Madonna covers Harper's Bazaar. (Terry Richardson/Harper's Bazaar)
Most people find comfort in talking with a friend or digging into a big bowl of ice cream, but not Madonna.
Then again, the 55-year-old songstress has never been like everyone else. She reveals in a new interview with Harper's Bazaar that as a struggling artist trying to make it in New York in the late '70s and early '80s, she had a strange way of making herself feel better.
"I would pull myself together and look at a postcard of Frida Kahlo taped to my wall, and the sight of her mustache consoled me," she tells the magazine. "Because she was an artist who didn't care what people thought. I admired her. She was daring. People gave her a hard time. Life gave her a hard time. If she could do it, then so could I."
Madonna persevered and, as we all know, a phenomenon was born.
The singer censors herself. (Terry Richardson/Harper's Bazaar)
Thirty-one years after her first single, "Everybody," dropped, Madge has become legendary for her songs and for giving performances so sexy that they could make even Miley Cyrus blush. She's certainly not a woman you'd expect to turn off men, but she insists that she was once.
"Teenagers want to fit in on one hand and be rebellious on the other," she notes. "Drinking beer and smoking weed in the parking lot of my high school was not my idea of being rebellious, because that's what everybody did … I refused to wear makeup and tied scarves around my head like a Russian peasant. I did the opposite of what all the other girls were doing, and I turned myself into a real man repeller. I dared people to like me and my nonconformity."
The star laments that, while she often expect to cause controversy with some of her antics, she didn't anticipate the difficulties she faced during the adoption of her first child in 2006. Human rights groups spoke out against her taking in David, a then-13-month-old boy from Malawi.
"I could get my head around people giving me a hard time for simulating masturbation onstage or publishing my 'Sex' book, even kissing Britney Spears at an awards show," she notes. "But trying to save a child's life was not something I thought I would be punished for. Friends tried to cheer me up by telling me to think of it all as labor pains that we all have to go through when we give birth. This was vaguely comforting. In any case, I got through it. I survived."
Just imagine what she could do if she consoled herself with a full beard!
Read the full interview in the November issue of Harper's Bazaar, on newsstands October 22.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Frida Kahlo