Lady Gaga on Pop, Politics, and the Power of Women
Not even 24 hours after the presidential election results, Lady Gaga was protesting outside Trump Towers in New York City. Those who have followed the pop singer’s career shouldn’t be surprised by this: She’s always been outspoken about issues she believes in—from LGBTQ+ empowerment (“Born This Way”) to sexual assault awareness (“‘Til It Happens to You”) to the Black Lives Matter movement (see this tweet). Gaga’s transparency about everything—not just her politics—is one of the qualities fans love most about her. They see themselves in her—and she sees herself in them.
It’s why Mother Monster seeks projects and partnerships that “give back” to fans and allows them to see even more of her. She’s always putting them first and offering glimpses into her inner circle—whether it’s through Verizon Up, a new rewards program that gives customers the opportunity to snag VIP tickets and backstages passes to her Joanne world tour, or releasing a new documentary on Netflix, aptly titled Gaga: Five Foot Two, that was created by some of her closest friends.
Nearly 10 years into her illustrious pop music career, Gaga is still finding ways to connect with her fans. In that span of time, Gaga has also redefined what it means to be a pop star—especially a female one. She talks about that—plus politics, her documentary, and so much more—in our refreshingly candid chat, below.
GLAMOUR: You were the first woman to ever headline Wrigley Field last week. What did that feel like?
LADY GAGA: It was very special; I was very honored. I didn’t know until that morning when someone told me, so it was a surprise as well. I feel so lucky that I got to be that first woman performer, but I did say to the audience that I was so sorry they had to wait over 100 years for a woman to headline.
GLAMOUR: You’ve been in pop music for over a decade. How different is the industry for women now versus when you started?
GAGA: It’s so interesting. When I started 10 years ago, things were very much about everybody being super perfect and glammed up [and] everything being clean and beautiful and a sort of very particular perception of a woman. I was always very against that; everybody always thought I was dressed weird or artsy or too creative. And then over the years everyone artistically loosened up in their own ways.
Now I see all kinds of avant-garde visuals and very unique senses of style for a lot of women. I think that’s how we’ve changed, and I don’t think I was the only person to do that. There were many of us, and it’s nice to see. It’s important for women to feel like they can break away from any particular image. Pink talked about that at the MTV [Video Music] Awards. I really like what she said about her daughter.
GLAMOUR: There were a lot of political messages at the VMAs, too. I know you protested Donald Trump’s presidential win the day after the election. How has the current political climate changed the way you approach your live shows?
GAGA: It doesn’t change how I do my live shows. It changes everything. What we’ve all experienced—it’s not just something I apply to when I’m on stage singing. I apply it to my life. These are our morals and our ethics and values on the line, so I carry them with me through my day and then on the stage.
GLAMOUR: This is a very scary time for many women right now. Where do you hope things go over the next couple of years?
GAGA: I hope that we continue a process of healing, as well as a process of continuing to help each other. More education for women. More jobs for women. More equal opportunities for women. More women to be taken seriously. And I think more than anything we wish to be heard and not to be shut down. I think this is a good thing to think about for any community; what is important is that our voices be heard and not swallowed in an abyss of history.
GLAMOUR: Do you have any hopes for women in music over the next couple of years?
GAGA: I hope to see women thriving and happy, loving what they’re doing, and being in control and powerful of what they create. You mentioned earlier what it meant to be a woman in this industry [10 years ago] and what it means [now]; I guess what I would say as much as we all love the fashion and the makeup and the glamour, this isn’t a beauty pageant. It’s about the heart and the drive and the work. Of course, it’s lovely to dress up and compliment one another and feel good—but that shouldn’t be the very first thing.
GLAMOUR: You have a Netflix documentary coming out in September. Why did you decide to do that? And why now?
GAGA: I, in a lot of ways, have not a lot to do with the documentary. I had a lot to do with it because I allowed them access to me. I decided when I allowed them to film and what I’d be OK with them filming. But this was a piece that was created by my friends because they wanted people to see me the way they do and to know me the way they do. It’s really for no other reason other than the sake of art and a documentary of friends who love each other. You know me, it’s not about the money a lot of the time.
GLAMOUR: What can fans expect from the documentary?
GAGA: I actually don’t know what to tell you because I haven’t seen it the whole way through. I’ve only seen little pieces of it. I do not really want to give much of my two-cents because I can’t be objective about watching myself, you know?
GLAMOUR: You also have this new partnership with Verizon Up. What drew you to that?
GAGA: I always like to give back to my fans and get them a little bit closer every time. I’m really excited that Verizon is partaking in that because it means more people get upgraded. We have people that come and do backstage meet-and-greets where I take a picture with them and they see the stage up close.
GLAMOUR: Final question: Next year marks the 10-year anniversary of The Fame. If you could tell your 2008 self one thing, what would it be?
GAGA: “Hold on.” That’s what I would tell myself. I would tell myself to hold on.
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