Lady Gaga

On Ferns, