The’s a singer. No, she’s a performance artist. No, an activist. Actually, she’s an icon. But whoever Lady Gaga is on any given day – creator of dance-your-ass-off albums like her latest, Artpop; audacious wearer of parade-float-proportioned gowns; leader of the Born This Way Foundation, which works to end bullying; daughter, sister, and former Catholic-school girl known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – whoever she is, she’s always fascinating. She’s also phenomenally successful: five Grammy Awards, 23 million albums sold, more than 40 million Twitter followers, 47 million wigs worn (we’re guessing).
In between cranking out genre-bending albums and making the world a better place for her fans, Gaga, 27, has been named Forbes magazine’s “most powerful musician” and was crowned MTV News’ Woman of the Year twice. She’s also godmother to the two children of Sir Elton John, who calls her “a loving and talented girl and great role model”. Artist Jeff Koons agrees.
“She’s a leader; we need her,” he says simply. “Pop culture needs her.” But accolades aside, under the costumes and makeup lies an enormous conscience. Yes, Gaga aims to outrage, but she is also outraged by how challenging a place the world has become for anyone who grows up feeling different: a staggering one in four kids in the US has been the victim of bullying. In 2011, Gaga joined forces with Harvard University to launch the Born This Way Foundation, an initiative and online community focusing on building young people’s self-confidence by sharing experiences. This year, she gave her movement a grassroots edge – and a sleek, rainbow-coloured tour bus. “The Born Brave Bus is like a travelling youth shelter,” Gaga explains. “Every day people can go to the bus and meet each other and speak to the counsellor and learn about organisations within their community.”Everything Gaga does is for her fans, “no matter what happens,” she says.
So GLAMOUR found the perfect (grown-up) fan to talk to her: Bravo talk-show host and executive Andy Cohen. He gets our favourite lady’s story, in the March issue of GLAMOUR – on sale now!