Credit: Los Angeles Times
Over the last ten years, Lady Gaga has become one of the best-selling music artists in history. Known for her flashy outfits and her chart-topping hits, Stefani Germanotta released her debut album, “The Fame” in 2008 and immediately rose to stardom. Gaga has experimented with different music genres, and has even starred in television shows and films. While she’s a music and fashion icon, she’s a philanthropist and an inspiration for feminists worldwide.
Her Unique Personas
Though Gaga’s persona is confident and empowering, she was bullied as a teen. People know Gaga for her intriguing fashion sense. In a world all about conformity, she challenges the norm by choosing the way she represents her body. Each performance is an outlet for Gaga to express her identity. After she performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, body shamers on social media criticized her belly, but Gaga replied with a message of self-love. “Be you, and be relentlessly you,” she said in an Instagram post. “That’s the stuff of champions.”
During career, Gaga has experimented with multiple personae. Behind every outfit, she says there is a message to fight for your beliefs. During the 2009 VMA’s, she performed her hit song “Paparazzi.” She based that song and “The Fame” around the way celebrities were treated, like Britney Spears. Everything those stars did was scrutinized, and Gaga wanted to show that fame could easily lead to a star’s demise. Her performance gave the song a new meaning, especially at the end when she “dies,” and the paparazzi snap away. When asked how persona affects her musicality, she says she changes as she makes art, so the music affects her personality.
Crazy costumes aside, Gaga uses her stardom to give back. She founded her first non-profit, the Born This Way Foundation, in 2012, named after her hit song. The organization’s focus is to support young people, empower them to build kinder communities, and improve mental health resources. She talked about her personal struggle with PTSD in a letter on the foundation’s website in 2016. “I pledge not only to help our youth not feel ashamed of their own conditions, but also to lend support to those servicemen and women who suffer from PTSD,” she says. “No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed.”
Gaga and Elton John released the Love Bravery clothing line at Macy’s in May 2016, with 25% of the purchases supporting Gaga’s organization and Elton’s AIDS Foundation. Partnering with Starbucks, Gaga released the Cups for Kindness campaign in June 2017, and for each drink sold, Starbucks donated 25 cents to her foundation.
A True star
If being a musician, fashionista and philanthropist wasn’t enough, Gaga has added lead film actress to her resume. A Star is Born boosted Gaga to the spotlight again, but in a different way. If her 2016 album Joanne wasn’t a departure from her crazy looks and music, then this film makes it clear. Because Gaga challenges beauty norms, it’s shocking to see her with her natural hair color and no makeup.
Gaga said she can relate to her character, Ally, because she also believed that she wasn’t pretty enough to become a star. When asked how she’s different from Ally, she says that she was always believed she would make it. “I was dragging my keyboard around New York City, banging on everyone’s door,” she said. When Jack meets Ally in the film, he gives her wings to fly.
Gaga found those wings long ago, and that’s what has made her so successful.