Why Kylie Minogue is a cultural icon

Why Kylie Minogue is a cultural icon

Managing Editor Emily Calder explains why she thinks Kylie Minogue is a celebrated figure who has stood the test of time.

“Mummy, who sings that I-should-be-lucky-song?”

One of my earliest memories is at the age of four, singing I Should Be So Lucky with my Mum in the kitchen. This was before I even knew what a pop star was. It was (and still is) one of my favourite songs, and Kylie Minogue remains one of my favourite artists of all time. At the age of five (god bless my poor parents) she was my first ever concert. I am now 22, and last Christmas my cousin bought me a crate of Kylie wine.

I clearly think the woman is incredible. Whilst I am admittedly biased, it is not just me who thinks the world of Miss Minogue. Before the release of her latest album DISCO, she had seven UK number one singles and six number one albums. She has been in the public eye since her appearance in Neighbours in the 1980s. Forty years on, Kylie Minogue is still a household name and a raging success – but why and how has she become such a cultural icon?

The gold shorts, and other stories

Something that strikes me immediately when I think of Kylie is just how cool her clothes are. Her outfits from tour DVDs (which I would watch a lot with my family when I was about five years old, I was obsessed) and music videos are nothing short of legendary. The white hooded catsuit from the 2001 Can’t Get You Out of My Head video is still one of the best outfits in music video history.

Kylie did not stop there. The gold hotpants in the 2000 Spinning Around video remain a look that I think many people secretly wish they had the confidence to pull off. I was lucky enough to see Kylie at her Showgirl tour in 2005 (yes, again, and thank you to my parents) and I desperately wanted to pull off her sparkly outfits and feathered head-dresses. Kylie is still serving looks today – exhibit A, a very cool red tracksuit at Glastonbury 2019. She somehow manages to present outrageous costumes with absolute class. Her clothes will forever go down in pop culture history.

Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Hello, LGBT community!

It is no secret that Kylie Minogue has been a gay icon since the beginning of her career. Clubs all around the world (when allowed to be open, of course) host Kylie nights. If you ever have the pleasure of attending a Kylie concert, you can expect the audience to be largely made up of LGBTQ+ fans.

Whether she is celebrated for overcoming adversity (her cancer battle in 2005), for releasing a timeless club banger with Spinning Around, or just being a ray of sunshine, the gay community has an enduring love for Kylie. Of course, this fact in itself is a huge reason as to why she is such an icon: she has the love of a community that will support her until the end of time. Kylie will undoubtedly always return the love she receives from this community. She feels that being a gay icon is “natural” to her and would sneak into Kylie nights herself.

Jack of all trades

The final reason for Kylie’s enduring legacy, and probably my main reason for supporting her for as long as I have, is her effortless drift across genres. Kylie’s best songs are when she embraces her pure pop roots. The best examples being Better the Devil You Know and Love at First Sight.

Her ability to handle just about any genre means her discography never gets old. She has smashed the duet, for instance, her song Kids with Robbie Williams (another childhood favourite of mine) is still one of my favourite songs to this day. Especially for You with Jason Donovan will never cease to be a break-up banger. But her 2018 country album Golden took many fans by surprise. I am not a huge fan of the genre myself, and so it isn’t my favourite Kylie release, but I have to give her props.

The power of DISCO

One of my favourite Kylie albums to date is her 2020 album DISCO. It is perfect for her and her fanbase. I am not exaggerating when I say every song bangs. DISCO has been my soundtrack whenever I am home alone, and will be even more iconic when clubs reopen. Kylie’s ability to seamlessly reinvent herself again and again, whilst maintaining her wholesome glow, is why she has stood the test of time.

Taylor Swift has spoken out over the past few years, stating that female artists constantly have to change and innovate in order to stay relevant, whilst male artists maintain the same music style and branding with fewer consequences. This is an accurate point unfortunately. It exposes issues in the music industry which need to be reassessed and changed. The fact remains, however, that in a difficult climate, Kylie survives and thrives. I think she will continue to do so for a long time.


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