When Lady Gaga first gained popularity, I was not a fan.
“Just Dance” and “Poker Face” were playing incessantly on the radio, and I was thinking that she was just going to be another overplayed pop sensation who brought no real depth to our culture other than a zany personality and another song to play at a middle school dance party.
Then I watched her perform “You and I” at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Or shall I say, I watched Jo Calderone, her male alter ego and a theatrical creation that chain-smoked and ranted about Gaga as any insecure, jealous ex-boyfriend would.
He sat down at the piano and started belting out the lyrics to the “Born This Way” ballad that had finally emotionally connected me to Gaga.
In that moment, I felt like I was watching history.
And for many of her performances since, I have continued to feel that way.
From her “Do What U Want” American Music Awards performance, where she was reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe seducing the president, to her classy and refined tribute to "Sound of Music” at the 2015 Oscars, she never ceases to captivate while on stage.
And perhaps her most captivating character thus far, in my opinion, was that of the Countess on “American Horror Story: Hotel.”
During the fifth season of the horror anthology series, Gaga played a bloodsucking seductress who stole the show every time she was on camera. Her poise and calculation in her lines accompanied by her stunning wardrobe combined for a simply intoxicating persona, definitely worthy of her Golden Globe win.
And now Gaga is about to release her fifth studio album, “Joanne,” which is supposed to be surprising to fans but also “a wonderful, soul-searching experience,” according to Gaga herself.
I would describe getting to know Lady Gaga as an artist and performer in a very similar way.
Gaga is eccentric in a way that never seems to really stray from who she is.
She is representative of the power of transformation throughout one’s life and how crucial it is to not let the world tell you who it is okay to be.
She exudes sexuality without attaching it to specific rules or genders, and she is capable of applying herself to so many facets of music, film, fashion and philanthropy.
She is an inspiration and an enigma, and I am hopeful that her love for performance and entertainment does not burn out any time soon.