Lady Gaga may grace the cover of the style issue of Vanity Fair, but it’s her lack of clothes that will have fans buzzing. Gaga appears on the cover of the magazine’s September issue, which arrives on newsstands Wednesday, wearing little more than a long gray wig, a diamond choker and a smirk.
Meanwhile, she is the biggest thing to hit the music world in years. Her debut album sold 12 million copies worldwide. She has more Facebook fans than President Obama and she’s had almost a billion hits on YouTube.
Now, the flamboyant performer is the subject of a fascinating profile in Vanity Fair magazine by contributing editor Lisa Robinson. And on “The Early Show” Tuesday, Robinson shared what she learned after spending time with Lady Gaga. So, who is Lady Gaga? The editor of the magazine said Lady Gaga is – Lady Gaga.
“She’s Lady Gaga all the time,” Robinson said. “It’s not an act. This is not somebody who puts makeup on like Kiss to go on stage. She lives, breathes, sleeps this all the time. She feels that it’s an outlet for her creativity and the expression of her art, and she’s just Lady Gaga.” While only 24 years old, Lady Gaga, Robinson said, has been doing “this” for 10 years.
Robinson said, “In the piece, she said, ‘I’ve been really struggling for a long time.’ And I said, ‘Struggling for a long time? You’ve been in clubs for a couple of years with people booing.’ And she said, ‘No, I’ve been doing this since 14 or 15.’ She used to call clubs up and pretend she was the manager. So nothing happens overnight.”
In addition to talking about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in the Vanity Fair interview, Robinson said Lady Gaga discussed her family and fans and the work she does for the gay community and AIDS causes.
Robinson said, “I’m not trying to make her sound like a saint, she’s a tough girl. She really is. And she’s ambitious and focused and smart. But she really, really believes in all of this. She’s hungry for more. She’s hungry for more inspiration.”
Lady Gaga is also committed to her fans, Robinson said in her article. Lady Gaga calls them “little monsters.” In the article, Lady Gaga says, “It’s not about being No. 1, it’s what you do when you’re at the top to inspire and influence and save the people that lift you.”
How do Lady Gaga’s image and her past translate to her fans? Robinson said Lady Gaga wants her fans to know they can do what she did.
“Patty Smith said something similar, who couldn’t be further away in terms of the visual and the whole way that they carry out their art. But she says it’s not so much that she wants this them to love her, she wants them to love themselves. She really, really believes this.”
“She saved every fan letter, every book, everything that every fan has sent her. She took a Birkin bag and had all her fans write over it with graffiti, because she wanted to represent something that they could relate to, as opposed to something they couldn’t afford like an expensive handbag.”
What about her status as a sex symbol? Robinson said: “She talks a little bit about why she was afraid of having a lot of sex, because she thought it would rob her of her creativity. She said she’s been in abusive relationships.”
“She (said) bisexuality is not that big a deal to her, but she also felt. I think. that sex is not necessarily what she’s selling. She’s selling a whole different kind of inspiration. She’s much more about a creativity, a fusion of art, music, performance,” Robinson added.
Lady Gaga also tells Vanity Fair contributing editor that she tries to avoid having sex because she is afraid of depleting her creative energy. She said: “I have this weird thing that if I sleep with someone they’re going to take my creativity from me through my vagina.”
She says that she doesn’t trust anybody and doesn’t know if she ever will. Gaga tells Robinson, “I’m perpetually lonely. I’m lonely when I’m in relationships. It’s my condition as an artist.”
Regarding men, she says, “I’m drawn to bad romances. And my song [“Bad Romance”] is about whether I go after those [sort of relationships] or if they find me. I’m quite celibate now; I don’t really get time to meet anyone.”
Gaga talks candidly about her drug use and recalls her ultimate low point: “I was completely mental and had just been through so much.” She had been using drugs, and is quick to tell Robinson that, if she writes about that incident.
“I do not want my fans to ever emulate that or be that way. I don’t want my fans to think they have to be that way to be great. It’s in the past. It was a low point, and it led to disaster,” Gaga said.
Instead of rehab, though, when disaster struck, Gaga “went home.” She tells Robinson, “All I will say is I hit rock bottom, and it was enough to send a person over the edge. My mother knew the truth about that day, and she screamed so loud on the other end of the phone, I’ll never forget it. And she said, ‘I’m coming to get you.’”
Gaga says they went to her 82-year-old grandmother’s house in West Virginia. “I cried. I told her I thought my life was over and I have no hope and I’ve worked so hard, and I knew I was good. What would I do now?
And she said, ‘I’m gonna let you cry for a few more hours. And then after those few hours are up, you’re gonna stop crying, you’re gonna pick yourself up, you’re gonna go back to New York, and you’re gonna kick some ass.’”
Gaga also responds to the brouhaha surrounding her appearance at the Yankees game, and what she wore to her sister’s graduation; shows Robinson the contents of her bag; explains her devotion to her Little Monsters; and more.
The September issue of Vanity Fair will be available on newsstands in New York and L.A. on Wednesday, August 4, and nationally and on the iPad on Tuesday, August 10. [Vanity Fair via CBS News and MTV]