Gaga speaking at a vigil for the victims of the shooting in Orlando on the steps of the Los Angeles City Hall in June 2016
|Born||Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
March 28, 1986
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||New York University|
|Net worth||$275 million (February 2016 estimate)|
I don't like Los Angeles. The people are awful and terribly shallow, and everybody wants to be famous but nobody wants to play the game. I'm from New York. I will kill to get what I need.
I'm not a sandwich store that only sells turkey sandwiches. I sell a lot of different things.
I believe that if you have revolutionary potential, you must make the world a better place and use it.
I'm terrified of therapy because I don't want it to mess with my creativity.
It's hard knowing who to trust with your personal life. When you cry in your room at night, you don't always know who to call. So I am very close to my family.
I'm definitely a Polaroid camera girl. For me, what I'm really excited about is bringing back the artistry and the nature of Polaroid.
I am my own sanctuary and I can be reborn as many times as I choose throughout my life.
My work as an artist is completely separate from my work as a philanthropist.
When the whole world has their eyes on you, if you say something that doesn't truly come from your spirit and your soul, or if you wear something that doesn't come from your spirit and your soul, it's an injustice to your position. And so, I'm really myself every single day and I do it because I know my fans would want me to.
What I've learned is that you really don't need to be a celebrity or have money or have the paparazzi following you around to be famous.
I got a job when I was 15 because my allowance was about $20 a week which in New York was impossible. So I used to waitress across the street from where I grew up.
I was a strange, loud little kid who could sit at the piano and kill a Beethoven piece.
I think that once you've had a few No. 1s in your career that you've kind of proven yourself, and I don't feel the need to prove anything anymore.
I think what it really is, is that I date creative people. And I think that what intimidates them is not my purse; it's my mind.
Every video I'm in, every magazine cover, they stretch you; they make you perfect. It's not real life.
I am a walking piece of art every day, with my dreams and my ambitions forward at all times in an effort to inspire my fans to lead their life in that way.
I never wanted to look pretty on stage and sing about something we've all heard about before.
In order for me to be successful… In order to be a great artist – musician, actor, painter, whatever – you must be able to be private in public at all times. That is what we do.
Vanity can create a very cruel space for you if you don't know how to manage it.
I was doing these performance art pop music pieces in the city. And they were a bit on the eccentric side I suppose. So people started to call me Gaga after the Queen song 'Radio Gaga.'
When I say to you, there is nobody like me, and there never was, that is a statement I want every woman to feel and make about themselves.
If you are not being bullied all I would say – cause I like to talk about the other side of it as well – is you know, be someone that nurtures, and if there's someone in your class that maybe doesn't have a lot of friends, be the person that sits with them in the cafeteria sometimes; be the bigger person.
What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope… It is not a reflection of all religious people.
That is what fame is, isn't it? To get the world to fall in love with you.
I wouldn't say that I am one of the greatest dancers, but I am really quite good at what I do.
Everybody always laughs because I feel so much more comfortable with, like, a giant paper bag on my whole body and paint on my face. Sometimes I try really hard to take it all off. But inevitably what's underneath is still not a straight edge. And I don't think it ever will be.
I was performing in New York and my friends started to call me Gaga, they said I was very theatrical and they said, 'You're Gaga'.
We are not actually equal – humanity – if we are not allowed to freely love one another.
Celebrity life and media culture are probably the most overbearing pop-cultural conditions that we as young people have to deal with, because it forces us to judge ourselves.
I talk about myself in the third person all the time. I don't live my life in the way someone like you does. I live my life completely serving only my work and my fans.
Well, in order for me to be successful… In order to be a great artist – musician, actor, painter, whatever – you must be able to be private in public at all times.
My concerts are about me being very private in public, but I'm very protective.
I am an artist, and I have the ability and the free will to choose the way the world will envision me.
I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer and to – as my father puts it – finally have a real job.
I had this dream, and I really wanted to be a star. And I was almost a monster in the way that I was really fearless with my ambitions.
What I've discovered is that in art, as in music, there's a lot of truth-and then there's a lie. The artist is essentially creating his work to make this lie a truth, but he slides it in amongst all the others. The tiny little lie is the moment I live for, my moment. It's the moment that the audience falls in love.
Unless I am both capable of and willing to reopen the wound every time I write a song, if I choose to not look inside myself to write music, I'm really not worth being called an artist at all.
I've been actually really very pleased to see how much awareness was raised around bullying, and how deeply it affects everyone. You know, you don't have to be the loser kid in high school to be bullied. Bullying and being picked on comes in so many different forms.
