In 2008, the world didn’t quite know how to receive Lady Gaga, the peculiar pop star whose unusual genius and baroque fashions would often overshadow her obvious talent. Now she’s regarded a global pop magnate to many; Mother Monster to millions.
Lady Gaga will be performing at the 2017 NFL Superbowl halftime show.
1. She has two middle names.
You probably guessed that “Lady Gaga” isn’t even close to the star’s given name, but did you know she has two middle names? The full name on her birth certificate is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Try to say all of that in one breath.
2. She has a little sister.
Gaga’s younger sister is named Natali Germanotta and she was born in 1992. She’s a fashion student.
3. She learned to play piano at 4.
Gaga picked up piano before she went to kindergarten. By 13, she wrote her first piano ballad. The next year, she started performing at open mic nights in clubs.
4. She was bullied in school.
Lady Gaga told Rolling Stone about her high school years: “Being teased for being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying,” she said. “‘Your laugh is funny, you’re weird, why do you always sing, why are you so into theater, why do you do your make-up like that?’ … I used to be called a s–t, be called this, be called that, I didn’t even want to go to school sometimes.”
5. She was on an episode of ‘Sopranos.’
Before she hit it big, Gaga was on one episode of the hit HBO show in 2001 as a mischievous classmate. Now go dig out those old DVDs — the episode is titled “The Telltale Moozadell.”
6. She was also on an MTV reality show.
You probably don’t even remember this short-lived MTV prank show, but Gaga played an unsuspecting diner customer on the show Boiling Points in 2005. Gaga failed her challenge.
7. She had her own band.
Before there was Lady Gaga, there was the Stefani Germanotta Band (SG Band), which was made up of some of her NYU pals. They played gigs in the Lower East Side of New York and actually did pretty well in 2005 and 2006.
8. L.A. Reid gave her a record deal.
L.A. Reid — the guy who used to be an X Factor judge — helped sign Gaga to Def Jam in September 2006. Unfortunately, she was cut from the label three months later.
9. She opened for New Kids on the Block
After Gaga put out her first album, The Fame, she toured as a supporting opener for the New Kids on the Block reunion tour in 2009.
10. Her meat dress lived on past the VMAs.
On VMA night 2010, the talk was all about this meat dress — understandably. But you might be surprised to know that it didn’t get thrown out or cooked right away. Instead, it was displayed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. Then it started to smell, or something.
11. She holds a VMA record.
Gaga’s meat dress is likely the only thing that you remember from that show, but that year Mother Monster made history. She became the only artist to ever be nominated twice (in the same year) for Video of the Year. “Telephone” and “Bad Romance” were both up for the prize. “Bad Romance” won the Moonman.
12. “Telephone” was going to be a Britney Spears song.
The hit was originally written by Mother Monster for Britney Spears, but the blond turned it down after recording a demo. So Gaga then decided to use it herself and collaborated with Beyonce for the song and the epic accompanying music video.
13. The Monster Ball Tour made crazy money.
Did you go see Gaga on her Monster Ball Tour? Then you contributed to the whopping $227.4 million it made before wrapping up in May 2011. That figure makes the tour the highest-grossing of all time and the highest-grossing for a debut headlining artist. It’s good to be Gaga.
14. She’s performed for the Queen
There aren’t many stars who can boast that they’ve performed for royalty, but, of course, Gaga had the honor in 2009. She took the stage at the Royal Variety Performance in 2009 and sang “Speechless” in front of the Queen. They even met personally.
15. She was supposed to open for Michael Jackson.
“I was actually asked to open for Michael on his tour,” Gaga said in 2010 of their plans for MJ’s This Is It concerts. “We were going to open for him at the O2 and we were working on making it happen. I believe there was some talk about us, lots of the openers, doing duets with Michael on stage.”
16. She’s been in a movie.
Meet La Chameleón, from Machete Kills. The small role in the 2013 flick was Lady Gaga’s first appearance in a feature film. And it won’t be her last. She’s already slated for a cameo in Sin City: A Dame to Die For, another Robert Rodriguez film.
17. She’s going into space.
You’ll have to wait over a year, but seeing Lady Gaga sing in space will be worth it. The star is going into orbit for the Zero G Colony — a three-day music festival. She’ll be the grand finale, obviously. Hopefully she’ll wear a really exciting space suit.
18. She has ferns named after her.
Ferns. As in, the plants. There’s a new genus of fern, Gaga, and two new species, G. germanotta and G. monstraparva. That’s how you know you’ve made it. Duke botanists gave her the honor and a biology professor there explained: “We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression. And as we started to consider it, the ferns themselves gave us more reasons why it was a good choice.”
19. She’s helped MAC raise over $202 million.
Gaga + lipstick + HIV awareness = huge win. Mother Monster partnered with MAC Cosmetics for their Viva Glam lipstick and the collaboration has raised over $202 million to fight HIV and AIDS over the years.
20. She has a special connection with the Muppets.
Not only is she starring in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular, Mother Monster made a cameo on the Muppets in 2011 and is set to appear in 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted. Miss Piggy must be SO excited.
21. She was confused for Amy Winehouse