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Canadian country and pop music star Shania Twain reached the height of her career in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although she has taken long breaks to raise her son Eja, and deal with personal problems, her fans remained loyal.

Her album, Come on Over, remains the best-selling country album of all time nearly 20 years after its 1997 release. Her songs range from tender love ballads to strong, take-no-nonsense songs about a woman’s power. Her personal life story is one of overcoming hardships to achieve international fame. She has superb control over her strong voice and an energetic stage presence that reinforces her image as a woman of consequence. Fans love her for many reasons; here are five of the top ones:

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1. She blows away gender stereotypes

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Classic country songs often paint a picture of women as helplessly standing by, wringing their hands and shedding tears over the mistreatment they suffer from ne’er-do-well men. Look at “Stand by your Man” and “She’s a Good-Hearted Woman.” Shania’s songs, most of them she co-wrote, are strong breaths of fresh air, blowing away those heart-heavy images. She struts the stage, tossing her long locks, singing “Whose bed have your boots been under … You better start talkin’/Or you better start walkin’…” She triumphantly asserts that it’s a woman’s “prerogative to have a little fun,” and her fans fist-pump a “you go girl” in response.

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2. A classic rags-to-riches life story

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In a 2011 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Shania reveals the hardships she endured growing up in Windsor, Ontario. Her family had severe financial problems and even buying good winter boots for the harsh Northern Ontario winters was a struggle. She would bring mustard sandwiches to school for her lunch, hiding her meagre meal from school officials for fear they would break up the family if they learned of their desperate situation. She overcame her difficult childhood to become one of the best-selling and best-loved recording artists of all time.

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3. She never let super-stardom go to her head

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Shania became a music sensation in the 90s; her 1995 release, The Woman in Me, sold 10 million copies, the most of any female country artist. She didn’t develop a haughty attitude along with success, fame and fortune. In a 1998 interview with Rolling Stone, she said, “I don’t see anything in particular in the mirror. Pretty plain. Pretty simple. I have good teeth. Strong teeth. I floss all the time, twice a day. My eyes are too small. Have good cheekbones, My legs are stumpy. A dented nose.”

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4. She loves to tour and it shows

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Shania’s shows are full of energy, and age (she hits 50 in August 2015) hasn’t slowed her down. After two years headlining her own show in Las Vegas, she tells Rolling Stone that she is looking forward to hitting the road with her final tour, Rock this Country, which will make 67 stops across North America during the summer and fall of 2015. She compares her Vegas show to touring in this way: “I feel more like I’m hosting them in Vegas, but when I go to their town, they’re welcoming you with these open arms and their spirit is just so alive, and they’re excited.”

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5. She’s great at comebacks

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In 2008, the stress of marital problems and her subsequent divorce sent her into a deep depression that threatened to end her career. She suffered dysphonia, a disorder that impairs the ability of the vocal cords to produce sound. In her Oprah interview, she says she thought she would never sing again. She did come back, fighting her way out of depression and overcoming her vocal problems to release Today is your Day in 2011. She starred in her own TV reality show “Why Not? With Shania Twain” and headlined her “Still the One” Vegas show in 2013-2014.

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Credit: Axis

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