Lady Gaga recently appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine "barefaced" minus all the frightwigs, meat, blood, birds' nests, and other bizarre accoutrements with which she usually disguises herself. Is the pop star/provocateur reinventing herself, or is she grasping at straws?
Lady Gaga actually allowed herself to be photographed barefaced on the latest cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine. The singer wore no make-up or couture clothing. Even her hair was colored a bland blond, and she wore it loose and unstyled. Reportedly, her new look was "so drastic that it made headlines."
Indeed it did. And therein lies the rub.
"She's so beautiful in it," gushed fashion photographers Inez & Vinoodh. "It's her emotion and her expression, and you can just see the old soul that she is, the pure happiness. She's a very special human being that is all about giving. I think that's what's great with that cover: It's so out; it's so talking to the people. That's her most incredible quality: radiating that happiness that she has, and you really see it." Right. Of course, they would say that, wouldn't they, since they took the pictures?
As for the age of La Germanotta's soul and her ability to radiate happiness, those are matters best left to psychics and other charlatans. In the real world, however, there may be a very real reason the famous Poker Face performance artist decided to become a barefaced cover girl at this stage of her career. And those motivations have nothing to do with revealing herself "purely" or being confident enough to allow her public to see "her how she is inside." It has more to do with trying out a new gimmick.
It's no secret that Lady Gaga's recently revealed nude photos didn't cause much of a stir online. Her Edge of Glory music video got lukewarm reviews. She rallied with her MTV Video Music Awards appearance as Sal MineoÂ—erÂ—Jo Calderone. But where does she go from here?
Why, back to basics, of course. After showing the pop entertainment world PareeÂ—and in a portable egg no lessÂ—Lady Gaga will now take them back to the farm. It's an inspired move. In fact, it's a master stroke, and no one could ever say that Stefani isn't a genius at self-presentation. Yet even in this latest incarnation, the lady gets an "F" for originality. Even here, she's still mimicking Madonna, who was the original and greatest self-reinventor to ever appear on the pop culture scene.
Nevertheless, give credit to Ms. Germanotta or Mr. Calderone or whomever where credit is due. It will be interesting to see where she goes from here. Hopefully, away. But that's probably too much to ask for.
You go, Lady Gaga. Wherever.
Â© Hope Carson 2011
Hope Carson is the author of 2 books: A Roaring Girl: An Interview with the Thinking Man's Hooker and A Thousand and One Night Stands: The Life of Jon Vincent. You can follow her on Twitter.