Cher has been challenging beauty norms for decades, so it comes as no surprise that the queen of reinvention is kicking off 2022 with a brand new beauty campaign with MAC cosmetics. Aptly named Challenge Accepted, the campaign stars the Oscar-winning musician, actor, and activist alongside American rapper-songwriter Saweetie, and puts their favourite MAC products to test. We recently spoke with Cher about her new collaboration with MAC Cosmetics, her favourite signature beauty look, and how her approach to makeup has evolved after so many years in show business.
You’ve always been innovative when it comes to beauty and continue to be a huge inspiration. How did this collaboration and partnership with MAC Cosmetics come about?
“Well you know, we’ve been flirting with each other for a long time about doing something. I like this campaign because it was about a concept, it wasn’t about a product, it was about a beauty idea for everyone. I think it’s such a great thing that we’re opening up the world to people, no matter what you look like. Everyone’s seeing a new idea of beauty and that’s all they have to do, people just have to be able to see it and then have it reaffirmed, and then people go ‘that’s beautiful, I never thought about it before, but it’s beautiful.'”
I love that. Do you remember your first memory of experimenting with makeup?
“Oh babe, I was playing with makeup from the time I could play with toys. My mother and her friends, they were models. At one point there were three women living in the same house and they were all models and I would just sit silently and watch everybody do everything that they did and in those days there wasn’t much, there weren’t as many steps. There was eye makeup, there was blush, only they called it rouge, there was mascara, and there was lipstick—of course there was lipstick.”
Is there a beauty look that holds a special place in your heart as being a major moment for you?
“When I started I didn’t know I was going to need a signature because I wasn’t famous. I was just a girl, and I started playing around with this kind of dark line in the middle of my eye and drawing it down, along with really light lipstick. And I just wanted to do something that was me ,and then a lot of people didn’t enjoy it, but I didn’t care because I thought I was beautiful, and that’s what I think is important. I think you have to think that what you’ve done is beautiful and then not care what anyone else thinks. I have been on the line so many times where people have thought ‘she’s crazy, this is stupid, this isn’t attractive.'”
You mentioned you experimented with makeup when you were very young. When you created your first signature look—the eyeliner look—is that when you realized the power of makeup?
“I think I realized what a powerful tool makeup was because of my mother and her friends. I watched them sculpt and create. It’s creation, it’s painting, it’s like you have your face as this blank canvas and then you start to define it and make it different. You can experiment with colour, it’s really like painting a picture, that’s always the way I thought about it. I always thought even if you’re just doing black and white, it’s still a picture.”
And how has your approach to beauty evolved over the years? How do you approach it now?
“I have to tell you, the older you get, the more difficult it seems to become, but I still do the same things. You experiment but then you go ‘oh no, that didn’t work,’ or you find something and you go ‘oh, this is my new best friend.’ The first time I saw a MAC counter, I said ‘oh my god, this is candy for your face,’ and I was thrilled at the colours because there was such a wide range, and you could find yourself there. You knew you could find who you wanted to be in those colours, and also who you didn’t think you were.”
That’s a really beautiful way of putting it. So many people look up to you and in many ways live vicariously through your performances, beauty looks, and beyond. What advice do you have for anyone looking to make bolder choices with their beauty and still stay authentic to who they are?
“This is something that I have, I’m glad I came up with the idea—I’m probably not the person that came up with the idea but I’m glad I came up with the idea and thought it was mine. I don’t believe in the word ‘no’, and it’s like I don’t actually believe in the word ‘no’, the word ‘no’ doesn’t exist. You could fall flat on your face but not believe the word ‘no’. And if someone tells you ‘no’, don’t believe it. I want women to find their power however they can and push the envelope however they can. If you believe the word ‘no’, you won’t be pushing anything.”
View #MACChallengeAccepted campaign below and shop the collection here.