Cover Lady Gaga performs during the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl 51 Halftime Show at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston. (Photo: Tom Pennington)

There can be a hundred people in the room, but none of them can outshine the enigmatic and phenomenal force that is Lady Gaga

When Lady Gaga first appeared on our radar, she was regarded as a flamboyant young woman with show-stopping ensembles that would shame even seasoned performers or drag queens. With her bow tie hair, fire-shooting brassiere, and theatrical music performances, Hollywood knew that her name will forever be chanted by crowds for decades to come.

Lady Gaga's rise to world-superstardom has been all-conquering. Growing up in a strict Catholic household in the Upper Westside of Manhattan, New York, the musician was inspired by a wave of avant-garde artists from the '60s and '70s. In school, Gaga was the laughingstock of photofit, posh Upper Eastside students. "I'm eccentric and talkative and audacious and theatrical, and I used to get picked on. I got thrown in a trash can on a street corner once by some boys who were hanging out with girls in my class. [I felt] worthless. Embarrassed. Mortified. I was 14. Three boys put me in it. The girls were laughing when they did it," she shared in an interview.

The series of non-stop bullying did not stop Gaga from setting her goals and immersing herself in the field of arts. At 11, she started taking vocal lessons from Don Lawrence, Christina Aguilera's music coach and attended classical piano and acting classes.

Gaga had moved to the Lower East Side when she was just nineteen to dance in dive bar burlesque shows. "I was on stage with a thong, lighting hairsprays on fire, and go-go dancing to Black Sabbath," she disclosed.

In case you missed it: Lady Gaga Celebrates Creative Freedom With Dom Pérignon

In 2008, the budding New York star was introduced to Interscope Records as a songwriter. Here, she composed hits for famous artists such as New Kids on the Block, Pussycat Dolls, Fergie, and Britney Spears.

In the studio, while singing a referenced vocal for a song she had written earlier, Gaga caught the attention of R&B star Akon. The latter immediately signed the performer to his label and within the year, Gaga released her first critically acclaimed album The Fame.

The tracks in this album included her hit records Just Dance, Love Game, Paparazzi, and Poker FaceThe Fame went on to sell more than four million units and the rest, they say, is history. 

For this write-up, Tatler lists some of the most captivating career highlights of the music and fashion icon we know and love today.

1. Her Meat Dress

This was a stunt that nobody in the music industry has ever pulled before. At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Gaga wore a dress made of raw beef designed by Franc Fernandez and styled by Nicola Formichetti. Gaga wore the cold ensemble to support the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) military and police policy repeal, which former American President Barack Obama signed in 2011.

In 1994, the U.S. adopted the DADT as an official federal policy on military service by individuals LGBTQIA+ community. "The rule was discrimination in its purest form and prevented service members from being openly queer without the threat of being discharged. DADT was based on the false assumption that the presence of LGBTQ+ individuals in any branch of the military would undermine the ability of people to carry out their duties," said the U.S Human Rights Campaign.

In an Ellen episode, Gaga explained her meat dress and implied that on the inside, it doesn't really matter how people identify themselves—after all, we are all just meat and bones. "If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights[,] pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones."

The outfit, however, drew various criticisms from animal rights groups who, for the right reasons, were appalled by this act. 

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2. Her role as Patrizia Reggiani in 'House of Gucci'

The pop star's most recent role in Ridley Scott's crime drama, House of Gucci, may have been her most interesting role yet. Here, she stepped into the shoes of Patrizia Reggiani who was convicted for orchestrating the murder of her own husband, Maurizio Gucci (portrayed by Adam Driver).

Read more: Lady Gaga and Adam Driver Start In New Gucci Biographical Film

On January 11, 2022, Gaga was honoured with the Pop Icon award at the Palm Springs Film Awards for her convincing performance. On Instagram, the actress expressed her gratitude with a picture of herself in a white gown.

Captioning it, she wrote, “Thank you so much to the #palmspringsfilmawards for the Icon Award. I dedicate this to all the beautiful communities who have come together for years to support a shared vision for kindness and bravery in the art of life.”

3. Her 2009 'Paparazzi' Performance at VMAs 2009

Tatler Asia
(Photo: PopSugar)
Above (Photo: PopSugar)

Gaga has had a lot of phenomenal and heart-stopping shows, but none of them can top her 2009 Paparazzi performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The star, who was then 23, began the show sprawled on stage beside a fallen chandelier. She quickly stood up and transitioned into a dramatic rendition of Paparazzi. The avant-garde intro alone was enough to leave the audiences dumbfounded—nobody knew what would come next. 

At the near end of the performance, blood from her chest was lurching across the stage. "I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me," she wailed.

As she sang the final strains, Gaga's backup dancers strung her to a rope, all covered in faux blood.

 

Watch the full show here:

4. When she introduced her male alter-ego 'Jo Calderone'

Besides Lady Gaga, there was one other Italian personality who made waves in 2011—her alter-ego Jo Calderone. "At this time, I was actually going through a breakup, so I actually created this character that was my boyfriend," the star revealed in one interview. "I inhabited this character, Jo Calderone, so it was representative of relationship and a representative of my father as well."

The character made an appearance in Gaga's You and I music video and even appeared on several red carpet events such as the MTV VMAs 2011. 

5. Demanded LGBTQIA+ rights in Washington, DC

In 2009, before LGBTQIA+ marriages were legal in the US, Gaga attended the National Equality March in Washington, DC. At a rally held on the West Lawn of the US Capitol Building, Gaga stepped on stage and made a remarkable speech. "Are you listening?" she screamed on top of her lungs, demanding action from then-US President Obama.

More from Tatler: Pride And Equality: The Plight Of The Filipino LGBTQIA+

6. Made a jazz album with the equally iconic musician, Tony Bennett

Who says jazz is only good over the holiday season? With Gaga and Tony Bennett's Love for Sale, fans can listen to the exceptional duo all year round. The album is the 61st studio album of Bennett's career, and Gaga's seventh.

Gaga has always been open about her friendship with Bennett, in 2014, the pop star credited the latter for "saving her life." In a sit-down interview, she said, "I was so sad. I couldn't sleep. I felt dead. And then I spent a lot of time with Tony. He wanted nothing but my friendship and my voice. . . I tell Tony every day that he saved my life."

7. The '2017 Superbowl Jump'

The 2017 Internet was full of memes, thanks to Gaga's iconic 'Superbowl jump'. The pop star's 12-minute halftime show was a massive performance. She donned a glittery top with shoulder pads while singing her hit single Poker Face. With fire and fireworks surrounding her, many fans described her performance as a "pyrotechnic paradise". 

For her finale, Gaga jumped off the stage and caught a . . . you guessed it football.

8. Her own Simpsons episode

Not many modern-day pop stars can say that there is one The Simpsons episode that is entirely dedicated to them. In Lisa Goes Gaga, the star voiced herself. The show aired on September 25, 2011 and it was the 22nd and final episode of the beloved American animated television series's 23rd season.

Read more: 7 Pop Christmas Albums That You Have to Put on Blast This Season

9. Met Gala transformation

Who can ever forget the Met Gala entrance that Gaga had in 2019? The star arrived in a graciously outrageous fuschia pink cape gown designed by Brandon Maxwell. She later took the ensemble off and revealed not one, but three other looks. Now that is camp!

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