70 reasons to love cher at 70

Singer, actress, chat show host, style icon, gay icon, the ultimate showbiz survivor: at this stage in her career, Cher is kind of incomparable. As she celebrates her 70th birthday, here's an i-D edit of 70 times Cher was a total boss.

by Nick Levine
21 May 2016, 12:26am

1. When Marc Jacobs called upon his most inspirational friends to front his autumn/winter 2015 Campaign, he obviously contacted Cher. "This has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time," Jacobs told The New York Times. "Other boys were out fascinated by other things. I was like, no, I'd really much rather see what Cher's wearing this week."

2. At that year's Met Gala, which Cher attended with Jacobs, Kim Kardashian said her style inspiration was the gown Cher wore to the first ever Met Gala in 1974.


3. Cher has been a style pioneer since the 60s, when she and Sonny Bono helped popularise the hippie look with their fringe tops and bell-bottom trousers.

4. During the 70s, Cher became a muse for designer Bob Mackie, who said of her ability to wear just about anything: "She was like a big Barbie doll."

5. Their collaboration has lasted for four decades and Cher said it had "broken my heart" when Mackie was too busy to design costumes for her 2014 tour.

6. The black Bob Mackie gown and feather headdress Cher wore to the Oscars in 1986 is often mocked, but who else would take that kind of fashion risk?

7. Cher totally owns her flamboyant style, saying: "I am never offended when I see drag queens dressed up like me."

8. Cher also deserves credit for her forward-thinking, body-positive approach towards fashion. In 1975, she became the first person ever to show their navel on American TV.

9. People magazine later dubbed her "the pioneer of the belly beautiful" .

10. Cher's cosmetic surgery has often been a tabloid punchline, but she's always championed her right to do exactly as she pleases with her own body. "If I want to put my tits on my back, it's nobody's business but my own," she once said.

11. Oh, and for the record, she says that rumour about having a rib removed is totally untrue.

12. Few people expected Cher to build a credible acting career in the 80s, but she went on to win an Oscar for her performance in the 1987 rom-com Moonstruck.

13. She also held her own opposite Meryl Streep in 1983's Silkwood, winning a Golden Globe in what was only her fourth ever film.

14. She then shone opposite a trio of English Dames (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Joan Plowright) in the charming 1999 period drama Tea with Mussolini.

15. In 90's Mermaids, Cher played one of the coolest ever movie mums, bringing up Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci boho-style in 60s New England.

16. She was also a super-cool mum in 1985's Mask, protecting her son as he battled through adolescence with extreme facial disfigurement.

17. According to her Witches Of Eastwick co-star Susan Sarandon, Cher was never afraid to act like a boss on set. Sarandon recalled recently: "Cher said, 'Y'know, I really have a hard time being in a scene that's not about me.' So we just took her lines and she got to go home."

18. But when Cher makes a bad film, she won't sugar-coat it. She told The Guardian that her 2010 comeback vehicle Burlesque had a "really terrible director", a "really terrible script" and could have "squeaked by" as a popcorn movie if it had been shorter.

19. She also dismissed the film, memorably, on Twitter.

20. We won't bore you with too many stats, but Cher is one of only five people to have won an Oscar for acting and scored a US number one hit.

21. Her trophy cabinet also contains a Grammy, an Emmy and a Best Actress prize from the Cannes Film Festival.

22. She's the only artist to have scored Billboard number one hits in six consecutive decades - from the 60s to the 10s.

23. And she's topped the US dance charts no fewer than eight times. *dancing lady emoji*

24. If Michael Jackson is the King of Pop and Madonna is the Queen, Cher has surely earned her more ethereal title: Goddess of Pop.

25. The music industry is a notoriously ageist place for women, but Cher topped the charts worldwide when she was 52 with 1999's Believe.

26. That single spearheaded the trend for Auto-Tuned vocals that T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Kanye West would later continue.

27. Yeezy actually thanked Cher for introducing him to Auto-Tune when the pair met at the 2015 Met Gala. We wish there were more photos.

28. Cher's Believe follow-up single Strong Enough is still one of the great "f**k you!" post-break-up songs.

29. Cher has always hopped from genre to genre. Her first solo hit was a cover of Bob Dylan's folk song All I Really Wanna Do.

30. Before she and Sonny Bono became famous, Cher actually worked as a backing vocalist for revered 60s producer Phil Spector. She can be heard on hits including the Ronettes' Be My Baby and the Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'.

31. In the early 70s, Cher topped the charts with kitsch classics like Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.

32. And her single The Way of Love caused controversy because it seemed to be about a woman whose male partner leaves her for another man.

