Mariah Carey album, fairy lights top Christmas wishlist

After a challenging year for everyone, many Australians are eager to finish 2020 on a festive high note — Sophie Monk included.

The actor, singer, radio and television host, who most recently appeared on Masked Singer: Australia, has already put up her Christmas decorations at her Central Coast property in New South Wales, which she shares with her partner of two years, Joshua Gross.

But that’s not the only Christmas tradition the Aussie talent embraces.

“Fairy lights — I’m obsessed with them. Also Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, I listen to it all year round like a dork,” Monk said.

“I love the weather, people are in a good mood. I love all holidays for the excuse to dress up and have fun with costumes.”

When it comes to sharing her gift-giving expertise, the Fudge ambassador rejects the notion presents have to look perfect under the tree.

“You don’t have to be a good wrapper. I buy really good presents but I’m terrible at wrapping, which actually makes the gift stand out more,” she laughed.

With state borders reopening and domestic travel returning to normal, Monk believes there is more reason than ever to appreciate Australia’s own backyard.

“I think we’ve all just got to enjoy being at home and luckily in Australia we’ve got great weather,” she said.

“We have the best holiday destinations in Australia, so even though we can’t travel [abroad], we’re so lucky that we have such amazing beaches at home.”

With her forthcoming role as the host of Channel 9’s reboot of Beauty and the Geek Australia, Sophie is optimistic for the year ahead and is contemplating a return to music.

“I think all of us hope next year will be better in every way,” she said.

“I’d love to do a bit more music and just keep entertaining people.”

For more Christmas tips and tricks, check out the December edition of Wellness+, included in today’s paper.

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‘The Meaning Of Mariah Carey’ Demonstrates A Painstaking Commitment To Specificity : NPR

Mariah Carey performs onstage during her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” tour at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 15, 2019 in New York City.

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Mariah Carey performs onstage during her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” tour at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 15, 2019 in New York City.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

There’s nothing quite like an intricately designed Mariah Carey lyric. You know it when you hear it, because it involves a kind of vivid wordplay so utterly specific that you can’t help but find yourself conjuring images in your own head of blissful romantic entanglements, earnest yearning or the doldrums of deep, intense heartache.

In the dreamy deep cut “Underneath the Stars,” for example, she describes a rendezvous with a lover:

One summer night, we ran away for awhile

Laughing, we hurried beneath the sky

To an obscure place to hide

That no one could find

And we drifted to another state of mind…

As the song continues to unfold, the encounter is fueled by a “natural high,” until the night comes to an end and the two must part, reluctantly, leaving Mariah only with sweet memories of their dalliance. The mood is lush and ethereal, accompanied by soft, angelic instrumentation harkening to 1970s R&B slow-jams.

The Meaning of Mariah Carey, by Mariah Carey

Andy Cohen Books


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Andy Cohen Books

Her lyricism can be just as poetic when the story being told involves kissing off a no-good man, injecting a bit of humor into her unflinching dismissal: If we were two Lego blocks even the Harvard University graduating class of 2010 couldn’t put us back together again, she riffs punchily in the bridge of “Up Out My Face.” It’s witty, it’s silly — so silly, in fact, Carey herself lets out an audible giggle right after she sings it.

I thought often of lyrics like these while listening to the pop star read the audiobook The Meaning of Mariah Carey, released earlier this fall. Her long-awaited memoir (written with Michaela Angela Davis) promises the chronicling of her life’s ups and downs “unfiltered,” and indeed she demonstrates a painstaking commitment to specificity throughout as she recounts a complicated childhood, challenging relationships and her career.

Take, for starters, Carey’s hair, which may as well be considered a fully fleshed out character in Meaning, with a personality and agency all its own. Not only does it get its own chapter, in which she reveals how her white mother’s indifference toward her biracial daughter’s curls made them a “matted, tangled mess” and fueled Carey’s insecurities at an early age; stray mentions (sometimes, entire paragraphs) of how it was coiffed at any given moment are sprinkled throughout the book, emerging unexpectedly like the taste of a flavorful pinch of spice added by the chef for that little extra kick.

On getting ready to attend the industry party where Carey, then still

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