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16 Cher Quotes on Feminism, Success, and Denim

Ever since she was a little girl, Cherilyn Sarkisian knew she wanted to be famous. Just how she’d achieve that goal was unclear, but she never gave up. By 1965, at the age of 19, she reached No. 1 in the U.S. and U.K. charts as one-half of the folk rock duo Sonny & Cher, with their song “I Got You Babe.” The hit marked the start of a career that has spanned six decades and is still going strong.

On stage, the lovingly dubbed “Goddess of Pop” has always been known for her distinctive contralto singing voice and her characteristically flamboyant style. But she never saw herself as simply a singer: “I’m an entertainer,” she once said. “I’m there to make it sparkly.” Cher always wanted to be an actress, a goal that few people took seriously. But, in typical Cher fashion, she didn’t let other people’s opinions stop her. In 1982, she made her Broadway debut in Robert Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, and her performance surprised many of the critics who had been waiting with sharpened pens. This launched her Hollywood career, and she later appeared in critically acclaimed movies such as Silkwood, Mask, and Moonstruck.

Beyond her success as a singer, actress, television personality, and fashion trendsetter, Cher is also known as a towering figure of female empowerment. With her sharp wit, intelligence, and refusal to be controlled — combined with her fearlessness when it comes to speaking out against powerful men — Cher has become, in her own unique way, a feminist icon. She has served as an inspiration to many other female performers, including Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Lady Gaga, and is never afraid to speak her mind. Here are some of the diva’s greatest quotes, covering everything from feminism to success to the importance of following your dreams.

I’m really fine with the peaks and valleys. It’s the valleys that make me, force me to reach further.

Don’t buy into the idea that women aren’t strong enough to do anything they want on their own.

I feel like I am a bumper car. I hit a car and I back up and I go in another direction. So, sometimes when I haven’t done well in one thing, I just go back and do something else.

I love standing on the stage and singing. The feeling you have in your body when you sing. It’s big, no matter how small you are. You just feel like you can fill everything, and I pretty much can.

I am just me. I don't know what else I would be if I wasn't me. I am not looking from the outside, looking back. I am who I am.

Women are the real architects of society. Women have to harness their power – it’s absolutely true. It’s just learning not to take the first “no.” And if you can’t go straight ahead, you go around the corner.

I never think of the word comeback as a slap in the face. It’s a challenge.

I admire anybody for standing up for what they believe — man or woman, I don’t care. Having beliefs — especially if other people don’t agree with you — it’s difficult in this day and age.

Credibility is to be good. You must be good. That’s all I ever wanted — to be good at what I did.

I once said — and I really believe it — if you’re really nice, people will walk all over you, and if you stand up for yourself they will call you a bitch. So you lose both ways. But at least the last way you get it right.

My mom said to me, “You know sweetheart, one day you should settle down and marry a rich man.” I said, “Mom, I am a rich man.”

I live my life the way I want to, which used to be considered a masculine trait, but now it is not. When I started doing it, it wasn’t so popular. But the later in time we get, the less radical it seems.

My relationship with denim started when I was six years old. And it has gone on ever since. It is the longest relationship I have ever had.

I wanted to be an actress and everybody said “No, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t.” And I just kept saying, “Oh, I can, I can, I can.”

You know my mother told me once: “You know, you’re not the most beautiful, you’re not the most talented. You won’t always be the youngest, but you are special and there’s something more important about that.”

I don’t think that we are born with a finite number of dreams. One thing about dreams is that they can be whatever you want them to be, you don’t have to put a limit on them, you don’t even have to know them.

Photo credit:  Fotos International / Contributor/ via Getty Images

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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