DANC­ING QUEEN

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

Cher on her ca­reer and the Mamma Mia! se­quel.

Leg­endary singer, ac­tor and fash­ion icon Cher joins the cast of Mamma Mia! for the film’s lon­gawaited se­quel. Here, she talks to ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer RITA WILSON about the power of a fear­less stylist, work­ing with her ex-hus­band and re­al­is­ing her mother was al­ways right

RITA WILSON: Oh my god. I saw the movie.you are hi­lar­i­ous!

CHER: Well, I hope I was there long enough to make some sort of im­pres­sion.

RW: Oh, yes! And I loved when you posted a pic­ture on Twit­ter of your sparkling plat­form boots and ev­ery­body went ba­nanas spec­u­lat­ing that you were in the film.

C: I think some­body told me I should post some sort of hint.and so I did.

RW: For me — and for mil­lions of peo­ple — you are a leg­end of mu­sic, fash­ion, film, tele­vi­sion.to what do you at­tribute your suc­cess, your longevity and your abil­ity to be so ver­sa­tile as an artist?

C: Luck! It’s so un­der­rated.you can be all kinds of things, but if you don’t have luck, no one will know.

RW: You know what they say about luck? Time just did an ar­ti­cle on this, say­ing we all have our sup­port sys­tems from our fam­i­lies and friends, but luck is what hap­pens when you go out­side of your nor­mal sup­port sys­tem and you en­counter peo­ple who are out­side of your world. So to be lucky, you have to get out­side of your com­fort zone.

C: I did that when I was young. I knew what I was gonna do when I was four. By the time I met Sonny, I was just un­har­nessed en­ergy. And he said, “OK, we need to do some­thing with this.” I didn’t even have con­fi­dence. So I’ve just done all of it with luck. My mother said to me when I was very young, “You won’t be the pret­ti­est, you won’t be the most tal­ented, you won’t be the smartest, but you are spe­cial.”

RW: What an amaz­ing mes­sage for a child to hear.

C: I am dyslexic, so noth­ing pointed to any­thing. I was dark and ev­ery­body else in my fam­ily was light. But my mother kept say­ing, “you are smart. It’s just not show­ing, but you are smart.” I can’t see num­bers. And my mom would say, “Don’t worry, you’ll have some­body to do that for you.”

RW: That is such a won­der­ful thing for a mother to recog­nise in a child. I fol­low you on Twit­ter and I love how vo­cal you are when it comes to pol­i­tics and [the US]. What would you say to other women about how to be in the world right now? I’ve al­ways been in­spired by you be­cause you just don’t — can I say fuck? — you just don’t give a fuck what other peo­ple think.

C: Right. I don’t. My sis­ter al­ways said, “You’ve got to watch your lan­guage. ”and I went, “Oh, you know what? That ship has sailed.” I don’t think like a woman — I think like a hu­man be­ing. I care about the world, and I have my point of view, and it’s not nec­es­sar­ily right. But I see that there’s a per­son in the White House and all these peo­ple in the gov­ern­ment who are kind of crazy. I think women are go­ing to save this coun­try — women and young peo­ple.we just have to in­spire them and sup­port them. this is one time when the com­bi­na­tion of older women and younger peo­ple is re­ally go­ing to make the dif­fer­ence.

RW: When you were younger, you were mar­ried to Sonny Bono. You sep­a­rated, then got a di­vorce. that must have felt like a very scary mo­ment. But you were able to con­tinue work­ing, grow­ing and al­low­ing peo­ple to see you in so many dif­fer­ent ways as a fully evolved hu­man be­ing.

C: Yeah, but Rita, I met him when I was 16 and left when I was 27. Dur­ing that pe­riod, I didn’t grow as a per­son — I grew as an en­ter­tainer. Sonny and I al­ways got along when we were work­ing. If he came back to this liv­ing room right now, we would pick up where we left off be­cause there was some­thing be­tween us. I’m not so sure we should have been hus­band and wife, but we had a bond that never broke.

RW: I don’t think peo­ple re­alise how dif­fi­cult it is to be known for one thing and to turn it into some­thing else, like you did when you tran­si­tioned from sing­ing to act­ing in movies like Mask and Silk­wood. then you won an Academy Award for Moon­struck!

