Before I was 12-years-old, I never understood the mania behind celebrity idolisation. Why would someone choose to fixate so heavily on a human they have never met and know nothing about? To claim we truly know a pop icon is naive, because Hollywood most certainly plays us all. We see what they want us to see. Eve Barlow wrote about this exceptionally well in an article published by The Australian, describing Hollywood as “a glitzy world of high-stakes chess” where large organisations exist to “make sure everything goes to plan”. Despite the apparent superficiality, destiny would have me become a 12-year-old fixated on a pop star.
I first realised Gaga’s unquestionable talent at The Monster Ball Tour in April 2010. Considering her to be weird and whacky, I did not know what to expect when my best friend gave me a ticket to go along to her concert, held at the now-demolished Burswood Dome. May it rest in peace.
Wearing a Supre outfit that would have been dubbed ‘cool’ by most pre-teens in 2010, I certainly did not feel cool here. That night, Burswood was home to glitter, provocative costumes, sequins and drag. Outcasts. People who seemed to fit in and not belong at the same time.
The concert was phenomenal. From the moment the lights went down and that little 5”2 pocket-rocket belted her first note, I was completely captivated. Despite all the strobe lighting, topless dancers and sequined shoulder pads, I could not take my eyes off her. It was not just her undeniable stage presence or musical prowess that had me hooked, it was her message.
For someone who constantly hides behind theatrics, Gaga is completely genuine when she preaches about equality, love and art. She lives and breathes those messages. That night, she made me believe I was a part of something. A creative community that would accept me, no matter what. For a 12-year-old who often felt so out of place, this was everything.
Fast-forward three months and I was a fully-fledged ‘Little Monster’ (the name Gaga gives her fans) with an amount of Twitter followers that you probably would not believe, under the username @ladygagamylifex. Don’t judge, we all did weird things when we were 12. What is weirder though, is that her fans on Twitter became my online family.
In this online community, I was able to express my passions, thoughts and values freely. Something I never felt able to do around my peers. The bonds I created with Gaga fans on Twitter have translated into real-life friendships today. I spent an unhealthy number of hours on Twitter every week. Even writing this, I know how crazy-obsessed it sounds. But would I do it again? Yes. I don’t think I have ever felt as truly part of something as I did as a 12-year-old, Lady Gaga fan on Twitter.
I rode the Gaga wave through the release of her Born This Way album and my beautiful mum spent an insane amount of money buying my VIP tickets to both Perth performances of The Born This Way Ball in 2012. In all honesty, they were some of the best nights of my life to date.
Gaga broke her hip during The Born This Way Ball and consequently dropped off the Hollywood chess board for a while. In the award-winning documentary Five Foot Two, she suggests the trauma she experienced from breaking her hip consequently resulted in her developing fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder associated with widespread pain in the muscles and bones. It is safe to say she does not do it for the money.
Her 2017 Superbowl Halftime Show performance indisputably put her back in the game. Now, she is rightfully enjoying the praise that has come with her first lead actress role in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born.
Watching the movie (twice) was bittersweet for me. Not because of the movie part, she is absolutely incredible in it. But because the world has FINALLY recognised that this meat-dress wearing woman is actually talented. Now everybody loves her. It is cool to like her now.
“Wow. Lady Gaga is actually really awesome.” Trust me, I know.
“Lady Gaga shouldn’t wear all those costumes and makeup… she is really pretty.” Have you not taken a second to contemplate WHY she wears them? Despite the fact that she has stripped down her look drastically in the past couple of years, it is just who she is. She is a theatrical person.
Hearing these comments should make me happy. It is great that people have decided she is cool now. For some reason, however, they have a challenging and emotive effect on me.
Perhaps it is because, for me, there is so much history there. So much that has led up to this international resurgence of recognition. Maybe it is because I liked her before it was cool to like her. I do not want people to infiltrate a community that was such a significant part of my life, simply because Hollywood has decided she is a key player again.
Or perhaps it is just because I love Lady Gaga more than you do.
FEATURE IMAGE: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born.