The iconic singer on animal rights, Trump’s ‘toxic’ politics, cosmetic surgery and the men in her life. Simon Hattenstone, the Guardian. December 2020.
The Goddess of Pop is in town. And what an entrance she makes. Two-tone black-and-white beret, matching jacket, skinny jeans, black boots, black mask, and an elephant-shaped knuckle-duster. She looks the ultimate in revolutionary chic – Cher Guevara. She is not in London to promote a record (100m sold and counting) or a film (she won the best actress Oscar in 1988 for Moonstruck); she is here to talk about rescuing the world’s loneliest elephant from a zoo in Pakistan and flying him to a sanctuary in Cambodia. Cherilyn Sarkisian, aged 74, has never been predictable.
We meet in a London hotel, close to the BBC’s Broadcasting House, where she has been eulogising elephants. She is masked, I am masked, and we sit at opposite ends of the room. It’s such a strange world we’re living in, I say – how are you coping? And she is straight off into a turbo-charged rant. “How am I taking it? There are no words that describe it. And in my country the president doesn’t believe it has anything to do with him. He doesn’t think he has any responsibility to help us.”
How has Donald Trump changed the culture of the United States? “It’s toxic,” she says. “People who just disagreed with each other before are now enemies. I hate to even call him a president because all he does is watch TV.”
In October, Cher recorded a song for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe, a reworked version of a number from the 1940s musical Cabin in the Sky.