C: In the be­gin­ning, the stu­dio did all these tests [for Moon­struck] and they said, “This movie doesn’t ap­peal to any­body.”

RW: If a movie stars a woman and is made for a fe­male au­di­ence and it’s a suc­cess, they’ll say: “It was just a fluke.” Women

“Sonny and I al­ways dressed out­landishly. Peo­ple thought it was wild, but we were re­ally proud of the way we looked. I got that early: the not car­ing what peo­ple thought. Be­cause, re­ally, who cares?”– CHER

con­trol the ma­jor­ity of con­sumer spend­ing in our coun­try. And yet we are al­ways get­ting short shrift on things like movies be­ing made for us. I was thrilled with Girls

Trip last sum­mer be­cause it was like, Oh, thank goodness, this one’s def­i­nitely not a fluke. Women can hold au­di­ences. Let’s make more of these types of movies.

C: I’ve watched The Post so many times. When a movie’s re­ally great I will watch it again and again. I kept think­ing, My god,

this is the way women used to be treated. They had to go in the other room when the men were talk­ing busi­ness. Or women would be in a room and the men would just talk right over them. I re­mem­ber when women used to in­tro­duce them­selves by their hus­band’s first name. Like “I’m Mrs John Treacher.” As if. I mean, as if.

RW: As a young woman, I ab­so­lutely loved your style. I still do — the way you dress in your life, and for your shows. All those amaz­ing out­fits you wore to the Os­cars! We’re miss­ing this kind of risk-tak­ing now. Women dress so po­litely and taste­fully these days. But there was noth­ing safe about the clothes you wore. How did you find the con­fi­dence to dress like that?

C: I just wore what­ever [de­signer and cos­tumer] Bob Mackie made for me. At the Os­cars in 1986, when I got to the mic [wear­ing the no­to­ri­ous feathered head­dress] I said, “I did re­ceive my Academy book­let on how to dress like a se­ri­ous ac­tress.” I had Bob, so all I had to do was stand still and he did the work. I was never embarrassed by any­thing he gave me to wear. Of course, Sonny and I al­ways dressed out­landishly. Peo­ple thought it was wild, but we were re­ally proud of the way we looked. I got that early: the not car­ing what peo­ple thought. Be­cause, re­ally, who cares? I liked the dress. I trusted Bob. I had the body to pull it off. I had no boobs. I was straight and not curvy.

RW: Ev­ery­body wanted your abs! C: I never had to work for them.

RW: That is just de­press­ing. C: Yeah, well, I have to work my abs off now.

RW: You’ve kept your pas­sion alive over six decades.what drives you?

C: When I get out there, I still have a good time. I also re­alise that there will even­tu­ally come a time when I can’t do it, so I want to en­joy it as long as I can. Also, I can still sing. I’m gonna be like Tony Bennett.

RW: He’s ex­tra­or­di­nary. You’re ob­vi­ously good friends with Meryl [Streep], and now with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again we’re kind of re­unit­ing you. I worked with Meryl on It’s Com­pli­cated.and I re­mem­ber be­ing in a scene with her and think­ing, Oh my god, I’m in a scene with Meryl Streep! C: I’m also a huge fan. RW: Tell us a lit­tle bit about your friend­ship. C: I met her for the first time in a sushi place in Texas when we were work­ing on Silk­wood. I walked in, and she came over and hugged me and said, “I’m so glad you’re here.”we were to­gether all the time af­ter that.we used to go to the movies on Sun­days.when I was in Newyork, I would go to her house ev­ery day.

RW: Over the years, you’ve been hon­oured for your phi­lan­thropy and so­cial ac­tivism. Can you tell me a lit­tle bit about why you got in­volved with AIDS re­search, LGBT rights and the Cher Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion?

C: There are so many things that still need to be done. When I was grow­ing up, we were re­ally poor. If we com­plained, my mom would say,“i com­plained that I had no shoes un­til I saw a man who had no feet.” I was so sick of hear­ing that when I was young. But it made an im­pres­sion.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is in cin­e­mas July 19; Cher’s Here We Go Again tour will be in Aus­tralia Septem­ber 26–Oc­to­ber 20.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Cher’s plat­form boots. Above: scenes from

Cher and cos­tume de­signer Bob Mackie at the Met Gala, 1974. Inset, from top: in a Mackie look in 1978; with Sonny in 1966.

Cher in 1971.

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