Behind the wild get-ups, changing hair color and performance-art schtick, there lives a sensitive, articulate young woman who is passionate about sex. Safe sex, that is.
“It’s always been important to me, as it’s for my generation, a most relevant consideration when you’re growing up. Sex doesn’t mean nothing; sex means so much,” Lady Gaga, 25, says between sips of tea inside a studio at Chelsea Piers. “I hope that young women know that sex is still a big deal, and they don’t have to put out soon. If they want someone to court them for a while before they give it up, that’s wonderful and beautiful, and a man will only respect you more for honoring your body. I am that way.”
Gaga is not just talking the talk about attitudes toward sex. She is walking the walk with help from MAC Cosmetics and its Viva Glam campaign, which kicked off in 1994 with spokesman RuPaul and has included icons such as Elton John, Cyndi Lauper and Mary J. Blige. It will bring in Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin next July.
“What I hope to do with this campaign is to not only raise awareness for AIDS and HIV but raise the awareness that it’s OK and wonderful and beautiful to love yourself and be happy and to honor your body and to use a condom or say no,” she says.
Since becoming the latest face of Viva Glam in 2009, Gaga has helped raise $55 million for the MAC AIDS Fund through the sale of exclusive MAC Viva Glam lipsticks. She hopes to meet the lifetime goal of $250 million for the campaign.
“I’m from New York City, and there was a MAC store around the corner from my house growing up, and I always felt that MAC Cosmetics was so much more forward-thinking and so much more ‘street’ and accepting than any other line,” Gaga says. “I never felt like there was an ideal type of beauty or particular kind of woman or man that was being impressed upon me.”
With her dedication to the underdogs and outcasts who make up her millions of fans, whom she calls “Little Monsters,” it’s no wonder Gaga is on board with Viva Glam lipstick, which is designed to flatter every skintone and has sold 16.5 million units since its inception.
“When I was looking at the different taupes, because I am an olive-toned skin, I wanted something a bit more orange to get that contrast, but ultimately, I decided I didn’t want to do that because I knew it wouldn’t suit every skin color. So, we drew it back and we made it something that would work for every woman.”
Gaga also got her Little Monsters involved, soliciting online submissions of their photographs and artwork over seven months to be used in a dress that her friend and stylist Nicola Formichetti designed exclusively for the Viva Glam campaign.
Formichetti, who is also the creative director of Thierry Mugler, printed fans’ images on fabric the color of the Viva Glam lipstick. In typical Gaga fashion, the fabric was wrapped around foot-tall platform heels so daunting the singer needed help getting up from her seat.
“The conversation is the most important aspect of it, and it was Nicola’s initial prerogative for this project to create something that was really, really interactive with the fans so they would feel a part of the conversation from an artistic level,” she says.
And, like a proud mom, she gushes about her fans, hazel eyes sparkling as she exclaims, “Think of how famous they are!”
Yet, fame is not what she’s after, she says. “People won’t always love your work and they won’t always the love the causes that you fight for, but at the end of the day, I think I could be OK with it all if I knew deep down in my spirit that I was always brave and I was always doing the hardest thing.”


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