The iconic singer, actor and LGBTQI advocate’s legacy will never be forgotten
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Olivia Newton-John, iconic singer, actor and LGBTQI advocate has passed away at the age of 73. Her husband, John Easterling shared the news of her death on 8 August. Olivia was first diagnosed with cancer in 1992, she battled it again in 2013 and was diagnosed for a third time in 2019. Her journey with breast cancer has inspired many fans who share her diagnosis.
Olivia lived a very full life and touched the lives of many, tributes have been continuously pouring out since her passing from both those who knew her and fans. Over the course of her decades-spanning career she proved time and time again that she was truly a legend.
Like many people my age, I first saw Olivia in the classic musical, Grease, where she and John Travolta shared a screen as Sandy and Danny. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are dancing around my grandmother’s living room to You’re The One That I Want, on our 10,000th re-watch of Grease. I can still remember my grandmother’s face when I told her that when I met my fiancé for the first time we went out dancing to a Grease themed night and twirled each other around.
Every time my grandmother and I sat down to watch Grease together I could see her eyes sparkle every time Sandy was on the screen. Though I was young, I could see how much this character and the woman who played her meant to her. If my grandmother was still with us, I know the news of Olivia’s passing would’ve broken her heart.
Each time we watched Sandy trade her comfortable sweaters for her all-black outfit and make her iconic good girl to “bad girl” transformation, my grandmother would tell me once again how Olivia had to be sewn into those tight black trousers. In hindsight, it’s very cool that one of my grandmother’s favourite films was about a young woman in the 50s, finding sensual liberation and breaking free from the societal expectations placed on women at the time.
Grease also happens to be one of my earliest, if not, my very first, bisexual awakening. Once Sandy said: “Tell me about it, stud” before stamping her cigarette out with her red heels, there was no going back for me.
One of the many, many admirable qualities of Olivia was how supportive she was of the LGBTQI community throughout her career. From her Physical music video which featured same-sex couples holding hands to how she advocated for same-sex marriage. Olivia performed at New York City’s Pride celebration after the state’s marriage equality bill was signed into law. In 1996, she appeared in the film It’s My Party, which was one of the first feature films to address the issue of HIV/Aids patients dying without dignity. In 2015, Olivia also appeared as a guest judge on season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Olivia made a massive impact on the world throughout her life. Her legacy will not be forgotten. My thoughts go out to her family and loved ones. Rest In Peace Olivia, thank you for everything.
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