Photo credit: Steven Meisel/Vanity Fair
Madonna appears on the cover of Vanity Fair for the 10th time, posing for photographer and longtime collaborator Steven Meisel for V.F.'s third annual Green Issue. The inspiration for the cover image (Madonna holding up a custom-made globe of the world measuring four feet in diameter) came from the cover of a mid-century fashion magazine and the 1920s work of Czech photographer Frantisek Drtikol. Madonna tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Rich Cohen that in high school, "I was one of those people that people were mean to." She continues, "I wasn't a hippie or a stoner, so I ended up being the weirdo. I was interested in classical ballet and music, and the kids were quite mean if you were different ... When that happened, instead of being a doormat, I decided to emphasize my differences. I didn't shave my legs. I had hair growing under my arms. I refused to wear makeup, or fit the ideal of what a conventionally pretty girl would look like. So of course I was tortured even more, and that further validated my superiority, and helped me to survive and say, 'I'm getting out of here, and everyone is a heathen in this school—you don't even know who Mahler is!'" Madonna draws on the same kinds of survival skills today when it comes to dealing with all of the media attention, telling Cohen, "You have to get to a point where you care as little about getting smoke blown up your ass as you do when you become a whipping boy in the press, because ultimately they both add up to shit. You just have to keep doing your work, and hope and pray somebody's dialing into your frequency. If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you're always going to be disappointed."
In this interview, Madonna talks about a range of issues, including Britney Spears:
"Yes, I know. I know exactly what you're going to say. It's very painful. Which leads us back to our question: When you think about the way people treat each other in Africa, about witchcraft and people inflicting cruelty and pain on each other, then come back here and, you know, people taking pictures of people when they're in their homes, being taken to hospitals, or suffering, and selling them, getting energy from them, that's a terrible infliction of cruelty. So who's worse off? You know what I mean?"
The way paparazzi culture has evolved:
"The paparazzi are out of control. I haven't been to Los Angeles in quite a while, and I don’t watch television here or in England, and I was told there's now a television show where the paparazzi are the stars of the show—is that true? That they film each other doing paparazzi jobs? Which gives them more fuel. I usually found that type kept their distance—they definitely do in England, because it's illegal to photograph children. But that's not how it is here. They get this close, and don't care how much they scare your children. Being famous has changed a lot, because now there's so many outlets, between magazines, TV shows, and the Internet, for people to stalk and follow you. We created the monster."
Her longevity in the music business:
"Honestly, it's not something I sit around ruminating about. Who is my role model and how long can I keep this going? I just move around and do different things and come back to music, try making films and come back to music, write children's books and come back to music."
Her thoughts on the current state of New York City:
"It's not the exciting place it used to be. It still has great energy; I still put my finger in the socket. But it doesn't feel alive, cracking with that synergy between the art world and music world and fashion world that was happening in the 80s. A lot of people died."
It's always interesting to hear Madonna's perspective on things and in this Vanity Fair interview, on newsstands nationally on April 8, she gives her $0.02 on other topics as well. [Source]
Additionally, VanityFair.com has posted a very cool slideshow of all of Madonna's coverphotos and appearances on/in their magazine HERE:
This look back at Madge's involvement with VF mag thruout the years comprises a really interesting timeline of her career as a whole. If you check out the photos from the Sex book era (circa 91-92), you'll remember how Madonna was not opposed to showing off her bare chest and bare bottom ... now that's a Madonna that we've not seen for quite some time now. I can't wait to read the new Madonna VF interview but I'll also have to spend some time going thru this archival slideshow and looking back on the Madonna who changed the music industry forever. [Source]