Curvaceous singer Mariah Carey insists she's a MARY POPPINS-like prude - despite her sexy image.

The 33-year-old FANTASY singer, ex-wife of former SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT chairman Tommy Mottola, has stripped to just a revealing bikini for the September (03) issue of men's magazine MAXIM - but she still compares herself to the prim and proper nanny portrayed by Julie Andrews.

She says, "I know I have this image that's sexy. Bit I'm basically like Mary Poppins. That's my nickname! I'm prudish. It's like playing dress-up.

"When you go through difficult stuff as a kid sometimes your childhood stays with you. I've hung on to that. There was a period when I was in a relationship that was confining, where I had to wear turtlenecks and long pants, and that wasn't me.

"So when I broke out of that - around the time of the HONEY video, where I jump put of the water like a secret agent - everybody was shocked. But that was the real me coming out."

15/08/2003 20:11