Catching up with MiNDFOOD during her Australian tour, Cher chats about ageing, family, her own #metoo experience, and the importance of failure.
Does simplicity come with age?
No! (laughs) It’s so complicated. I keep thinking, ‘I’m too old, why am I working so much?’ It’s crazy. So no, it’s not simple at all and I wish it was more simple. I need a vacation!
When was your last vacation?
My friend Laurie and I and our other friend Manya, we went on her boat and we went all around the Mediterranean and it was fabulous. It was one of the most exciting and it was just women, just all women and we just had the best time. I ate ice cream all the way through because I never get a chance to eat ice cream. (laughs) So every picture of me in every city is me eating ice cream.
When did you know you were going to be ‘Cher’?
I wanted to do this from the time I was four years old. I wanted to be what I am today from the day I went to see Cinderella, and I knew that that’s what I was going to be. And my mum was really encouraging, always. I was really dyslexic. I’m still really dyslexic, so I didn’t do well in school, and there was nothing that was screaming, ‘Oh, you’re going to be Cher!’
You’ve had an amazing life. Any regrets?
We don’t have enough time for that answer! (laughs) But yeah there are. I think failure is necessary. I mean, failure is highly underrated because when you are having a success, you never go, ‘Oh my God, why am I having this?’ But when you’ve just had a failure, you think about it, you ruminate, and you want to explore it, and I think it makes you be better.
You were in Sydney earlier this year for Mardi Gras. What was that experience like?
It was great. All these gigantic drag queens came, Cher Drag Queens! Everybody was having such a good time. You can’t help but get swept up in the spirit of that.
You look incredible. What’s your health regime? Tell me your beauty secrets!
Well I’m never going to give that up! I really work out all the time and I’m a healthy eater. I always have been. My mother was a healthy eater. My mother was basically a healthy eater out of poverty because we didn’t have a lot of money, so we didn’t eat meat because we couldn’t afford it. But also my mother was from the south so she made fabulous vegetarian things. And I take care of myself, and I try to take care of my skin because I know that that’s the first thing that kind of says how old you are. And I think I lived pretty healthily. I don’t do drugs, I’ve never done drugs. I don’t drink and I think that that kind of ages you. I don’t smoke and I think that ages you. I smoked a long time ago when I was young, like 42 or three years ago. And I think that those things age you more.
Whose career would you have liked if not your own?
I think it would be Meryl. Meryl has a perfect career. I can’t think of anyone better. There is no one better, and she balances her life really well. And she’s really easy going because I emailed her, and I went, ‘I’m not happy with the way I look in the one sheet (advertisement for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!) I’m too dark.’ And she wrote me back and said, ‘Stop it, okay! It doesn’t make any difference, just give it up and let it go.’ And I went alright. But I didn’t (laughs).
How do you feel about men these days? Do you have a companion now?
Well, I had one not so long ago, but the truth is, and I don’t know if you can understand this or not, but having any kind of boyfriend in front of the press only leads to tears. It’s never worked that well for me. I’ve had breakups. It’s better now to hide everything.
How do you relax?
Well, I used to do yoga years and years ago and I did Pilates years and years ago. And I do a combination of things because I get bored. And also, I went to Nepal a long time ago and I understand about meditation and it really does help you, it really does calm you. It centres you, and I am SO not centred. I’m just not a centred person. I mean I can concentrate when I’m working, I’m totally focused. But I’m kind of out there when it comes to just going through a day. I get distracted.
You’re a mother of two sons: Elijah and Chaz. How are they doing?
Chaz was just on American Horror Story. And Elijah is working on some music right now and he’s doing a project that I can’t really talk about, but it’s really interesting.
How do your sons deal with their very unconventional and very famous mother?
Well, I think it’s not fun, (laughs) but I’ve been famous their whole lives. It’s been a pain for them. The outside personality doesn’t have too much to do with me or them, because you know, I don’t go around looking like Cher. When I’m at home, I’m in sweatpants and no makeup. And that’s how they know me.
Regarding the #metoo movement, I’m sure you’ve had some incidents in your career. Can you talk about any of them?
I had one. I had one incident with a very famous producer who I will not name. And I was really young, I was about 28, but you have to realise, I met Sonny when I was 16 and left him when I was 27 and hadn’t really grown very much in those years, so I was kind of immature. And I wanted to do a movie, and he called me to his house to do an interview supposedly. And when I got there, several things happened, and I just realised because my mother had told me a lot about the casting couch when I was young, because my mother did parts and she did extra work. But, I wasn’t anticipating anything happening to me because I was already famous and couldn’t believe that this guy was going to come off with this kind of crap. So, I just said to him, ‘I’m feeling really sick and I have to go home, and I’m really sorry but I can’t continue the meeting.’ He was so obvious. And when I got home I thought, ‘How can he feel good about himself? How can he not know how inappropriate this is?’ I didn’t stick around. But he was very famous. I’ll tell you that.
You’re a singer, actress, businesswoman, you’re a fashion designer, philanthropist, producer, songwriter – how on earth do you have the time?
I don’t know! I should be dead! (laughs) It doesn’t mean I do all those things well, but I do them.