One of the things that A Star is Born has taught us is that no one becomes great without going through some sort of adversity. And this story from Lady Gaga’s personal life only proves it.
When she was only starting out her career, her haters created a Facebook group called “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous.” Recently, people found out about this secret little (and I mean little) community, and immediately fell in love with the irony of it.
Another woman, Lauren Bohn, was a freshman at NYC when she spotted the group. She brought it to media’s attention in 2016 with a powerful Facebook post:
“When I was a freshman at NYU and Facebook was only a year old and people created/joined groups like “I have dimples, f*** me” and “Fake ID, please!,”
I remember coming across a Facebook group that broke my heart
It’s name: “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous.” The page housed pictures of a pretty Norah Jones-esque young 18-year-old NYU student who sang and played piano at local bars. The group was peppered with comments, sharp as porcupine needles, vilifying the aspiring musician for being an “attention-whore.” Scores asked: “Who does she think she is?” I also remember one dude posting a flyer for one of her upcoming gigs at a local village bar. He had clearly stomped on the flyer, an outline of his muddy sole [soul] struggling to eclipse her name.
I couldn’t shake the raw feeling of filth while scrolling down that Facebook page
But I pretty much — and quickly — forgot about that group and that girl with the intense raven eyes. Until about five years later. I was on an Amtrak train from NYC to Philly, reading a Vanessa Grigoriadis New York Magazine profile on Lady Gaga. I floated somewhat mindlessly through the piece until I got to the first sentence of the second graf:
“Before the meeting, I assumed that someone with a stage name like “Lady” (her given name is Stefani Joanne Germanotta) was going to be a bit standoffish…” HOLY S**T, I screamed to an empty car (Those who hang with me will know that I actually shrieked). LADY GAGA IS STEFANI GERMANOTTA? STEFANI IS LADY GAGA? I was overcome with a dizzying emotional cocktail of stage-mom-at-a-beauty-pageant and nerd-revenge triumph. But also shame. Shame that I never wrote on that group.
Shame that I never defended the girl with the intense raven eyes
— the girl whose brave flyers were stomped on, probably somewhere near my dorm. But again, I soon forgot about that revelation and that feeling. Feelings. They’re so fleeting. Even more so, revelations. We need to constantly re-discover them every damn day. Like last week, when I woke up to this meme. I saw the muddy sole eclipsing her name. The eye-rolls. The cowardly virtual-giggles. The “Who does she think she is?”
I’ve got a lot of feelings, but the easiest one to articulate: gratitude
Stefani, thank you. Thank you for always thinking you’re a superstar, for using your cracks to let the light come out more brightly. Humans, let’s follow suit.”
Lady Gaga’s college experience wasn’t the first time she experienced severe bullying. Her parents enrolled her at Convent of Sacred Heart, an Upper East Side Catholic private school, where she got her first taste of how cruel kids could be. From then on it didn’t stop.
“I used to do these really big Evita brows,” Gaga told Rolling Stone in 2011. “I used to self-tan, and I had this really intense tan in school, and people would say, ‘Why the fuck are you so orange, why do you do your hair that way, are you a dyke? Why do you have to look like that for school?’ I used to be called a slut, be called this, be called that. I didn’t even want to go to school sometimes.”
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and in spite of her naysayers, she has always had insurmountable drive. At the age of 11, she began voice lessons with Don Lawrence, Christina Aguilera’s singing coach, who she continued with even as her career took off. In addition to singing, she learned how to play classical piano and took acting classes – both skills that would lead to her pivotal Oscar moment.
Focused on her music career, she enrolled at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, but always the risk-taker Gaga dropped out not long eager to start her real-world musician experience. “I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find and ate shit until somebody would listen,” she told New York Magazine.
Known for her more audacious looks in her early career, with giant sunglasses and meat dresses, her music foundation carried through into her pop music. “I was classically trained as a pianist and that innately teaches you how to write a pop song,” Gaga told the Telegraph. “Because when you learn Bach inversions, it has the same sort of modulations between the chords. It’s all about tension and release.”
At 19-years-old the star thought maybe she had found her big break when Def Jam records signed her, but it wasn’t to be. Three months into the deal the label informed her that she just wasn’t for them. As usual, she remained determined. In 2008 Gaga’s boyfriend at the time Rob Fusari brought Gaga to Interscope records not as a singer but as a songwriter and from there – a star was born. She wrote hits for major artists such as Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls and even Britney Spears. While at the label Gaga recorded a reference vocal for one of her songs the stars aligned and Akon heard the demo and signed her.
Through let-downs, bullies, and rejections Gaga has become a renowned singer and actress. She has been nominated for 24 Grammys and won nine of them. In 2018 she made her grand acting debut in A Star Is Born and won an Oscar for her billboard topping hit and soundtrack song ‘Shallow.’