Pop and R&B diva Mariah Carey has dominated the music industry for decades, as 18 of her songs (including “Touch My Body”, “We Belong Together” and “Always Be My Baby”) have hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Expanding her reach, Carey went on to feature in movies such as the 2001 star vehicle Glitter and the 2009 Oscar-winning drama Precious. Tonight (Oct. 5), the legendary singer will appear as Kitty in the critically acclaimed primetime soap Empire, one of her most anticipated appearances yet.
In honor of Mariah Carey’s Empire debut, here’s a look at the star’s best roles over the years.
Mariah Carey starred as Billie Frank, a young aspiring singer who desires to leave her troubled life behind to pursue a music career. The journey to the top for young Billie is a difficult one, as she falls in love with a DJ who also becomes her producer. The much-hyped film was a commercial flop for Carey upon its initial release, but has become something of a cult classic for fans in the 15 years since.
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) October 3, 2016
In another “aspiring singer” role, Carey plays Krystal — a waitress who longs for a singing career, and who meets two brothers on a quest to find their father. Along with the siblings, Krsytal travels to Tennessee, each with hopes of escaping their past and pursuing their dreams. The Lee Daniels-produced film received mixed reviews, but earned Mariah some positive notices for her “understated and very effective” performance.
“Mimi” — who’s known for her luxurious style choices — stripped away her diva trappings for a role that required a natural talent and a natural look. Mariah Carey took on the role of Precious’ guidance counselor Ms. Weiss for the Daniels-helmed drama, earning Mimi the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for her acclaimed turn.
The Butler (2010)
Lee Daniels again showed that he knows which roles fit Mariah Carey best when the two teamed up for 2010 prestige picture The Butler, where Carey eschewed her lavish life to take on the role of Hattie Pearl, a field slave, and the mother to protagonist Cecil Gaines. Mariah was nominated, along with the rest of the film’s stacked ensemble, for the Best Cast award at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.