When is a diva not a diva?

20 November 2009

Mariah Carey

Tedious link alert (just, bear with us on this one and all will become clear)… Remember in The Wizard of Oz, when White Witch Glinda asks Dorothy, ‘Are you a good or bad witch?’ and how baffled we all were as children - what? Roald Dahl told us all witches are bad! Wrong! Now (thanks to Wicked) we understand that, in fact, there’s a light and dark side of every species… and that includes divas!

Theses days, calling someone a diva isn’t complimentary. ‘Me, me, me’ mega-stars like Beyoncé (who’s 139-page rider includes six beauty chambers, fitness equipment, white tulips with their stamens removed and 10 Mercedes so she can give paps the slip) have given divas a bad name. When the singer performed in Liverpool this week she hired a whole extra hotel suite, just to store her luggage – she did have seven suitcases, three holdalls and two crates. 

And Mariah Carey just takes the mickey. Did you hear, the singer demanded 20 white kitten and 100 doves, to join her on stage, when she turns on Westfield’s Christmas tree lights (the health and safety brigade put their foot down)?

But, in amongst this madness, there are still some pop idols happy to make their own tea, carry their own luggage and even take public transport (shock horror). ‘Then they’re not divas’ we hear you cry! Oh yes they are… look it up in the dictionary. Alongside ‘prima donna’ there’s a second definition, ‘A highly distinguished female singer.’ See!

That’s where our good witch, bad witch analogy comes in (told you we’d get there in the end). Whilst some dark-divas like Maz and Beyonce abuse their power, others like Leona Lewis don’t flaunt their fame.

‘The term diva has such a negative connotation,’ she said, ‘But I see myself as a kind of good diva. I’m a next-door diva.’ Being a good-diva includes, not flashing the cash (‘I drive a Toyota Prius in LA. It’s very environmentally friendly.’), being brash (‘I'm not a loud, extravagant person. I don't show off or boast, and it's pointless to think I'm going to be any different’) or swapping her average-Joe boyfriend for a pin-up (‘This is real life, it isn't make-believe. Why would people think that you should leave someone because, all of a sudden, you're a singer.’)

So next time you label a prima donna a ‘diva’, choose your words carefully, there’re all not the same.
- Amy Molloy.


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