33. Then in 1980, she teamed up with dance music pioneer Giorgio Moroder for the disco hit Bad Love.

34. She's even tried hip-hop - though only a handful of people have heard the results. Cher provides vocals on two tracks from Wu-Tang Clan's "secret" 2014 album The Wu - Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

35. Cher actually suggested a name for a potential supergroup, Wu Tang Cher Clan.

36. Oh, and Timbaland co-wrote and produced Cher's 2012 track I Don't Have to Sleep to Dream.

37. Around this time, Cher also recorded a duet with Lady Gaga called The Greatest Thing. Though Gaga eventually vetoed its release because she wasn't keen on the end result, an unfinished version of the track leaked in 2013.

38. Cher even remade I Got U Babe with Beavis And Butt-Head - yes, really.

39. Cher's relationship with the LGBT community is legendary. She once joked: "I think that the longer I look good, the better gay men feel."

40. But she also discussed her LGBT appeal more thoughtfully in a 2013 interview with The Guardian, saying: "Gay guys like a certain kind of woman. They like a flamboyant woman that's broken. They like a balls-to-the-wall woman, motherly but not; sexual but not. Gay guys are like this: they either love you or they don't even know you're on the planet. Once you have them, you have them."

41. In 1998, she received the Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards for her work to increase the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community.

42. In 2014, she turned down an offer to open the Winter Olympics in Sochi because of Russia's poor treatment of its LGBT citizens.

43. Cher's honesty has also been applauded by fans of all sexualities. She admitted she "had a hard time" when her son Chaz transitioned from male to female a few years ago.

44. She's since shared her experiences with other parents of trans children. Cher told the Sunday Times in 2013: "For the people who don't understand it I try to help them understand, by saying, you know, 'I just love being a woman so much, but if I woke up tomorrow and I was a man I couldn't function, And that's the only way to describe it to someone who doesn't understand. It's hard to relate to, 'Oh, I must change my sex.' But I know if, by some miraculous something I woke up as a man, I'd hate it so much I can't tell you."

45. The previous year, Cher had come full circle by presenting a GLAAD Media Award to her son Chaz.

46. Of course, Cher has always had a flair for camp. From straddling a canon in the If I Could Turn Back Time video…

47. … to wearing CGI newspaper as hair in the Woman's World video…

48. … to filling her Take It Like a Man video with twerking male underwear models.

49. Cher has also been hailed as a feminist icon, with Camille Paglia noting: "Because of her working class background, a mass audience of women have a deep empathy with her emotional life."

50. During the 2012 Presidential election, she and Kathy Griffin teamed up for a pro-women's rights public service announcement.

51. "Women have to harness their power - it's absolutely true," Cher has said. "It's just learning not to take the first no. And if you can't go straight ahead, you go around the corner."

52. Though Cher and Madonna are hardly BFFs, she gave her fellow performer a sisterly shout-out after #capegate last year.

53. Cher's attitude towards dating has always been super-modern too. She once said: "A girl can wait for the right man to come along but in the meantime that still doesn't mean she can't have a wonderful time with all the wrong ones."

54. In recent years, Cher's emoji-packed, grammar-bending Twitter feed has made her a must-follow.

55. Even her Twitter bio is brilliant: "Stand & B Counted or Sit & B Nothing. Don't Litter,Chew Gum,Walk Past Homeless PPL w/out Smile.DOESNT MATTER in 5 yrs IT DOESNT MATTER THERE'S ONLY LOVE&FEAR"

56. Cher has used Twitter to underline her feminist credentials.

57. And to voice her support for the LGBT community.

58. And to call out casual racism.

59. And to draw attention to America's shocking number of untested rape kits.

60. And to share her forthright views on Donald Trump.

61. And to remind us that ageing doesn't mean giving up your sex life.

62. And to big up Marc Jacobs.

63. But she isn't afraid to poke fun at herself.

64. And she knows how to shut down a hater.

65. She's shared a no make-up selfie too - but only when her mum insisted.

66. Cher's approach to her career is fierce af: "I've always taken risks, and never worried what the world might really think of me."

67. As if to prove her point, she announced a Las Vegas residency just three years after completing what was supposed to be her "Farewell Tour".

68. Cher's sheer endurance has become legendary, with one gay impressionist famously quipping: "After a nuclear holocaust, all that will be left are cockroaches and Cher."

69. Cher is rightly proud of her career longevity.

70. But is retirement on the cards? "I have done so much more than I thought I would do," Cher said a few years back. "And yet I am not finished."


Text Nick Levine

cher at 70