The “Obsessed” singer, 53, appeared on the Tuesday, August, 30, episode of Markle’s podcast, “Archetypes,” during which they discussed their natural hair struggles. Early in the episode, the Duchess of Sussex, 41, gushed over the hitmaker, recalling how Carey inspired her as a young girl. Markle explained that Carey’s 1993 music video for “Dreamlover” made her feel seen as the Grammy winner showed off her coily texture in the visual.
However, for Carey, the experience was a bit daunting. “The ‘Dreamlover’ video … people were saying, ‘girl next door,’ because there was also this ambiguity about me, racially, that fed into that, and those curls,” the “Honey” artist said.
She continued: “Here’s the thing — they didn’t know how to do my hair, because if it was a white hairdresser that had never dealt with textured hair, they would tend to do a different thing. And my hair would be like, ‘You’re not doing that!’” Carey added: “And then if somebody that had only dealt with ethnic hair, it would become too much product and too much weight.”
Markle echoed similar sentiments, sharing that she too felt “shellacked” by the “heavy hair grease” often used on her mane.
Carey went on to explain that she was also met with adversity growing up, sharing that “nobody” knew what to do with hair when she was little. (Carey’s mother, Patricia Carey, is white and her father, Alfred Carey — who died in 2002 — was black.)
“I think sometimes when it’s the other way around, you get the benefits of someone who’s dealt with textured hair,” the vocalist said, seemingly implying that it may be a bit easier for a biracial child if the mother is Black.
Markle then shared her own story, thinking back on a time when her maternal grandmother, Jeanette, would wash her hair in the kitchen. “She’d go, ‘Just hold on to the sink,’ and I would grip my little hands on both sides,” the Suits alum said. (Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, is black and her father, Thomas Markle, is white.)
In addition to bonding over their crowns, Markle and Carey discussed reclaiming positive meanings of certain words.
At the end of their chat, the Glitter star called the Bench author a “diva,” which made Markle a little nervous.
“I think it’s both [a compliment and a criticism],” Carey told Markle, adding that the term was initially meant to describe the “grandeur” of an operatic voice and powerhouse woman.
“As things evolved [in] the past, whatever, 20 years, it became, like, a diva means you’re a successful woman, usually, but also … a b-i-t-c-h,” Carey continued. “It’s not OK for you to be a boss. It’s not OK for you to be a strong woman.”
Markle admitted, however, that she thought Carey was dissing her initially.
“You couldn’t see me, obviously, but I started to sweat a little bit … I just kept thinking, in that moment, was my girl crush coming to a quick demise? Does she actually not see me?” the California native said.
Markle added: “When she said ‘diva,’ she was talking about the way that I dress, the posture, the clothing, the ‘fabulousness’ as she sees it. She meant diva as a compliment, but I heard it as a dig … In that moment, as she explained to me, she meant it as chic, as aspirational. And how one very charged word can mean something different for each of us, it’s mind-blowing to me.”