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Cher and Zendaya Meet, Talk Red Carpet Risks and Industry Sexism

Larry Busacca / Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images
Larry Busacca / Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images

Cher and Zendaya recently had a chat in the latest installment of Paper magazine’s new Girl Crush series (Little Big Town really pushed that term to the cultural forefront), in which “women with mutual admiration for one another get together for conversations that offer illuminating looks into what it’s like to be a woman right now.” The two aren’t quite the disparate match-up they seem like at first glance: Both are multi-hyphenate talents —actor-model-singer-etc. — and Zendaya’s become a fashion risk-taker in the past few years, something Cher’s been long known for herself. And as anyone who follows either on Twitter knows (seriously, follow Cher right now, it’s the best), neither is afraid to speak her mind.


We learn right off the bat that Cher knows the “Something New” singer from her work on Disney’s Shake It Up sitcom, and they heartily approve of each other’s splashy red carpet style.

“There’s literally been red carpets where I think, this is my Cher moment,” Zendaya said. “I’ve dissected and looked at a lot of the things that you’ve done that I think were pretty groundbreaking, especially for women. So I’m super inspired by you. I think [fashion] is just girl power in a sense, and it’s also about being inspired by past things and reinventing things.”

Cher described how her style evolved over the years, from her hippie looks in the Sonny & Cher days to her decades-long role as designer Bob Mackie’s muse. “And I don’t know if you find this,” she tells Zendaya, “but if I do a film and I put on the clothes, I just kind of become the character, and it helps so much.”

Zendaya agrees, and adds, “I kind of embody my own personal character every time I step out on different red carpets.” Her most recent hairstyle at the 2016 Grammy awards had critics likening that character to those of Joe Dirt and Billie Ray Cyrus, but one has to live their truth.


Subjects the women also discuss include their mothers’ respective influence on their lives, struggling with perfectionism, and Hollywood’s double standard when it comes to gender.

“It’s a rough business, and it’s a rough business for women,” Cher tells Zendaya. “But it’s better now than it was when I started, because it wasn’t good at all. Back then, women did not have the opportunity to be their own masters. People wanted to pat you on the head and tell you to go sit in the corner until it was time to sing.”

Read the entire conversation over at Paper

25 Times Zendaya Proved She’s a Young Fashion Icon

Next: Zendaya Sets Twitter Ablaze With Awards Show Look, Again

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