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Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks has been part of the entertainment industry for decades. She has enjoyed a successful career and gained many fans. Although some entertainers attempt to promote their work through sex appeal, Nicks says she wasn’t interested in doing this. According to her, being a sex symbol “never mattered.”

Stevie Nicks says she could have been like Madonna

Stevie Nicks in concert in 1990.
Stevie Nicks | Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

During a 1990 interview with Us Magazine, Nicks talks about her career and how she became so successful. She says she could have been just like Madonna, who is known for her over-the-top sexuality, if she wanted to. She says if she pursued a sexy image, she would probably be a lot richer and would have reached a wider audience.

“You know, a real good example is like, I suppose 15 years ago, if I’d have wanted to really go for it, in the same way that, say, Madonna did, I could have done that,” says Nicks (via “And I could have been much more famous than I am now and much richer.”

Being a sex symbol ‘never mattered’ to Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks sings into a microphone.
Stevie Nicks | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

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Why didn’t Nicks go the Madonna route and bare all for her fans? Nicks says she didn’t care about being a sex symbol. Her focus was on making music. For Nicks, gaining fame in exchange for showing her body wasn’t worth it.  

“It never mattered to me that much about winning thousands of awards or having a hundred Number One singles,” Nicks tells Us magazine. “It has never mattered to me to be a sex symbol.”

Stevie Nicks recalls posing topless for an album cover

Nicks says early in her career she was pressured into posing topless for the cover of her first album with Lindsay Buckingham. They formed the group Buckingham Nicks and they had to do a cover shoot. Nicks says Buckingham told her that posing topless was “art,” but she didn’t feel comfortable.

The 1973 Buckingham Nicks album features a photo of Nicks turned to the side and standing beside Buckingham, who is also shirtless. Nicks says she was crying during the photoshoot. She says this was an example of the industry trying to sell music through sex, and she didn’t like it.

“I mean, that cover is about as close to selling the music on sex as you’ll ever get, and I was crying when we took that picture,” says Nicks. “And Lindsey was mad at me. He said, ‘You know, you’re just being a child. This is art.’ And I’m going, “This is not art. This is taking a nude photograph with you, and I don’t dig it.”

Nicks has a warning for young, female artists. She says it’s important to pay attention to the kind of image you’re putting out there if you want longevity in the music industry.

“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be famous when I was 70 and realized that being terribly sexy couldn’t last.” She tells In Style magazine during a 2002 interview. “I would say to all the younger girls now, be careful about what you do if you want to stick around.”

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