From teenage soap sensation to pop royalty, over Kylie Minogue’s three-decade career she has sold 80 million records, survived breast cancer and become a gay icon whose fanbase spans generations.
The pint-sized Aussie superstar celebrates her 50th birthday on Monday, another milestone for the singer who is one of the few celebrities known simply by their first name. To mark the occasion Kylie has said she is planning “an extravaganza” with friends in London, where she is based — and if her litany of hits including “I Should Be So Lucky” and “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” is anything to go by, she will have no trouble getting the party started.
Born in Melbourne on May 28, 1968, Kylie has defied critics who once wrote her off as a “singing budgie” to establish herself as one of Australia’s biggest cultural exports and an international sex symbol.
“Kylie is a star that has become iconic outside of just singing,” Australian fashion expert Paula Joye told AFP of the country’s highest-selling artist of all time. “She’s become part of the fabric of Australian culture.”
Kylie was just 11 when she appeared in the television series “Skyways”, but is best known for her star turn as Charlene in long-running soap opera “Neighbours” from 1986 to 1988.
She and her co-star Jason Donovan won popularity as an on-screen couple and were secretly a real-life item at the same time, although their romance did not last.
Her first single — a cover of 1960s Little Eva hit “Locomotion” — reached number one in Australia in 1987 and became a global hit, launching the girl-next-door’s new career as a pop star and, later, dance diva.
She teamed up with Donovan for 1988 duet “Especially For You”, which sold more than a million copies in Britain alone and topped the charts across Europe and Australasia.
While Jason’s career since then has seen him star in musicals and speak frankly about his struggles with drug addiction, Kylie went on to record top-selling singles such as “Better the Devil You Know”, “Spinning Around” and “All The Lovers” — performing them around the world in glitzy showgirl outfits.
“On stage, she always looks like a giant sequin,” said Australian fan Troy Lester, who pursued a career in costume design and fashion after falling in love with Kylie’s costumes.
“It’s incredible that you can be this little ball of energy and sparkle so much… She’s a little pocket rocket that just keeps going and it’s great to have that kind of positivity in your life.”