Dave and Chuck the Freak

Inductee Mariah Carey speaks onstage at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 51st Annual Induction and Awards Gala at Marriott Marquis on June 16, 2022 in New York City.

Mariah Carey wants you to know she’s 12 years old, spiritually. The self-proclaimed “Queen of Christmas” doesn’t have a birthday, joking with Complex back in 2016, “I don’t have a birthday. I was just dropped here. It was a fairyland experience.”

A year prior, she told People that she doesn’t even acknowledge her age. “I think I have to remain eternally oblivious to age,” she shared. “Honestly, when you put a number on it yourself, it’s just like, Why? Why do that?” Carey added that she prefers to wear as little makeup as she can. “If you’re not wearing a lot of makeup, you don’t have to take a lot of it off,” the “All I Want For Christmas” singer said. “So, my goal is to wear the least amount of makeup possible so I don’t have to steam my face and take it all off.”

While speaking to People about her new children’s book, The Christmas Princess, which was released on Tuesday (November 1), Carey said that 12 years old is the age at which she started receiving the tough but valuable life lessons that made her into the success she is today. The book’s protagonist is a 12-year-old named Mariah, but it isn’t about Carey’s real life.

“It’s a fairy tale,” Carey tells the publication, though there are some parallels with her upbringing. Little Mariah’s house is a “shack,” unlike the other homes on the street. The staircase has sharp, exposed nails in the boards. The character’s mom is named La Diva (Carey’s mother, Patricia, was an opera singer).

“That’s the age when I learned I was definitely ‘other,'” she says. Growing up in a small town on New York’s Long Island with her white mother and her Black father, she added, “It would’ve been great to actually be a chameleon, but I didn’t have the tools for it. Meaning we didn’t have money.”

Writing poems and songs helped Carey process her feelings. “Writing saved me,” the award-winning singer says, revealing that her childhood experiences inspired the lyrics of songs such as her 1997 song “Outside.”

In Mariah’s The Christmas Princess, there isn’t any Prince Charming coming in to save Little Mariah from the blonde-haired bullies. “Her music rescues her,” Carey says, bringing up another parallel between the book and her real life. “It’s not a Prince Charming who comes in. She saves her own day.”