I’m sure I wasn’t alone on the evening of September 12, this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, in feeling equal parts shocked and thrilled when Cher strutted onto that stage in her “If I Could Turn Back Time”–circa 1988–sheer, sequined, insane bodysuit at age 64. She looked fabulous, that goes without saying. And she’s got a big comeback going on, so more power to her. But what is it about this icon that makes us keeping wanting more? And how much of a good thing, is just way too much?
This month’s issue of Vanity Fair debuted on newsstands last week. In the cover shot, Cher is (true to form) clad in a scant, black unitard, decked in jewels, hair wild and flowing. I found the interview itself pretty interesting. Cher opens up on a slew of topics from her difficult marriage to Bono (“He was so much more than a husband—a terrible husband, but a great mentor, a great teacher…”) to feeling shorted by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (“We influenced a generation, and it’s like: What more do you want?” Of course, daughter-turned-son Chaz makes for an interesting topic of conversation as Cher admits she struggles with pronouns but understands her child’s struggle with gender identity. You should check out the issue to read more–I guarantee it’s a great read.
Okay, so I’ll preface this bit by saying I have no right to comment on a movie I haven’t yet seen. I’ll surely be in line Thanksgiving weekend when it opens (but not in Manhattan–as there is still a rumored bed bug infestation in many theaters, and that’s totally creeping me out). But am I the only one who thinks the trailers are sort of, well, tacky? Maybe I’m just not that into the whole musical-movie thing. Or for that matter, the small town girl making it big in the entertainment business montif–which we just see too often. Fair enough if I am judging a book by its cover here, but I guess I’m just missing the point. I wish we could see her open up a little more. Try something totally outside of her norm. What about playing a character who actually looks (somewhere near) her age? As in, ditch all that makeup and the tiny outfits and nightclub atmosphere and play someone’s mom? In a setting other than a burlesque club?
As I said, it’s pretty clear the woman looks damn great. But doesn’t it make you sad though, just a little, that this is what we’re supposed to aspire to? In a country so eager to go green, to give back, to pay it forward, and all the rest of those charming concepts, why are we still SO afraid to age gracefully? Now I am no expert, nor do I have any exact idea about what procedures she’s had done. But let’s all agree that Cher’s face has been tampered with. Majorly. And a woman at that age (with grown kids!) has no right to such sculpted abs and a tiny toosh.
For the average gal who’s got some money in the bank and is scared to look old, hey, go for it. But a part of me feels like someone in the public eye should try–just a little harder–to exercise some restraint in the plastic department. If every woman in Hollywood knifes themselves into such shape by the age of 64 (which, mind you, is NOT OLD), every other woman in America is going to be crying themselves to sleep. It’s an impossible standard to uphold. And an unnecessary one. You people are role models! Suck it up and buy some La Mer! Sneak in a little Botox from time to time. But no need to go so far.
Based on looks alone, my love goes to Meryl Streep. No, she doesn’t look like she did in the ’80s. But she is so utterly beautiful in her natural-ness, that it makes even the 20-something set jealous. And it gives her peers and her juniors something to feel proud of and to hold onto. Heck, even Cher admits in the Vanity Fair article: “I think Meryl [Streep] is doing it great. The stupid bitch is doing it better than all of us! But I don’t like it. It’s getting in my way.” Part of being a woman, and owning that power, is aging in a way that makes us feel comfortable yet allows us to look like US.
At the end of the day, we all still love Cher. She’s an icon, she’s a goddess, and plastic surgery or not, men of all ages still want to bed her down. Go Cher! I know the comeback is going well, but hope that as she continues on the journey, she’ll find even more of her true self in there, and maybe even share some more of it with us.
ps. In homage, had to throw this one. My fave of all time.