Profile Cyndi Lauper
The ’80s icon who just wanted to have fun, bares her struggle juggling career and family on reality TV but she’s still got it all, writes Sheryl-lee Kerr.
‘‘What’s really hard is to keep the integrity of work and to keep the integrity of your home life’’
CYNDI LAUPER: STILL SO UNUSUAL Sunday, 7.30pm, Bio
CYNDI Lauper is pacing a rented French villa looking anxiously at her entourage, lips pursed.
A new ‘‘fierce’’ outfit has high shoulder pads and kicks up at the back in the worst places.
She is just hours from singing to a VIP crowd at Cannes. Her costumer is close to tears. Pins are being whipped out, suggestions of belts and bustles made and rejected. More frowns. ‘‘Does my butt look fat?’’ she asks, looking like a befuddled shi tzu with the weight of the world on her shoulders. ‘‘I don’t look like a pancake butt do I?’’
‘‘Nooo, you’ve got a Nicki Minaj thing going,’’ assures one delectably groomed male attendant.
The car arrives but now the costumer is giving in to the inevitable.
‘‘Why is she crying?’’ asks Lauper, genuinely perplexed, from deep inside the giant black vehicle. ‘‘Does she want me to change?’’
She leans forward, as if half tempted to start over. Panicked voices reassure her. She sits back.
Welcome to the latest celebrity reality TV show, Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual.
The ’80s Grammy-winning superstar, due to tour Australia at the end of the month, and famous for hits like True Colours and Girls Just Want To Have Fun is now moving into the role of TV star.
The gay rights activist has previously done a colourful stint on Donald Trump’s diva free-for-all, Celebrity Apprentice, famously scolding him as wrong for calling her friend Rosie O’Donnell ‘‘disgusting’’.
In Still So Unusual she lets cameras trail her for 12 episodes in the new Foxtel series.
It may lack the off-the-wall, slackjawed weirdness of The Osbournes and the insatiable drama queening of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, but it makes up for it in real-world life-balance worries, albeit A-lister style.
Among the insights into Lauper’s world is the drain that comes from constantly being stopped by fans for photos and autographs at every turn.
A day at Coney Island with her husband of 21 years, David Thornton, and boy-band lookalike son Declyn, then 14, turns sour.
‘‘There are those people, who do not leave my mum alone,’’ Declyn says in exasperation. ‘‘They’re like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Cyndi Lauper!’ It’s a little annoying. I’m just trying to spend some time with my mum, guys. You’re never done with them (fans).’’
David, all tanned and cool in a white suit and unbuttoned shirt, leans back and offers a more philosophical commentary.
‘‘When your wife is a rock star, you never have a private or personal life,’’ he says.
‘‘And even if you do, you’re waiting for it to be interrupted. For me I have to come to peace with that. The flipside of that is you are afforded opportunities to do things you’d never be able to do.
‘‘As you’re older and wiser, you recognise that. When you’re younger, you go, ‘This is bulls---’.’’
If it’s already hard enough to stop fame impinging on her family life, what on earth possessed the music star to submit to starring in a reality TV show?
Lauper explains that Mark
Burnett, who produced The Apprentice, approached her to star in a scripted comedy. She tells Hollywood Reporter, ‘‘I realised my life is a comedy, so we might as well film it. I think the show is fun. It shows the struggle with the juggle. For most women, it’s really hard to work and have a family, and we kind of want it all.
‘‘I am lucky because my husband helps me so much, but I think that people can relate because it’s about trying to do well and stay close as a family.’’
It’s a message Lauper repeats to a contingent of foreign press in Cannes.
‘‘What’s really hard is to keep the integrity of work and to keep the integrity of your home life,’’ she says. ‘‘I always thought I could have it all but I never really thought about who was gonna do it all.’’
As if on cue, her harried personal assistant interrupts to haul her away for a sound check.
After Lauper reluctantly leaves the limelight, she shares her delight in having just learnt she has a huge fan following in Poland.
‘‘David Hasselhoff might be big in Germany but apparently I’m big in Poland,’’ the 60-year-old says with gravity and satisfaction.
Time flies when you’re swirling around the eye of the Lauper storm. Soon enough, it’s show time. Her dress might look like an ode to twin volcanos, but so what? Everyone is ready. The tears are dried. Butt proportions are forgotten. Cyndi Lauper steps on stage.
And the crowd goes wild.