From the first time Lady Gaga broke out in the mainstream music industry in 2008, she had a lot to say about fame. She frequently spoke about her obsession with stardom in interviews and even named her debut album The Fame, where she sang about "runway models, Cadillacs, and liquor bottles." Seven years later, she is singing a bit of a different tune, in a new and very personal interview with E!, Lady Gaga talked about the isolation of fame and about how now she feels like she can be more like herself than ever before. She said:
I do know isolation, because I'm famous and it's hard to go be normal all the time. And when you meet people in public, 99 percent of the time, people aren't that interested in really getting to know me. There's sort of a wall between us that they think something of me that I'm not. I'm really just a human being that makes this...stuff.
Gaga said the reason she feels less isolated now is because of her involvement with acting in American Horror Story: Hotel, and because of her special bond she has developed with her fellow cast members. The "Born This Way" performer said that getting to know them personally and getting them to be comfortable with her as a person was crucial to her. Clearly, starring as a blood-obsessed countess on the show has had a much greater impact on the 29-year-old than simply gaining experience in the acting world or honing her already impressive theatrical skills. The impact is about breaking the aforementioned "wall" down. And by doing so, Gaga makes a pivotal point about getting to know the person behind the persona, which is so important.
After all, when someone who is in the spotlight 24/7 has developed a provocative, powerful, and ever-evolving persona, it is easy for people following their career to feel like they know the star at the center of it all. But if people make calculations and judgments about them only based on the person's public image and career, it can almost make a celeb something of an object. But as Gaga points out, she is, in fact, human like everyone else. Surprise! She just happens to make "stuff" that makes her famous. So why should the "stuff" alone define her? Furthermore, why should it define all the interactions she has with people who have not achieved her level of fame?
Gaga followed up her confessions with a strong point about what the whole entertainment industry can learn from her positive experience with AHS. She said:
I really hope, more than anything that anyone could take away from me being on Horror Story, I'd really, really like for artists and their managers and people in any industry to know the importance of caring for people that you work with, and keeping them in a good mental state and taking care of their health and making sure that we're all OK. It's important to work hard, and making money is important to survive, but what's more important is that we support one another through the challenges of life.
It is worth applauding Gaga for speaking up about her specific experience with the dark side of fame. While it is discussed often in the larger cultural narrative, it is oftentimes referenced in vague terms. Gaga putting a face — and furthermore, emotions — on what she has gone through can hopefully lead to better communications and relationships between artists, the industry, and the audiences. It seems to have worked wonders for her.