In conversation with Lady Gaga
What were your feelings when you wore the pink feather Valentino dress for the first time?
Even though the press and fans saw me wear the pink feather Valentino dress for the first time at the Venise Film Festival for the A Star is Born’s premiere, the truth is that the first time I wore this dresswas in my home with my mother in California. I was trying on different dresses for the premiere with my mom, listening to Andrea Bocelli. As soon as I was zipped up in the dress by my stylists Tom & Sandra, I turned to my mother and we both burst into tears. With her hands over her face crying, my mother proudly said “that’s the dress.” I’ll never forget this moment with my mother. I was thinkingabout it on the red carpet. This is the magic of Valentino.
Do you feel a special connection with the Italian fashion house as you have yourself Italian roots?
Coming from an Italian-American immigrant family, I represent this Italian fashion house with great pride and deep gratitude.
Inclusivity is a key value of Valentino, how do you advocate this shared value in your everyday life?
I believe kindness is a human right that should be afforded to all people. To experience it, to give it, to share it—but it must be equal to all and especially sensitive to those who’ve been disempoweredby their circumstances. This is how I live my life.
With his dresses Pierpaolo Piccioli invite women to celebrate their individuality, do you feel it when you wear one of his creation?
Why yes! For ‘Voce Viva,’ we made a beautiful film by Harmony Korine with a song from my new album called “Sine From Above.” I felt strong and alive, hearing myself echo through the forest as I was singing in this dress. It reminded me of my freedom and how I get to experience magic, a freedom & magic I wish everyone to have.
What gives you confidence?
I have to give confidence to myself for it to be real. I work on building it all the time. I focus on skillsI have, and work from there. I feel like it's building a house that’s never finished. I also remind myselfthat skills can be simple.
Can you remember the moment you first discovered your voice? Where was it? How old were you?
I believe you discover your voice when you discover yourself.
Who is the one voice that has inspired you the most in your personal life? In your career?
I would have to say my mother. And both my grandmothers. And my sister. In fact, I would have tosay my whole family. The hard working spirit, the “I’ll never give up” attitude, the style and grace while doing so. That’s my family’s voice. That’s me.
Would you say your voice is your strength?
I would say that my ability to love is my strength. I believe having a strong voice is essential to lovingthe world. I love the world so much. That’s why my voice is so loud. I want you to know how muchI love you.
Can you describe your voice?
My voice is learning. My voice is listening. My voice is expressing and sometimes changing. My voice belongs to me.
Do you believe that your voice can have a positive impact?
I believe most voices have the ability to positively impact, but all voices are impactful. This includes hateful voices, which is why hateful speech is so negatively powerful—why we need to fill the negative space with kind speech.
What advice would you give to those still out there looking for their own voices?
I would say looking for our own voices, to me, is an endless lifetime pursuit. We learn who we want to be, while we also unlearn things we realize we no longer believe. Our voice comes and goes. I would say cultivate your voice exactly as you please. Know it can be strong, and know it belongs to you.
Is there any particular scent that reminds you of a special moment of your life?
Fresh gravy on the stove, meatballs and pork sausage in my home growing up. Every Sunday at 2pm, after church. Whole family at the table. My happiest memories of all. Same scent. Every Sunday.
What does the name Voce Viva mean to you?
The voice is alive. It has its own life. It’s a force of nature. Nature is powerful. It’s important how youuse it.
How would you say that your song “Sine from above” match perfectly with the Valentino message: my voicemy strength? Why did you choose this particular song for the film?
My song ‘Sine From Above’ is about the passion I feel, when I manifest the sounds that I hear in myhead. They come in the form of song, messages, ideas, and love. This is my strength. These sounds are the function that form the basis of my voice. I hear them, and then I use them. They are how I live, how I love, how I prosper, and how I survive.
What is your own definition of beauty?
I believe beauty is the process we all go through— it’s how how we see ourselves. This can becomplicated, sometimes not easy, but the challenge of loving yourself is the most beautiful thing of all.
Do you have a beauty routine and secret tips to share?
I believe self-care routines, in and of themselves, are the best beauty tip of all. If you care for your mind, body, skin, heart & healing, you approach beauty holistically. For me, using makeup as well as perfume to transform how I feel at any moment is valuable as well. I believe that even though working on ourselves from the inside is the most crucial, I also cherish the power of visual transformation to affect how we feel inside.
What are your 5 beauty products that you always have with you?
I only carry Haus Laboratories beauty products everyday.
1. Is my trusty black calligraphy Eye-Lie-ner in shade “Punk.”
2. I always have a Le Monster Matte Lip Crayon in a neutral shade called “Power Move.” Itslightweight, bold, never bleeds and fits perfect in my purse.
3. It is right now, my new Valentino ‘Voce Viva’ perfume, to feel fresh throughout the day.
4. I have to make sure I have a Le Riot Lip Gloss because it is lip conditioning and plumping withmega watt shine, comes in many shades so there’s lots to choose from. I love the color “corset.”
5. I love having a highlighter that also doubles as a liquid shimmer eye-shadow powder.
How do you get ready for a red carpet evening?
I make sure to take good care of my skin always — my mother taught me this. I do special skin treatments the night before a red carpet and the day of. Most importantly however, it’s so importantto me that everyone who is doing hair, makeup, styling and design has a beautiful day where they feel loved and we celebrate how grateful we are to do what we love as a team with my family and friends.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
Right after I meditate. It reminds me that beauty is a state of being that's undefinable because it’sfrom within.
You are committed every day in different causes, what are the causes that matter you the most?
My charity Born This Way Foundation, that I co-founded with my mother, shares our ambitiouspassion to make positive change in the face of the world’s Mental Health Crisis. I believe it is moreimportant than ever to motivate an agenda of kindness. Kindness that leads to the healing of the mind, body & soul. Kindness that invigorates programs that are fearless in their effort to help humanity learn the importance of self-care.
What is the most daring thing you did?
Whenever someone told me I wasn’t good enough throughout my career and life, I never let it breakme. I promised myself that every time I heard “no,” it would motivate me to work harder. The mostdaring thing I did was believe in myself.
What is the strongest moment you ever lived on a stage?
I remember singing in Mexico, a song from my album Born This Way called “Americano.” I was in astadium, it was pouring rain, and I sang words about the trials and tribulations of Immigration Law in my country. Myself and the crowd both wept and cheered for freedom, it was a moment I’ll neverforget. The audience and I were aligned —our morals, our values, our politics, our voices.
What is your personal motto?
Among all your songs, which ones embodies the most your personality?
I would say my song ‘911’ off Chromatica has to be one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written. It’s a dance-pop song but the words are poetry of my deeply personal reality as someone who struggles with mental health. This song is a battle cry and celebration of my radical acceptance that this is who I am.
Tell us something no one could guess about you.
I love to cook!
With your new album, what is the message you want to spread all around the world?
On my new album Chromatica, I want everyone to know that even if life is painful sometimes, youcan still dance through it. You can dance through it because you’re being brave by fighting the painand living life. This is something that should be celebrated. This is a reason to dance.
Any upcoming projects for 2021?
I’m over the moon excited about an upcoming movie I’ll be acting in, directed by new budding friend,the legendary Ridley Scott—alongside the talent of a truly humbling cast.