Kylie Minogue has managed to do the impossible since she first appeared on our screens in the 1970s – remain relevant and successfully reinvent herself time and time again. Amanda Cassidy looks at why, five decades later, we can’t get Kylie out of our heads.
It is no exaggeration to say that it was the wedding of dreams. It was 1985 and we collectively gasped (along with the other 20 million viewers) as Charlene married her sweetheart Scott after one of the most documented love stories in soap opera history (They were dating in real life).
We slow-danced as teens to Especially for You, we bopped to the Locomotion and begged our hairdressers for the same golden perm. Three decades later, we cheered once more as Kylie came back with a bang, her gold hotpants heralding her new dawn – her glittering career once again in the spotlight.
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She’s survived cancer and dated models 19 years younger. She’s sold over 80 million records and performed at some landmark events, including the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She’s even launched her own lingerie and range of bed linen.
Last year, Kylie Minogue celebrated a major milestone birthday with a star-studded guest list including Alan Carr, Graham Norton, Amanda Holden and even her former Neighbours star Jason Donovan. Now, she has announced a new greatest hits album, Step Back in Time: The Definitive Collection which will be released in June. We can expect to hear 42 of Kylie’s signature songs including the locomotion and million-selling Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.
But how has the girl from Down Under so successfully reinvented herself over and over again?
Kylie Ann Minogue has now become one of the few celebrities to be known only by their first name but she was just 11 when she made her first TV appearance on the popular soap, The Sullivans and Skyways. Kylie played a Dutch girl called Carla and was involved for six episodes. A shy child originally from Melbourne, Kylie has spoken in the past about her difficulties in making friends during her school years. She took time out of school for filming, against her parent’s wishes but admits her real passion was always in music.
In 1985, Kylie was cast as one of the lead roles in The Henderson Kids – she was dropped from the second season of the show after her character was ‘written off’. Producer of the show, Alan Hardy went onto say that it ‘turned out to be the best thing for her. Indeed, Kylie admits that it was the catalyst for her to focus on her music. She made a demo tape for a weekly music programme called Young Talent Time (her sister, Dannii was a regular performer on it) and Kylie gave her first TV singing performance on the show. Not long after, she was cast in the iconic soap opera, Neighbours as Charlene Robinson.
By the mid-90s, Kylie had successfully managed to shed her innocent tomboy Charlene image. She switched up her hairstyle bringing the cropped style back into fashion. By now, all eyes were on her love-life – especially after her high profile break-up with Jason Donovan. She started dating Michel Hutchence and started touring internationally. By 1997, Kylie was in a relationship with French photographer Stephane Sednaoui who encouraged her to develop her creativity. Again, her image changed from bubble-gum pop to something a little edgier.
The result of being slightly riskier paid off. Her 2001 hit ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ went on to become the most played tune of the decade. She had reinvented disco – but with a sparkle. This was the era of the gold hotpants which saw Kylie spinning around. She incorporated Burlesque and theatre and brought back the showgirl style of Broadway shows like 42nd Street. Her performances were OTT and extravagant. Her fans loved it. Kylie’s love life looked more stable too – she started a long-term relationship with the actor, Oliver Martinez and even appeared in Doctor Who. But in 2005, Kylie postponed her Showgirl Greatest Hits Tour after a devastating diagnosis – she was 36 years old and had breast cancer. The survivor survived.
This is the decade that saw Kylie Minogue named as one of the hottest women of all time by Men’s Health. The pop star now had a net worth of around 55 million pounds. Now in her 40s, Kylie had also embraced her status as a gay icon. She told reporters “I am not a traditional gay icon. There’s been no tragedy in my life, only tragic outfits” and “My gay audience has been with me from the beginning … they kind of adopted me.” Kylie admitted that she was really touched to have such an appreciative crowd. Her love life continued to be turbulent. In November 2015, Minogue confirmed she was dating British actor Joshua Sasse. In fact, the couple announced their engagement in 2016 but by 2017 it was all off.
But despite being unlucky in love, the singer shows no signs of slowing down. She successfully launched her 14th studio album, Golden which has already made number one in Australia and the UK. She partied the night away at her 50th looking stunning in a white dress and strappy shoes along with her nearest and dearest. This pop chameleon took to social media to acknowledge her milestone birthday last year with new confidence, tweeting “And so a new decade begins. How thankful I am for the opportunities life has afforded me. 50….. Let’s go!”
Something tells us she won’t be slowing down anytime soon.