Photoshoot by Terry Richardson
Lady GaGa talks about her upcoming album, her wild style and about never going to have any surgery plastics..
For the provocative pop star, all the world's a stage. Why? Because she was born that way. Check out Gaga's interview with Derek Blasberg below and then see photos from the May issue cover shoot as well as iconic images of Lady Gaga's wild style.
Anticipation isn't the right word. I'm sitting in a small recording studio's lounge in New York, waiting for Lady Gaga to arrive and play her about-to-be-released album, Born This Way, for an hour. We're on Gaga time here.
Then, in an instant, she appears. The 25-year-old former Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is petite in stature but gargantuan in charisma. She is scantily dressed in tights, black underwear, and a black bra under a studded, slashed, and shredded military jacket. Her accessories include fingerless gloves, winged boots, and a spike-covered Hermès Birkin. And, yes, the horns that she debuted Grammy week–and the ones you see in this story–are on full display, protruding from her cheekbones and forehead.
"Gaga!" she announces, extending her black-clawed hand in a ladylike manner. "It is an absolute pleasure to meet you." She points toward a studio, spins around, and marches off.
When we are ensconced in this dungeon of sound, the first topic of conversation is the single "Born This Way," which, when it was released in February, set a new iTunes speed record for going to number one (less than three hours) and was Billboard's 1,000th number-one hit. "It broke all the records!" Gaga cheers, bopping up and down, adding that what she found most remarkable was that the song attracted new fans. "I was happy with the fans I've already got. But it opened this new fan base of people who love the simplicity and joyfulness of it."
As the millions of people who have seen the video for "Born This Way" can attest, Gaga devotes as much artistic energy to her visuals as she does her audio. But today she's still editing the Nick Knight–directed opening sequence, where we meet her newest creation, Mother Monster. She offers a sneak peek but warns, "You're not ready!" presumably referring to its awesomeness. "Nick Knight? He's such an asshole," she proclaims, which means he's a genius. And her inspiration for the video's out-of-this-world surrealism? "A lot of weed."
Gaga is happiest, as she says, "living every day somewhere between reality and fantasy at all times." The only tense part of our conversation occurs when I try to transition her fantasy into reality, asking about the new look–a series of sharp bones that protrude from Gaga's shoulders, cheekbones, and temples. How long does it take to apply the makeup and prosthetics to her face and arms?
"Well, first of all," she says, "they're not prosthetics. They're my bones."
Okay, so when did the bones appear?
"They've always been inside of me, but I have been waiting for the right time to reveal to the universe who I truly am."
Did she will them to come out for this album?
"They come out when I'm inspired."
Is she worried that this new look will inspire other people to "grow" similar bones?
"We all have these bones!" she says tersely. "They're the light from inside of us. Do you mean body modification?"
"No, I'm not concerned about that."
The reason I'm pushing this is that in the past, Gaga has spoken openly about her drug use while at the same time being quick to clarify that she doesn't endorse it. So one can't help but wonder if she has considered that some of her Little Monsters, as she calls her fans, may actually hurt themselves trying to emulate her transformation.
"I haven't hurt myself," she says. Then, with her darkened eyes narrowed, she continues, "I want you to be careful how you view this."
Help me view it then.
It's artistic expression," Gaga says. "It's a performance-art piece. I have never, ever encouraged my fans or anyone to harm themselves, nor do I romanticize masochism. Body modification is part of the overarching analysis of 'Born This Way.' In the video, we use Rico, who is tattooed head to toe [including a skull on his face]. He was born that way. Although he wasn't born with tattoos, it was his ultimate destiny to become the man he is today."
And this was Gaga's destiny?
"I have never had plastic surgery, and there are many pop singers who have. I think that promoting insecurity in the form of plastic surgery is infinitely more harmful than an artistic expression related to body modification."