Lady Gaga opened up about her recent depression and how she overcame it, getting over her eating disorder, her intense devotion to fashion and much more in an in-depth interview for a cover story for Harper’s Bazaar, with photos by Terry Richardson.
Lady Gaga will soon go on tour in support of the album, ‘ARTPOP’ which proved her least successful to date. It served to cap off what was, from outward appearances, a challenging year for the pop music icon who spent many weeks recovering from the broken hip which brought about a premature end to her ‘Monsters Ball’ world tour and which left her out of public view for months. And when she did emerge, with new music, ‘Applause,’ the lead single of ‘ARTPOP,’ it was met with less fanfare than expected or hoped for. Surely no less troubling was the well-publicized parting of the ways as she left her longtime manager, Troy Carter, over what were reported in media to be creative differences.
While the album did debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and she did serve as both host and musical guest for ‘Saturday Night Live,’ in her own words, such achievements did not stave off a depression. She said in the Harper’s Bazaar interview, “I became very depressed at the end of 2013. I was exhausted fighting people off. I couldn’t even feel my own heartbeat. I was angry, cynical, and had this deep sadness like an anchor dragging everywhere I go. I just didn’t feel like fighting anymore. I didn’t feel like standing up for myself one more time — to one more person who lied to me.”
She went on to say, “But January 1, I woke up, started crying again, and I looked in the mirror and said, ’I know you don’t want to fight. I know you think you can’t, but you’ve done this before. I know it hurts, but you won’t survive this depression.’”
“I really felt like I was dying — my light completely out. I said to myself, ‘Whatever is left in there, even just one light molecule, you will find it and make it multiply. You have to for you. You have to for your music. You have to for your fans and your family.”
Lady Gaga went on to say, “Depression doesn’t take away your talents — it just makes them harder to find. But I always find it. I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left. I’m lucky I found one little glimmer stored away.”
She revealed that her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, had helped her in finding her way back and at the same time, alluded once again to people, unnamed, behind the scenes, who were causing her turmoil. In a public statement on ARTPOP she had made similar assertions. She said, “I asked my mother, ’I work so hard. I never stop. I never say no. Why doesn’t this person love me, Mom? Why was this person willing to hurt me to help themselves? Why wasn’t I enough? Why is money more important than me?’”
She continued, revealing her mother’s advise for her. “She reminded me to forgive others for not seeing God where I see it. I see God in my fans. She said, ‘You’re hurt because you don’t operate this way. You are fiercely protective of your inventions because you are your fans. She helped me understand my own feelings. When someone has pulled the wool over my eyes, I feel that they have pulled the wool over the eyes of millions of fans around the world. She helped me to forgive. You can’t force people to have the same world consciousness and awareness as you do.”
Lady Gaga was reflective in the aftermath, telling the publication what she believes she has gained having undergone such an ordeal. She said, “I am better with food. I don’t have an eating disorder anymore.” She didn’t elaborate on the eating disorder which, like much about her, had been widely speculated about — mercilessly, in fact — and she had gotten the usual share of negativity on social media any time her weight fluctuated.
She continued, “I’m also better at not letting people take advantage of me. Five years ago, when I spotted someone with a hidden agenda, I allowed them to stay around me. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought if I ignored it, then they would eventually see me again — that I’m a human being and not a doll. But it doesn’t work that way.”
From her now-wiser vantage point she said, “I speak up now. I realized that it’s my own fault that people take advantage. I should be around people who cherish my talents, my health, my time. I’m not a pawn for anyone’s future business. I’m an artist. I deserve better than to be loyal to people who only believe in me because I make money.”
Reflecting upon her legacy, she said, “I always think to myself, How do I want to be remembered? I don’t want to be remembered as anything but brave. The only good intention to make money is to help others. I want to be Oprah. I want to be Melinda Gates. If I ever sell products other than my talents, then it will be to give more to others.”
That of course, is one of the quotable quotes that media and social media alike will seize on. Ah, ha! Gaga wants to be Oprah! The Internet will collectively say. But within the context, it’s clear she’s speaking from the philanthropic perspective and expressing a desire to make an impact beyond the confines of pop music.
Being that she was on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s “Big Fashion” issue, Lady Gaga spoke at length about devotion to style, fashion and image, saying, “The fashion I’ve acquired over the years is so sacred to me — from costumes to couture, high fashion to punk wear I’ve collected from my secret international hot spots.”
She elaborated on the topic, saying, “I keep everything in an enormous archive in Hollywood. The clothes are on mannequins, also on hangers and in boxes with a photo of each piece, and there’s a website where I can go to look through everything. It’s too big — I could never sort through it myself! But these garments tell the stories of my life.”
She also spoke about why fashion is so important why it is her “most prized possession.” She called it “a visualization of all the hard work I’ve put in to get where I am today.” She also added that “it is a legend to the encyclopedia of my life. It is exactly what I’ve aimed to seep into the artistic consciousness of people all over the world — that life is an art form.”
The full interview and the Terry Richardson photos can be seen at Harper’s Bazaar here.