Whether as a controversial figure or a pioneer within the worlds of fashion, music and pop culture, Cher has almost always been in the public eye. The incredibly gifted singer, actress and entertainer, whose birth name is Cherilyn Sarkisian, knew she wanted to be a star at an early age and always had her eye on the prize after that.
To this day, she remains one of the most popular and influential celebrities of all time.
Cher's look has changed a lot over the years, and many of her styles represent not only the time period in which she lived but the impact that she's had our culture. Most of the commentary about her style has been positive, but some looks have gotten negative or mixed reactions.
We're reminded of this in these 18 Pics That Change The Way We See Cher.
18. She's Beautiful Without Trying
We've seen Cher rock so many glamorous styles over the years, complete with lots of makeup and jewels, that we sometimes forget what a natural beauty she's always been. She's never needed much to emphasize her star power. Her gaze alone commands the camera's attention.
17. She Became Known For "One Of The Most Monumental Looks Of All Time"
The partnership that Cher had with the famous designer, Bob Mackie, is legendary, as were the outfits that she designed for her. The nude gown that she wore in 1974 became incredibly controversial and paved the way for the nude looks that we see on so many celebs today.
Billboard dubbed her 1974 Met Gala attire "one of the most monumental looks of all time."
16. She Still Rocks The Sheer Look In Her 70s
Cher refuses to shy away from the sheer styles she's been known for all her life, even in her 70s. Many celebrities might embrace retirement at this age, but the singer is still rocking her signature look, along with her incredible vocals. She's now approaching her eighth decade of life, and she's bound to have even more groundbreaking moments.
15. She's Always Been The Focus Of The Room
Farrah Fawcett was considered a great beauty of her time, but this photo reminds us that no actress, no matter how enchanting, could grab the attention in a room like Cher. The entertainer is tall and striking, and her personality is so bold. She is impossible to ignore in any situation.
14. Goddess? Queen? Both
Many of Cher's looks mimic what queens or goddesses might wear, which is fitting. The self-proclaimed diva has never shied away from her own fabulousness, which is why she's been so successful all these years.
In order to achieve superstardom like hers, maybe you have to believe you're a goddess or queen.
13. She Broke Boundaries By Baring Her Midriff
Cher was not the first actress to bare her midriff on television. Yvette Mimieux was the first to show her belly button in 1964's Dr. Kildare, and several other actresses showed their tummies afterward.
It was Cher, however, who did it constantly, leading People magazine to call her "Pioneer of the Belly Beautiful". She created a culture where it was common to show and appreciate this part of the body.
12. When She Turned Back Time Again
Cher's racy leather and mesh outfit, which she wore during her "Turn Back Time" music video, was yet another controversial moment in her history, so much so that MTV wouldn't air the video until after 9 p.m.
Despite the 2020 halftime show complaints against Shakira and J.Lo, fashion has become much more lenient since then. Cher reminded us that she's part of the reason why when she donned the outfit again for the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.
11. She Became The Face Of Marc Jacobs At 69
While a few makeup and clothing brands have embraced using older women as spokesmodels, it's still not the norm, so when Cher became the face of Marc Jacobs at 69 in 2015, she continued to bust down walls and take the world by storm.
Cher looked like an elegant Gothic goddess in ads, and while she walked the red carpet at that year's Met Gala. She wore a gown worthy of royalty.
10. When She Uses Cultural Appropriation
Something that's often bothered Cher's fans is her unfortunate use of cultural appropriation. While the singer claims that she is 1/16th Cherokee on her mother's side, her use of headdresses and other forms of Native American regalia, combined with performances of songs like "Half-Breed," is definitely frowned upon by many people. It's considered insensitive, at the very least.
9. When She Was An LGBTQIA Ally
via Extra TV
On the other hand, Cher is considered one of the first women to be hailed as an LGBTQIA icon and ally, from her role as a lesbian in Silkwood to her support of gay rights. She's spoken about the first time she met gay men when she was 12 and found them to be wonderful company. She says that it just grew from there. She's also incredibly supportive of her son, Chaz.
8. Just How Long She's Been An Icon
via E Online
The breadth of Cher's career is astounding, especially when we consider how young she was when it all began. Born in 1946, Cher's first hit, "I Got You Babe," was released in 1965, after less than two decades of life. She's had some struggles here and there, but for the most part, she's just kept moving up in the entertainment world.
7. When She Rocked The Short Hair
via Good Housekeeping
Many people associate Cher with either super-long hair (down past her waist) or outrageous, vibrant hairstyles that are meant to shock and excite a crowd. Some of her fans forget the times she's changed her look to shorter hairstyles, like this short bob, or a frosted pixie cut that helped her to stand out in the 1980s.
6. When We Realize That She Was Once Thought Of As A Conservative Performer
via Kiwi Report
The words "Cher" and "conservative" in the same sentence almost seem like a punchline, but that's exactly how she was seen when her popularity began to wane in the late 1960s, during a time of radical change. She quickly learned that she needed to change her "folksy" appearance to maintain her stardom.
5. When We Realize How Much Older Sonny Was
via NY Post
As wholesome as Sonny and Cher appear at first glance, today their match would have been met with more than a raised eyebrow. Many forget that he was 11 years her senior when they met, and she was only 16 at the time. An age gap that large during the teen years is considered inappropriate by most nowadays.
4. That Time She Ate A Cow's Tongue On The Late Late Show with James Corden
via Daily Mail
Cher is famously against the current political situation in America, so when James Corden invited her onto his segment "Spill Your Guts Or Fill Your Guts," rather than compliment the president, Cher chose to eat a cow's tongue. It wasn't even as controversial as many of her moments, which is why many of us forgot it happened.
3. When She Looked Almost Like An Average Person
Cher isn't all glitz and glamour all of the time, as she reminds us on occasion. When she appeared on Today, looking more posh mom than music diva, she almost had us fooled into thinking she'd switched over to conventional style. Nope - the fabulousness of Cher still lurked beneath the everyday look, as it likely always will.
2. When She Dressed To Thumb Her Nose At The Academy
via US Magazine
One of Cher's most controversial outfits made headlines in 1986 - she bared her midriff and sported spiky hair. It turns out that Cher was making a statement, as she often does. She said that she was fed up with the Academy and it was her way of thumbing her nose at them, among the other "properly" dressed Oscar attendees.
1. It's Not Just About Her Hair
You can't think of Cher without thinking of gorgeous hair, but this photo of her next to David Bowie reminds us that it's definitely not just her hair that makes her so captivating. Like the late Bowie, Cher has a presence and an incredible charisma that's downright palpable on camera - it makes her impossible to forget.