Lady Gaga is covering the December/January issue of Harper's Bazaar, and is reaching out to readers in first person on what it means to be a modern day woman.
The singer-songwriter released her fifth studio album, Joanne, last month, and explained to readers why the album title (with a song bearing the same name) is so special to her. Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, was named after her aunt who died at the age of 19, 12 years before Gaga was born. Joanne died from lupus, and was a sexual assault survivor, as is Gaga. Gaga reveals that Joanne has always been her role model in resilience and faith. “The best way to describe my relationship with her is that it's like the relationship someone might have with an angel or a spirit guide or whatever you think of as a higher power,” Gaga wrote.
Joanne, always present through the grief of Gaga’s father and grandparents, was especially vibrant when an Access Hollywood tape was leaked of now President-Elect Donald Trump and Billy Bush. “ I thought about Joanne as I was watching the news during the election about the scandal surrounding the Access Hollywood tape. Here we were, in 2016, and the fact that the sort of language that was being used to talk about women was everywhere—on TV, in politics—was eye-opening. I felt depressed and hurt by it because that's what that kind of language does,” Gaga wrote. “Then I watched our incredible first lady, Michelle Obama, talk in New Hampshire about how hurt she felt seeing it too. She talked about how women are often afraid to say anything because we're worried that we will appear weak—that we'll be told we're being over-the-top, dramatic, emotional. But we're not. We're fighting for our lives.”
Gaga has been open about her experience with sexual assault, and co-wrote the song Till It Happens To You with Diane Warren in 2015. The song was nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy Award for Best Original Song, and was featured in the documentary The Hunting Ground, which centered around rape culture on college campuses.
Despite the pain Gaga has revisited through moments of the 2016 presidential election, she is as strong as ever. “Being a lady today means being a fighter. It means being a survivor. It means letting yourself be vulnerable and acknowledging your shame or that you're sad or you're angry. It takes great strength to do that," she wrote.
In terms of her past pursuit and obsession with fame, Gaga is now focused on a new goal. As she prepares to turn 30, Gaga states that she is “a fully formed woman."
"I have a clear perspective on what I want. That, for me, is success. I want to be somebody who is fighting for what's true—not for more attention, more fame, more accolades," she concluded. We’d say she’s had a pretty spectacular start.