11 Reasons Why Stevie Nicks Remains A Rock & Roll Role Model

Any conversation about rock & roll greats is incomplete without a mention of Stevie Nicks, born Stephanie Lynn Nicks in 1948. Nicks emerged onto the rock scene in the '70s by recording music with then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. After releasing one album together, the dynamic duo went on to join Fleetwood Mac. With hits like "Rhiannon," "Dreams," "Landslide," and "Don't Stop," the band would go down in history as one of the best-selling acts of all time. Nicks has also had a successful career as a solo artist — she's racked up plenty of award nominations, and her single "Edge of Seventeen" was named one of Rolling Stone's "500 Best Songs of All Time."

Stevie Nicks isn't just a talented musician — she's also a class act who works to uplift those around her, from other women in the music industry to her millions of fans to the wounded veterans she spends her free time with. Here are 11 reasons why Stevie Nicks remains a rock & roll role model we can all look up to.

She serves as a mentor to other women in the entertainment industry

Over the years, Stevie Nicks been a guiding light to dozens of women in the entertainment industry. According to the Huffington Post, she's close with "A Thousand Miles" singer Vanessa Carlton — she officiated her wedding and made sure to reassure her on the phone both before and after her ectopic pregnancy surgery. She has also provided advice and encouragement to the sisters of HAIM (Alana, Danielle, and Este Haim) — when she met up with them for a profile in T Magazine, she gave them helpful tips (such as "Never sing a song you don't love. Period") and even gifted them beautiful golden pendants that resembled the ones her mother had once worn, dubbing them "Sisters of the Moon." The Huffington Post reports that she's close with Sheryl Crow, The Chicks, and Rookie magazine founder and actress Tavi Gevinson as well. "I'm looking for the great people, the legends," Nicks tells journalist Jessica Goodman in an interview. "These, I think, are legendary women. I want to do what I can do to help them stay on track."

In a 2013 Vulture profile, Nicks elaborates on the special role she plays in these famous figures' lives: "They know they can call me. I'm never far away. I like to say a fairy godmother as opposed to a mom because I don't become their moms. They have moms. They don't need another mom, but maybe they need a fairy godmother."

She's open about her past drug addiction

Stevie Nicks struggled with cocaine addiction throughout the '70s and '80s. Instead of staying mum about her history with the drug, Nicks has chosen to speak out about her experiences in order to help current addicts. In a 2006 interview with ABC News, she refuses to sugarcoat her story. "What I always want to be careful to tell people is that ... just like everything else, for two, three years it was really fun. But it turns into a monster," she tells journalist Cynthia McFadden. "So it's not worth it to do it for those two or three years of fun because it will eventually kill you." 

She opens up about the moment when she realized she had to stop: "I went to a plastic surgeon who told me, 'You know, you're really going to have a lot of problems with your nose if you don't stop doing this' ... That could affect my voice. And then what would I do if I couldn't sing anymore? ... I could not get to Betty Ford fast enough." In the interview, Nicks also expresses regret for spending millions of dollars on drugs, especially since she could have had that money now to give to philanthropic causes, such as cancer research.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

She doesn't limit herself creatively

Stevie Nicks' creativity knows no bounds. Although she's best known as a musician, she has also forayed into other artistic ventures.

In 2014, Nicks stepped into the exciting world of television with an appearance on Season 3 of "American Horror Story: Coven," Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's acclaimed FX anthology series. Part of the season's plot, per the Los Angeles Times, involves a "swamp-dweller" named Misty Day (Lily Rabe) who has an infatuation with the singer, seeing her as a "White Witch." In the episode "The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks," the rock heroine herself finally steps onto the screen, playing Misty's mystical mother figure.

That same year, as reported by Bustle, Nicks also curated an exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery's locations in New York and Los Angeles. The artwork on display? A series of self-portraits, taken with the help of "an old school Polaroid, tripod, and a cable release" over the decades. Nicks discovered the joys of self-portraiture in the mid-'70s, when she would style herself for impromptu photoshoots in the wee hours of the night. Nicks never expected anyone else to see the pictures she took — but about 30 years later, she and her producer Dave Stewart stumbled upon them while recording her solo album "24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault." Stewart was astonished by the quality and encouraged Nicks to share them with the world. The exhibition was a success, depicting the different phases of her career in vivid color.

