|All I'm saying is ... some people ... somewhere ... have said Mariah Carey can be a bit of a diva|
(photo by Steve Gawley)
Noun. Late 19th century.
[Italian from Latin = goddess.]
A distinguished female (especially operatic) singer;
a prima donna.
Diva is derived from the Italian root meaning of 'goddess'. This is interesting and apt, although I can't help but feel a little unfair to likes of Ceres, Diana and Venus - genuine Roman goddesses with the genuine godly powers of smiting and the like. After all, were they to act like the modern-day pantheon of air-headed divas with more ego than talent, we'd probably be saying of them 'Oh this is a bit much!'
And if you're in any doubt regarding the stratospheric level of self-importance a diva can attain, consider their riders - that is, the particular demands they level before appearing or performing at a venue. As reported by The Telegraph, these include:
Having someone walk backwards in front of you in case you fall over
Having a separate wig room
Custom-made germ-resistant toilet seats
Insisting that staff call you 'Number 1'
(Jennifer Lopez again!)
Having your dressing-room carpet ironed so it's not too bumpy
(Kanye West, who amply proves that men can be divas too)
Not that any of this is to take cheap digs as empty-headed celebrities. No, no, no. Rather, it just illustrates the aptness of the etymology of diva. Its synonym prima donna literally means 'first lady' in Italian, and like diva primarily refers to a distinguished female singer. However, just like Kanye West's ego, it has distended to become so much more than that. Or less than that. Because I kind of feel grubby just reading (and then writing) about such brazen pomposity.
Do please leave your most demanding comments in the box below.