you ask? Well after I instagrammed her entrance like an asshat, I also had my recorder on in case she couldn't resist a little face time with the press.

Let's break it down. She's scurrying through the room, Fedora on her arm and pointing at her gold-studded leather sling, frantically not-whispering, "What am I wearing? What am I wearing?"

"You're wearing Tom Ford." Assistant #1 answers dutifully.

"I'm wearing Tom Ford?!" she responds in surprise. (You hear me laugh under my breath on the recording.) Perhaps she didn't see the label on her dress when she did not dress herself that day. (Some stars are not just like us.)

"Mariah what happened to your arm?" asks the loudest voice coming out of the press scrum. Mariah slows down to talk, but Nick continues to usher her away. They're late, you see. Ten minutes late. Ten minutes after Oprah late. "I dislocated my shoulder," she answers emphatically. You could almost hear her pain. "But everything is going to be alright!" she assures us.

She continues to explain as reporters begin shouting questions at her. Stop pulling her away Nick! We want more Mimi! She wants more Mimi too!

"Are you going to continue acting?" calls out a reporter. She turns back around. "I would love to, I do. I love it," she answers. "But you won't get to see much of it in this movie." Oh.

"She only has a small role in this movie," one male reporter explains to the group -- but not quietly enough. Mimi looks back as her entourage pushed forward. He immediately bursts into butterflies who fly out of the theater to discover the true meaning of a small role.

I was on deadline so I skipped the screening to go transcribe interviews and bask in the glory of my 30 seconds with Mariah Carey. For the stars I did interview, I took them on a trip down memory lane back to high school history class.

The main character in The Butler is -- you guessed it -- a butler, who serves the White House through seven presidential terms and witnesses firsthand some of the most prominent moments in American history, from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, to the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Taking that into account, in each interview I asked, "If you could meet any POTUS, who would it be and why?" Here are the answers.

Oprah for Prez though, am I right?
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  1. Omg you write for Variety?! Craazy!! That is so awesome, great job on your report although I like your recap here much better ;)

  2. I'm so entertained by your celebrity anecdotes from your new job. Keep it up, Niki!

  3. Awesome "get" Mariah Carey is an Icon. Hope I can interview her for Moda Terminal