She knows that you don't need a man by your side to succeed

Stevie Nicks has refused to settle for a man who doesn't understand the importance of her career. Numerous times, she's described her high standards for a life partner — and clarified that even if she doesn't find one, she'll be just fine. In 2014, she told the New York Times, "It would be fun if I could find a boyfriend who understood my life and didn't get his feelings hurt because I'm always a phone call away from having to leave in two hours for New York." She went on, saying that it wouldn't be easy to ask that of someone, but it didn't bother her much, since she could see a different future on the horizon: "But when I'm 90 years old and sitting in a gloriously beautiful beach house somewhere on this planet with five or six Chinese Crested Yorkies, surrounded by goddaughters who will at that point be middle-aged, I'll be just as happy."

In 2020, she shared a similar sentiment with the Guardian: "People would say to me [when I started my solo career]: 'It would be very hard to be Mr. Stevie Nicks.' And I'm going: well, yeah, probably, unless you were just a really nice guy that was really confident in himself, not jealous of me, liked my friends, enjoyed my crazy life and had fun with it." She continued, saying that it didn't seem particularly likely that she would find any man who would actually meet all of those standards. Further, she added that her independence was probably a deal breaker for most men, and that's not something she's too willing to give up.

She stands up for women's rights

Stevie Nicks has always been a crusader for women — in the industry, and at large. In 2013, she talked about the importance of women's rights at South by Southwest. Per Rolling Stone, she told the crowd, "We fought very hard for feminism ... What I'm seeing today is a very opposite thing. I don't know why, but I see women being put back in their place. And I hate it. We're losing all we worked so hard for, and it really bums me out."

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were facing off in the presidential race, Nicks shared her excitement about seeing a female candidate in the running. "I'm very proud that a woman has finally been chosen as a candidate for the president of the United States, because I always felt women should be treated like first-class citizens. We are just as good as men are — and maybe better and smarter," she is quoted as saying in a 2016 Us article. In a 2020 interview with NME, she expresses her support for the #MeToo movement. While clarifying that she didn't experience any abuse or mistreatment by producers as a young star (which she credits to having Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham by her side), she did see that abuse directed at other women and chose to speak out. "At 72 years old, I am totally behind MeToo. I support all those women, totally ... It's really unfortunate that most women in show business do experience that."

She has devoted countless hours of her time to wounded soldiers

As one of the world's greatest living rock stars, Stevie Nicks has a busy schedule — but over the years, she's set aside plenty of time for giving back. Nicks is particularly known for her work with wounded veterans. In 2015, reports the Military Times, she was honored at a banquet hosted by the United Service Organizations, a nonprofit "dedicated to lifting the spirits of America's troops and their families." There, she was celebrated for holding the USO record for "the most hours spent over a five-year period visiting combat-wounded service members." According to ABC News Radio Online, Nicks has also shown her support for veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, hoping to brighten their days with the power of song through the donation of hundreds of i-Pods.

Nicks' time with veterans inspired her to pen "Soldier's Angel," a track on her 2011 album "In Your Dreams." In the lyrics (via Genius), she empathizes with the mothers, nurses, and girlfriends of combat soldiers and writes about her own efforts to bring cheer to veterans' lives: "I try to make them smile again / Though it tears me apart."

Her friendship with Christine McVie is inspiring

Christine McVie wrote songs and played the keys for Fleetwood Mac. As the two women in the band, Stevie Nicks and McVie had a special bond. In a 2020 interview with NME, Nicks speaks about the way they looked out for each other in the male-dominated rock world: "Chris and I made a pact that we would never be in a room full of famous English or American guitar players and be treated like second class citizens. If we weren't respected, we would say, 'this party's over.' We have stayed true to that our entire career."

In 1998, McVie left the band, citing struggles with anxiety (though she later rejoined). Nicks supported her decision. "I understood why," she tells Vulture in a 2013 interview, explaining that McVie had begun experiencing panic attacks and had developed a fear of flying. And so, as much as she would miss having her best friend constantly by her side, Nicks was steadfast in showing McVie all the support she could. "I love Chris, and she was my best friend for 30 years. So when your best friend looks at you ... and says, 'I can't do this anymore, you just have to let her go. And I did. I said, 'Christine, pack your bags and go home. We'll be fine. It's not your responsibility to stay in this band for the rest of your life. It's your responsibility to be true to yourself.'"

