She is the goddess of pop, a style icon since the ’60s and when it comes to fighting for causes she believes in, Cher does not take a back seat. Her annual Las Vegas residency is off the cards this year due to the pandemic, but the iconic artist has been keeping busy with other causes. At 74, Cher looks as fit and fabulous as ever and she says she has no plans of stopping any time soon.
“There are 20-year-old girls who can’t do what I do,” she says proudly. Here are five reasons why we love this perennial performing queen.
She's passionate about animals
At the end of November, the singer helped the “world’s loneliest elephant” find a new home.
After finding out the 36-year-old Asian elephant named Kaavan had been living alone in a Pakistani zoo for years, Cher co-funded a rescue operation led by rehabilitation organisation Four Paws to move him to a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia.
“If you saw Kaavan before we took him to the sanctuary, he was a different animal,” she told The Guardian. “In a matter of minutes, he completely changed. It was amazing to watch.”
Now she’s looking to help Bua Noi, a female gorilla that has spent most of her time in an enclosure at the Pata Zoo in Thailand.
Cher, who grew up with animals around her, wrote a letter to Thailand’s minister of natural resources and environment, Varawut Silpa-archa, saying she was concerned about Bua Noi’s living conditions and offered to arrange and pay for the animal’s transport to a safer sanctuary.
She's a straight talker
Cher has never been afraid to speak her mind – and she doesn’t hold back when it comes to outgoing US president Donald Trump.
“In my country the president doesn’t believe the pandemic has anything to do with him,” she said recently. “He doesn’t think he has any responsibility to help us. Trump doesn’t have a drop of goodness in him.”
She is a big supporter of president-elect Joe Biden and even recorded a song for his election campaign called Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe.
She's a philanthropist
Cher is estimated to be worth $360 million and pockets around $60m a year from her Las Vegas residency – and she uses her big bucks for the greater good.
The singer’s charity, Cher Cares, which she runs alongside Dr Irwin Redlender, the founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, has been providing resources to disadvantaged communities through the pandemic.
She is also affiliated to Keep a Child Alive, a group that provides medicine to families living with HIV/Aids; and she’s been involved in Habitat for Humanity and the Afghan Relief Organization, which provides direct help to those in need throughout war-torn Afghanistan.She is also an outspoken advocate on issues such as veterans’ rights, women’s rights and LGBTQI equality.
She's a fashion icon
From the moment Cher stepped onto the scene more than 40 years ago, she has been in a skin-bearing, sequin-drenched league of her own.
“She was the original red-carpet renegade,” designer Michael Kors says. “From her 1974 Academy Awards silk handkerchief dress and ornate flower crown to her 1986 spider headdress and super-exposed midriff at the Oscars, she broke all the rules. She set the stage for the Beyoncés and Katy Perrys and Rihannas of today.”
With her famous long black hair, she has created an individual style that has lasted decades.
“There are plenty of performers that we date to a certain era, but Cher and only a select few others transcend time. For Cher to have survived as long as she has and to be still well known to a young generation today, proves she is a phenomenon,” says Kevin Jones, curator of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.
She's continued to reinvent herself
And maybe this is one of the reasons Cher is timeless. Not many people in the industry have reinvented themselves the way the multi-talented artist has. Her decades in the music industry have spawned hits such as If I Could Turn Back Time and Strong Enough and won her a Grammy. She is also an accomplished actress – she took home a best actress Oscar in 1988 for her role in Moonstruck and was nominated for best supporting actress in 1984 for her role in Silkwood.
Work is what keeps her ticking so strongly, she says.
“I love being able to take an audience and move them to a different place. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN.COM, PEOPLE.COM, BILLBOARD.COM