A lot of teenagers think they have it pretty rough at home. But imagine if your mom was one of the biggest pop stars in the world. No pressure. Madonna‘s eldest, Lourdes Leon, sat down with longtime family friend actress Debi Mazar to talk about growing up with Madge in the new issue of Interview magazine, in which Lourdes dove into her mom’s famously strict child-rearing tactics and explained why she’ll defend her madre until the ends of the Earth.
Mazar, who has known Leon her whole life, praised the model/dancer for always being fiercely independent and, not for nothing, a real handful as a kid. Recalling a time when she babysat and plopped Lourdes in front of the TV with some cookies, Mazar remembered that Madonna famously didn’t allow her children to fry their brains with television.
“It was probably the happiest day of my life. The list of things I wasn’t allowed to do is never-ending,” Lourdes lamented.
In one of the funnier moments, Mazar asked the bi-coastal Lourdes if she steals her mom’s clothes when she’s in New York. “I do, but now there’s a lock on her closets,” Leon said. “When she’s not in the house, those things are locked tight, because I take everything I feel that I’m entitled to.” Leon also said that unlike her always-hustling, multi-media mom, she doesn’t have a “specific” career goal, preferring to dip into modeling and dance, but expressing some reticence to follow the family path into acting or music.
“I think it’s about finding a role that wouldn’t be too far off from who I am already,” she said of her big screen aspirations. “Honestly, actors really annoy me and I can’t be around them. As for music, I can sing. I just don’t care about it. Maybe it’s too close to home.” But after being in the public eye for 25 years, Leon said although it’s sometimes been a “nightmare,” she’s tried to keep her life as private as possible.
“I’ve been judged from a young age, but I think that privacy is the reason why I was able to keep my wits about me and not find myself in a mental asylum,” she said. “I want to figure out who the f–k I am before I let anyone else try to tell me who I am, you know?”
Like her mother, Leon is fiercely protective, with Mazar recalling the time a woman in Italy “dove out of her chair and was like, ‘Oh my God, you are the daughter of Madonna!’,” with Lourdes hitting back with the perfect rejoinder: “what’s your mother’s name?”
“People are always really taken aback when I say that, because it’s like, “B—h, don’t talk about my mom if you don’t want me to talk about your mom,'” Leon said. “‘You want to call my mom a whore? Okay, your mom is a whore.’ If you feel like you have the right to comment on my mother, then I’m going to do the same to you.”
The interview also touched on Lourdes’ recent first-time attendance of the Met Gala earlier this year, which she said was “not my vibe,” as well as recalling that she paid her own college tuition and rent, because in Madonna’s house there are no hand-outs.
“Obviously, I grew up with extreme privilege. There’s no denying that. But I think my mom saw all these other kids of famous people, and she was like, ‘My kids are not going to be like this,'” Leon said. “Also, I feel like if your parents pay for things, then it gives them leverage over you. My mom is such a control freak, and she has controlled me my whole life. I needed to be completely independent from her as soon as I graduated high school.”
The most important question, however, was Mazar’s probing query about whether Leon listens to her mom’s music? Does she cringe and walk away when “Like a Prayer” comes on?
“I don’t cringe. My experience with my mom’s music has changed so much as I’ve gotten older, because I’m increasingly able to recognize how influential and amazing this woman is, and how empowering to other women and ahead of her time she has always been,” Leon said sweetly.
“I didn’t fully comprehend that until I realized the importance of empowerment and what it means to be a woman. She’s probably the hardest worker I’ve ever seen. I didn’t inherit that, unfortunately. I inherited her control issues, but not her work ethic.”
Click here to read the full interview.