Shape-shifting is an art that Lady Gaga has truly mastered it. In a new, compelling interview with The New York Times Magazine posted on Wednesday (Oct. 3), journalist Rachel Syme dissected and decoded the A Star Is Born icon, taking a deep dive into the biggest drive and focus of Gaga’s career: the ability to change.
A self-proclaimed “show with no intermission,” the candid interview in Gaga’s Hollywood Hills home/studio is a journey through the singer’s world, vulnerabilities and long path to fame — gazing at all her different eras (from the infamous raw meat dress days to the barefaced, sensitive Joanne) and offering an evident, yet mindful conclusion: Gaga lives and breathes to constantly redefine herself.
Always pushing boundaries and often embracing oddities, Gaga’s early career was a “study in invitational freedom” — an idea that Gaga could influence others to be themselves by unapologetically showing how authentic she was. Cruising through Gaga’s (born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) hometown of New York City, Syme narrates the early stages of the “Born This Way” singer’s career as she — ironically just like her A Star Is Born character Ally — tries to give her art a voice and eventually find her way to fame.
The similarities might just be a coincidence but they surely hint on why Gaga’s performance in the much-anticipated movie (which opens on Friday) is garnering such high praise: she embodies Ally so perfectly because she’s been there herself. But mostly, because she has the dexterity to make and turn into whatever she pleases.
“I have a nerve inside of me to do this,” Gaga tells Syme, when asked what drives her. This same nerve, it turns out, is what influenced Gaga to become such an archetype of creative authenticity and the epitome of artistic expression. Taking cues from her personal pop idols — “David Bowie’s amphibious glam, Madonna’s blond ambition, Michael Jackson’s dual love of sparkles and precision” — Gaga has learned and evolved into more than an artist, becoming the ultimate definition of an entertainer.
“I do keep transforming into a new shell of me,” she tells Syme. “So sure, there is an acting component to what I do, or a showbiz component to what I do. But the word ‘acting,’ it’s hard for me to talk about in that way, because ‘acting’ to me almost implies faking it,” as she insists that all the different sides and iterations shape the real her, in a world where the performance is actually the reality.
Although Gaga’s recent works — 2016 Joanne and her leading role in a A Star Is Born — show a more sensitive, smoother and less eccentric side, she has not given up on her signature outlandish persona. This winter, she will begin her Enigma residency in Las Vegas and peculiarities of all kinds can certainly be expected, including both pop and standards sets.
When asked what to expect from her next phase, Gaga serenely stated “I’m just shape-shifting again.”
Read Gaga’s full interview with here.