She encouraged fans to stay strong during the COVID-19 pandemic

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stevie Nicks had a feeling that her fans might need some extra encouragement. Thus, per Rolling Stone, she wrote them a heartfelt letter urging them to stay strong while social distancing. She starts the note by thanking fans for their efforts to stop the spread — "Dear everyone, I know you are doing everything you can to help the situation we are all in." She then offers a glimpse into her own life during quarantine: "I am staying in with my goddaughters and my assistant Karen — and all our dogs — Lily, Luna, and Mana — trying to think of creative things to do. I am getting all my paintings and drawings out — listening to music ... and being inspired ... to write some new songs and poetry." She concludes by sharing some final uplifting words of wisdom. "Just Dance — This will pass — Love will find a way — It always does."

Nicks also took action to help other artists during the pandemic. Joining forces with the Music Artists Coalition — alongside Lizzo, Gwen Stefani, and Diplo — she urged President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to provide financial relief to struggling musicians as their careers took a hit.

She is one of the most accomplished artists of her generation

Stevie Nicks has received all kinds of accolades over the course of her career. At the 20th Annual GRAMMY Awards, which took place in 1978, she and the rest of Fleetwood Mac were given the "Album of the Year" distinction for their album "Rumours." Per the GRAMMY Foundation's official website, Nicks has also received 15 nominations, both for her releases with the band and for her solo work.

Not only is Nicks a GRAMMY winner, she is also the only woman to have been inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame twice (once with Fleetwood Mac, and once as a solo artist). In a 2020 interview with CBS Sunday Morning, she shares her feelings about the accomplishment. "It's 22 men that are in twice for their solo work and being in a big band," Nicks tells host Tracy Smith. "And no women ... Until me. So I feel that I definitely broke a big rock 'n' roll glass ceiling."

She has served as a creative influence to countless artists

Stevie Nicks has influenced artists across all kinds of genres. Harry Styles is one of them. In 2019, he sang her praises while inducting her into the Rock Hall of Fame (via Rolling Stone): "In my family we listened [to Stevie] at home, we listened in the car, we listened wherever we could." The respect between the two singers is mutual: in a 2019 Rolling Stone interview, Nicks called Styles "Mick [Fleetwood]'s and my love child."

Lorde also counts herself among Nicks' fans. In 2015 (per W Magazine), she made her admiration clear with an effusive Instagram post: "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I SAW THE BEST CONCERT OF MY LIFE LAST NIGHT AND IT WAS FLEETWOOD MAC." Nicks responded by saying onstage at her next show, "She is so very talented ... If she had been my age, and lived our age, she probably would have been the third girl in Fleetwood Mac."

Nicks hasn't just left her mark on the rock and alternative genres — she's also impacted the R&B world. In 2001, Destiny's Child sampled the opening riff to her 1981 hit "Edge of Seventeen" in their song "Bootylicious." Nicks herself appeared in the music video, strumming her guitar. In a Washington Post retrospective (archived by Elle), Nicks says, "I got to sit there with them and hang out with them all day long ... so when I left there, I felt like I knew them ... We had a great day."

She proves that you're never too old to be a rock star

Stevie Nicks has been rocking out since the '70s — and she's still going strong. At a talk at 2013's South by Southwest conference (covered by Rolling Stone), she made it clear that she doesn't see herself slowing down anytime soon. "Opera singers sing into their 80s," she said. "I don't plan to be doing [hundreds] of shows when I'm 85, but I do plan to still be out there singing when I'm a seriously older woman."

Nicks has also encouraged younger musicians to continue pursuing their passion for decades to come. At a 2015 Fleetwood Mac show (per NME), she dedicated the song "Landslide" to Adele and commented, "I told her, 'you're going to be me in 40 years, you're going to still be up onstage doing what you're doing because of your songwriting." She shared a similar message with the HAIM sisters when chatting with them for a feature in T Magazine, telling them that they would become the women who could simply bring so much joy to peoples' lives. "They're going to want your music. And then, girls ... at 66 years old, you can be starting a year-and-a-half tour that sold out its U.S. dates — in the first week."