I know people said I wasn't selling out in America, but that was entirely untrue. We sold out all over the world, and every night I looked out into the fans and those front rows that you're talking about, the tears, the honesty, the inability to not be completely overjoyed because they felt accepted.
I think a lot of people love to convolute what everyone else does in order to disempower women.
When I was younger, I felt pressure to become someone else once I became successful.
I never intended for the Monster Ball to be a religious experience, it just became one.
To this day, some of my closest friends say, 'Gaga, you know, everything's great. You're a singer; your dreams have come true.' But, still, when certain things are said to you over and over again as you're growing up, it stays with you and you wonder if they're true.
I've had grand pianos that are more expensive than, like, a year's worth of rent.
I just want my family to be safe. Because I am sometimes polarizing, I fear for their safety.
I don't think I could live without hair, makeup and styling, let alone be the performer I am. I am a glamour girl through and through. I believe in the glamorous life and I live one.
Sometimes I think that there's a fine line between impressionistic and messy.
I don't know that my schooling was conducive to wild ideas and creativity, but it gave me discipline, drive. They taught me how to think. I really know how to think.
No matter how much you rehearse on that stage, once you add 30,000 screaming people with flashing cameras into the equation, it's pretty intense.
I decided to pursue music, so I dropped out of school and I told my parents I didn't want any money from them. I got three jobs and I just hit the ground running.
I love Dolce & Gabbana. I love Versace. I love the crazy, more eccentric stuff.
I want you to feel happy and enjoy the theatre of my life the way that I do. No matter what happens with my music and wherever I go – that heart of that glamorous girl in New York will never be gone.
'Born this Way' is about being yourself, and loving who you are and being proud.
I want my fans to love themselves. It's almost like I want to hypnotize them so when they hear my music they love themselves instantly.
If I decide to make a coat red in the show, it's not just red, I think: is it communist red? Is it cherry cordial? Is it ruby red? Or is it apple red? Or the big red balloon red?
The instrument that I never learned how to play was my fans. You know, they are the part of the story that nobody teaches you. I just want to do the right thing; I want to be a voice with them, among them.
I feel like if you're a really good human being, you can try to find something beautiful in every single person, no matter what.
You have to be careful about how much you reveal to people that look up to you so much.
I'm not a supermodel. That's not what I do. What I do is music. I want my fans to feel the way I do, to know what they have to offer is just as important, more important, than what's happening on the outside.
I guess you could say I devoted myself so strongly to my music that for awhile I forgot about my family. But I only get one set of parents, and I think I forgot about that for a little while.
I'm not one icon. I'm every icon. I'm an icon that is made out of all the colors on the palette at every time. I have no restrictions. No restrictions.
In fact, my courage and my bravery at a young age was the thing I was bullied for, a kind of 'Who do you think you are?'
It sometimes makes people feel better about themselves, you know, to put other people down, or make fun of them, or maybe make mockery of their work and that doesn't make me feel good at all.
I hope that what you take away from my album is not just the music – which I did want to be fun, and I did want it to be about individuality, but please also take away from it that there's no dream that's too big.
In the book of Gaga, fame is in your heart, fame is there to comfort you, to bring you self-confidence and worth whenever you need it.
I think tolerance and acceptance and love is something that feeds every community.
If you only believe that you're an artist when you have a big advance in your pocket and a single coming out, I would say that's quite soulless. You have to have a sense of your own greatness and your own ability from a very deep place inside you. I am the one with the litmus test in my hands of what people need to hear next.
I live in Hollywood, but you can't make me love Hollywood. I'll never love Hollywood.
You think I'm going to ask these sweet 14 year olds to ask their parents to buy a $100 ticket then run around in latex and lip sync? No way.
Every bit of me is devoted to love and art. And I aspire to try to be a teacher to my young fans who feel just like I felt when I was younger. I just felt like a freak. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm trying to liberate them, I want to free them of their fears and make them feel that they can make their own space in the world.
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. I keep everything in an enormous archive in Hollywood.
I feel that my fans have cultivated my talent and they continue to nurture me.
I actually don't want a throne at all, because I don't view myself as a queen; I view myself as one of my fans.
You start to become successful, and everybody starts to drive your money train to the bank, and they're not thinking anymore about what you want as an artist or if any of that even matters to you. It genuinely upsets people in my life that I don't care about money, and that's not my problem.
In a sense I portray myself in a very androgynous way, and I love androgyny.
Fame is ultimately about the cycles of desire and how to do away with them or manage them well.
