The advice Olivia Newton-John would give her 20-year-old self

Olivia Newton John arrives for G'Day USA Los Angeles Black Tie Gala January 27, 2018 in Los Angeles California. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
ROBYN BECK | AFP | Getty Images

At 71, Olivia Newton-John has won four Grammys, sold 100 million records worldwide and has starred in iconic films.

But Newton-John began her career as a teenager. So looking back, what advice would she give her 20-year-old self?

"Don't worry so much!" she tells CNBC Make It.

"Gosh, there's so much I'd tell her. I wouldn't know where to start, to be honest," she says.

Before she was 18, Newton-John got her start singing on Australian radio and television shows and appearing in nightclubs across Europe. In 1973, at age 25, she hit American music charts with her first hit single "Let Me Be There" and she won two Grammys for her 1974 song, "I Honestly Love You."

Then Newton-John was catapulted into international fame at 30 thanks to her role as Sandy in the 1978 movie "Grease." The film produced No. 1 singles like "You're the One That I Want" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You." In 1981, she released her most successful studio album called "Physical," which hit double platinum.

Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John and American actor John Travolta dance in a crowded high school gym in a still from the Paramount film, 'Grease', 1978. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images)
Paramount Pictures | Moviepix | Getty Images

But Newton-John says she would tell her younger self to "stick with her instincts," because they served her well. "I always went with my instincts," she tells CNBC Make It.

"I wouldn't want to undo anything I've done," says Newton-John. "Everything that may not have appeared to be good for me outside was a learning experience for me to be who I am now. So, I wouldn't not want to have experienced the difficulties, because they're part of your growth."

Newton-John, who was diagnosed with breast cancer for a third time this year after first being diagnosed in 1992, has been looking back on her career — she is auctioning off hundreds of items, from her "Grease," "You're the One that I Want" duet finale outfit (which went for over $400,000) to a little black dress she wore on her Physical Tour in 1982.

Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and Stockard Channing in a still from 'Grease'
Fotos International | Moviepix | Getty Images

A portion of the proceeds from the Julien's Auction event will go to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

"I kept thinking that it would be a wonderful idea to auction off my ["Grease"] jacket and pants to raise money for my center," Newton-John told CNBC Make It. "Somebody had mentioned that they'd raise a lot of money. I thought, 'well, I have them for goodness sake, that would be a great idea.'"

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Suze Orman: The biggest mistake young people make when investing

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that Newton-John was 25 in 1973. 

make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us