Lady Gaga: Reinvention becomes her

SHE’S known for her hit songs and her eccentric fashion statement. She is the Lady that we all go gaga for. She has made a name for herself and she is very far from over. And after stealing the spotlight with her role as The Countess/Elizabeth on “American Horror Story,” she surprised us again with her phenomenal performance as Ally Campana in the movie “A Star is Born” where her song, “Shallow” recently won her the Best Original Song at the Golden Globes. 

Over the last decade, she arguably moved the entire pop apparatus toward forceful weirdness. Her influence is everywhere — she opened the doors for more female hitmakers to be cheekily bizarre: Miley Cyrus grinding on a wrecking ball, Katy Perry with her sniper-rifle bra filled with whipped cream and Sia living under her wig.

Lady Gaga Vogue cover October 2018

Lady Gaga has seen and done it all and now she is reinventing herself and owning everything about it.

In the film, “A Star is Born,” her character, Ally, starts off makeup-free, a frustrated waitress with mud-puddle hair who long ago abandoned her songwriting dreams and has settled for crooning live covers at a drag bar. One night, Bradley Cooper, as the shambling, alcoholic rock star Jackson Maine, stumbles into the bar looking for a nightcap and instead discovers a muse — he is bewitched by her performance of “La Vie en Rose” in an Edith Piaf costume complete with thin eyebrows fashioned from electrical tape.

“A Star Is Born” is such a great Hollywood myth that it’s no wonder Hollywood keeps telling it. Whatever the era, the director or the headliners, it relates the story of two lovers on dramatically differing paths: a famous man who’s furiously racing to the bottom (Bradley Cooper in this movie) and a woman (Lady Gaga) who’s soaring to the top. In a swoon, he invites her out and they fall in love. He brings Ally onstage and then on tour, but she eventually goes solo, becoming a star whose ascent is shadowed by his decline.

Brady Cooper’s direction made this movie even greater than any movie he has ever starred in. Their tandem is just begging for a sequel, and I hope that they and this movie gets recognized in the Oscars. 

I just think it’s a good break for Lady Gaga. I’ve read her story before she became famous: She used to attend a private Catholic girls’ school and studied the piano when she was younger. Then she moved downtown in 2004, first to study theater arts at New York University (she dropped out during sophomore year) and then to sing in grungy bars on the Lower East Side while she sent her demos to record labels. When she adopted her new name (sometime around 2006, most likely from a Queen song), she decided to flip the formula. 

What if she began with the character, and the character was the physical embodiment of flux? What if she never wore the same outfit twice, or gave an interview out of costume, or claimed to be a paragon of creative authenticity?

Gaga’s debut album, “The Fame,” came out in August 2008. Her first recordings may not have been too deep — “Poker Face,” still her second-biggest single to date, after “Just Dance,” is an ode to mirrored surfaces, to remaining willfully inscrutable — but they were catchy. 

When Gaga first emerged onto the pop scene, she was a phenomenon. Later on, she started pushing boundaries and stopped wearing pants; she became a walking billboard for avant-garde fashion (Alexander McQueen’s ankle-bending hoof heels, a jacket covered in felt Kermit the Frogs, several gowns made of human hair, that meat dress), a fact that served to make every other artist at the time who wasn’t rolling around onstage in a pool of fake blood seem, frankly, dull.

Gaga started calling herself a monster, not just to embrace a kind of outré bizarreness that had mainly been the province of male pop icons like Bowie or Prince, but also because she was monstrous, a pop creation that devoured the zeitgeist and then gleefully regurgitated it. 

She made a jazz record with Tony Bennett. She made a crunchier, heavy-metal-ish album called “Artpop” that mostly failed to connect with the public, at least on the large Gagagian scale she was used to. When she turned 30, she released a more minimalist fifth record called “Joanne,” named after an aunt who died young of complications from lupus. She promoted the album in ripped T-shirts and a plain, pink felt hat. She toured dive bars before the arenas. 

In 2017, she released the Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” which is a glimpse into her daily life as she prepped for the 2017 Super Bowl, produced and promoted “Joanne” and spoke openly about the debilitating pain caused by her fibromyalgia (something she had been dealing with privately for years). The documentary presents Gaga with a striking lack of vanity. She appears on camera with dirty hair and a bare face. This is Gaga the Vulnerable, Gaga the Sensitive Soul.

I admire Lady Gaga for simply being herself and knowing where and when to bring out a different version of her. I wish she continues reinventing herself because, clearly and quite frankly, I can never imagine any other artist doing it best the way ONLY Lady Gaga could.

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Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit www.monetsalon.com or email him at monetsalon@aol.com

Monet Lu
Monet Lu

Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit www.monetsalon.com or email him at monetsalon@aol.com.

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