Fast forward to the present, and Cher is selling her Malibu home with an air-conditioned room for all of her wigs, which have played a big part in many of these iconic looks and beyond. It’s not something you put in your home unless you really, Yes, really Love wigs (or, you know, really are Yes, really Rich). But as it turns out, there’s a reason Cher is so emotionally attached to her.
“Once upon a time…” she laughs before reminiscing about her time The Sonny & Cher Show. “My [real] Hair was as long as in the intro but then I would have to jump from there to five others [looks between skits]”, she says. “When we started, no one could handle my hair.” Luckily, Cher eventually met German hairstylist and wigmaker Renate Leuschner, who would become Cher’s master of quick hair changes for the show.
The desire to instantly switch from one hairstyle to another would accompany Cher for the rest of her career. “When I’m on stage, I change my costume in about two minutes and everything is whipped away. If I couldn’t wear a wig, what would I do?” If you ever suggested simply pairing the same hairstyle with multiple outfits, Cher would probably stick to her metaphorical beads.
But the story goes far beyond that. The one time Cher wasn’t allowed to wear a wig, her real, very expensive hair paid for it. “When I did it mask, the director said, “You can’t wear a wig. You have to dye your hair because I know if you’re wearing a wig.’” She recalls wanting the role so badly that she did it, which she ended up regretting deeply. “I had black hair and he wanted it red, so I got out of it [hair salon]I had black hair with big red dots in it and I was hysterical.”
As you probably already know, you need to bleach hair that dark to then dye it red. For anyone with naturally dark hair, this is disaster waiting to happen. Cher’s hair was so damaged that she had to see another hairstylist, whom she calls “the hair doctor,” who told her she could save Cher’s hair, but not without drastic maintenance. For a while, Cher had half wigs made by Renate, but eventually “I wore a full wig and I had my hair cut into a white-blonde crew cut.” She recalls going to the director’s birthday party, where he saw the new look and had raved. “I said, ‘That’s what I had to do [do]ruin my hair so you might think you know better than me.” I didn’t say push it, but boy did I want to.”