mariah carey view gallery
Female, 50 years old

One of the most commercially successful pop performers of the 1990s, vocalist Mariah Carey was the third child of black/Hispanic aeronautical engineer Alfred Carey and Irish opera singer/voice coach Patricia Hickey -- a mix that made her the target of persistent racial prejudice throughout her childhood. The hostility against mixed marriages still persisting in New York at the time ultimately brought about her parents' divorce in the early 70s, putting Hickey in the position of having to keep multiple jobs in order to support her children on her own. By the age of 3, Mariah had already begun to show an enthusiasm for singing, and would sometimes accompany her mother while she rehearsed; taking note of her daughter's interest, Hickey initiated her vocal training soon afterwards. Singing quickly became the center of the young Mariah's existence. Her first public performance took place at the age of 6, and her schoolwork went largely ignored in favor of anything that could further her dream of becoming a star.