I'm working on bringing the instant film camera back as part of the future.
I don't like L.A. It's just not fun. I don't know why, but I just don't get it. You have to drive to get everywhere, and when it rains everybody freaks out.
In case you're wondering whether I lip synch, the answer is no… people think so because I sound so good.
I went to see 'Phantom of the Opera' with my grandma and my mom when I was very little. The stage, the voice, the music… Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has been a massive inspiration to me for some time – the storytelling, that deliciously somber undertone in his music.
My father opened a restaurant. It's so amazing… it's so freaking delicious, but I'm telling you I gain five pounds every time I go in there.
Don't say I hate institutionalised religion – rather than saying I hate those things, which I do not, what I'm saying is that perhaps there is a way of opening more doors, rather than closing so many.
I was very depressed when I was 19… I would go back to my apartment every day and I would just sit there. It was quiet and it was lonely. It was still. It was just my piano and myself. I had a television and I would leave it on all the time just to feel like somebody was hanging out with me.
I love my daddy. My daddy's everything. I hope I can find a man that will treat me as good as my dad.
I think that promoting insecurity in the form of plastic surgery is infinitely more harmful than an artistic expression related to body modification.
I wanted to only create a great perfume, not any perfume that would sell, but a great artistic one that the fans would not feel cheated by.
I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night.
I don't like celebrities; I don't hang out with them; I don't relate to that life.
I was called really horrible, profane names very loudly in front of huge crowds of people, and my schoolwork suffered at one point.
I am the center of attention in my job every single day; the thought of a wedding to me is exhausting. Why would I put myself through that?
I dropped out of NYU, moved out of my parent's house, got my own place, and survived on my own. I made music and worked my way from the bottom up.
Men weren't always happy for me. It was very challenging to watch a woman be so successful.
I don't see myself in terms of artifice. I see myself as a real person who chooses to live my life in an open way – artistically.
So there's nothing more provocative than taking a genre that everybody who's cool hates – and then making it cool.
I went to a lovely school, and I got an incredible education. And I actually think that my education is what really sets me apart, 'cause I'm very smart.
Lady Gaga is my name. If you know me, and you call me Stefani, you don't really know me at all.
The only big things I've purchased are my dad's heart valve and a Rolls-Royce for my parents, for their anniversary. And that was only because my dad had a Lady Gaga license plate on our old car and it was making me crazy because he was getting followed everywhere, so I bought him a new car.
Love is an interesting thing. Perhaps I've never been in love before – I don't really know? I think I have. I guess it's subjective in that way.
My apartment is my stage, and my bedroom is my stage – they're just not stages you're allowed to see.
I live halfway between reality and theater at all times. And I was born this way.
When people say 'marriage' to me… It's always a means to an end. Everyone's so in a rush to define the relationship.
Whether I'm wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I'm always the same person inside.
The blurring of fantasy and reality is something that the Japanese herald in their life, in their day-to-day commercialism.
I'm half living my life between reality and fantasy at all times. It's best not to ask questions and just enjoy.
If you know me, and you call me Stefani, you don't really know me at all.
When you're around me and really see that all I do is live and breathe for my work, it's not strange, it's just Gaga.
When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl.
No press, no television. If my mom calls and says, 'Did you hear about?' I don't want to know nothing about anything that is going on in relation to music. I shut it all off.
I'm confident in who I am. I've come to a place in my life where I've accepted things that are me, as opposed to feeling pressure to explain myself to people around me. That's just the way I've always tried to be. It didn't change when I became a star.
Then, when I'm in these relationships with people who are also creative, or creative in their own way, what happens is the attraction is initially there and it's all unicorns and rainbows. And then they hate me.
Some artists are working to buy the mansion or whatever the element of fame must bear, but I spend all my money on my show.
My records are borderline dance records. They've got a real electro-rock heart and soul, and the vibe of the sentiment is pop, but there's a lot of people that were like, 'This is a dance record.'
Where I come from it was really unheard of to be at a party and someone says, 'What kind of music do you make?', and you say, 'Pop music.' You may as well have 'I'm not cool' stamped on your forehead.
I work very hard, but when God opens that door for you – when life opens that door for you, I should say – I think it's important to be giving, to return the love back.
If you were to ask me what I want to do – I don't want to be a celebrity, I want to make a difference.
I'm doing everything that I can, working with experts, really studying the statistics to figure out a way we can make it cool or normal to be kind and loving.
I think what made it difficult for people to get, and still makes it difficult for people to get, is the theatrical nature of the work and the fact that, my music doesn't exist without the performance-art element.