Diva alert! High-maintenance women were much in evidence last week – with entourages and outrageous wishes

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The Independent Online

Do you turn right or left when entering a plane? Do you ask for a pint in a nightclub or demand Cristal? When negotiating a contract, would you generally prefer payment by cash, cheque or in kittens? If you give the former answer to any of these questions and you are reading this in the paper rather than having it sung to you by a choir of genetically engineered David Beckham lookalikes, shaved, oiled and wearing nothing but melted M&Ms, you are definitely not a diva. Fortunately for Britain's Mean Glamour Quotient, there are plenty of girls in town who are.

Last week, in fact, was a glittering one in the diva calendar. Beyoncé and Rihanna both performed in London. Beyoncé's after party was on a Marie Antoinette theme, with vintage Dom Perignon, French pastries iced with her initials and, um, Nando's Peri-Peri chicken (almost certainly the extra hot one, served with a diamond rémoulade). Dame Shirley Bassey, it was reported, turned up to record a movie voiceover "in a fur hat and full make-up". Then Katie Price swished into ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, having stopped off in LA first for hair, nails and Botox. Apparently, she upset staff at the "posh eatery" La Piazza by demanding that they peeled her shellfish so that she wouldn't damage her nails. She'll have been glad of that the next day, when she was covered in cockroaches with a face full of slime.

You have to admire their chutzpah, but all this seems amateurishly low-maintenance once you see how a true diva goes about things. Step forward Mariah Carey – but not without an entourage of 80 big security guards and a 15-strong team of stylists. Mariah, who apparently "doesn't do stairs", among other things, switched on the Christmas lights at London's Westfield shopping centre on Thursday, having turned down five limos before finally settling for a Rolls-Royce. But sometimes a girl really has to put her foot down – and when Westfield admitted that they had rejected her backstage rider requests of a pink podium, 100 doves and 20 white kittens, you see why the lady had to draw the line at losing the confetti in the shape of butterflies. I mean, you can't start letting these people take the mick.

A quick roll-call of divas from last week's headlines shows that there are certain traits inherent to full-on diva status. Alesha Dixon, Leona Lewis and Myleene Klass have all been named as divas-in-waiting. Aretha Franklin and Oprah Winfrey have been cited as the old guard. It is rare to find a white woman diva, and there are even fewer men. Danyl Johnson had his moment as a diva last week when he threatened to flounce off The X Factor; but he is at least bisexual. If Gordon Ramsay were to behave similarly stroppily, for instance, that would merely be depicted as butch. "Diva", the Italian for goddess, comes from the same root as divus, meaning deity. There is no real male equivalent of divadom. Therefore, Dannii and Cheryl strive for fabulousness – while Simon and Louis just think that they are God.

For regular women who weren't born will balls of diamanté, however, there is still a bestselling self-help guide to be written called How to Channel Your Inner Diva: Get What You Want Every Time, with Glitter on It. Until it is, any woman needing to get served quickly at the bar/retrieve her boyfriend's attention from the cleavage of passing trampy students/ask her boss for a day off should ask herself: what would Beyoncé do? If he liked it, then he shoulda put a ring on it, ladies. Or failing that, he shoulda at least send it home early with a smile, a hint of gratitude and maybe just one small, white, fluffy kitten.


Myleene Klass and Katherine Jenkins

The pair are teaming up to present a new reality TV series, they say. The idea is to turn pop stars into opera singers. And, presumably, find out the true meaning of "prima donna".

Katie Price

Now that she is divorced from Peter Andre, Katie has to pay restaurant waiters to peel her prawns for her.

Mariah Carey

Some people dream of having a red carpet laid out before them. Mariah demands a pink carpet, and an entourage for her pets.

Oprah Winfrey

The most powerful woman in American TV will step down after 25 years presenting her own, self-titled show, she has revealed – to launch her own, self-titled TV channel.

Beyoncé Knowles

At her birthday party in London last week, Beyoncé had her own VIP area and a personal wind machine for her hair.