In a world with an increasingly profound emphasis on political correctness, having the courage to stand out is perhaps one of the hardest things to do, especially as a celebrated women. It can be argued that Lady Gaga is the poster child for rebelliousness and bold expressiveness; from meat dresses to eccentric photoshoots, Gaga has always been one for going against the tide and personal authenticity.

However, while the public may perceive her boldness as effortless on the outside, it’s almost obvious that there’s a world of struggle behind her success and a compelling reason behind her solid confidence.

“Growing up, I was always told I was a rebel,” Gaga writes. “People would say things like, ‘You’re defiant,’ and ‘Why are you dressed that way?’ But I continued to do what I wanted and wear what I wanted—because, clearly I haven’t changed. For a long time, though, there was a shame that I carried with me. I’m an Italian Catholic—I grew up with a lot of guilt. But what I’ve started to realize is that my rebelliousness, if you want to call it that, is something that was passed along to me by a long line of tough people—and tough women—in my family.”

Lady Gaga: Portrait Of A Lady is the exploration of the difficulties of true, authentic expression as a women and the courage to be vulnerable. Penned by Lady Gaga herself, the Harper’s Bazaar exclusive is a compelling piece giving insight into the mind of a future pop legend.

She continues, “Fame is the best drug that’s ever existed. But once you realize who you are and what you care about, that need for more, more, more just goes away. What matters is that I have a great family, I work hard, I take care of those around me, I provide jobs for people I love very much, and I make music that I hope sends a good message into the world. I turned 30 this year, and I’m a fully formed woman. I have a clear perspective on what I want. That, for me, is success. I want to be somebody who is fighting for what’s true—not for more attention, more fame, more accolades.”

Check out the full piece over at Harper’s Bazaar now and for more on Lady Gaga, read our op-ed on why you should care about the new Lady Gaga album.

Words by Marcus Cho
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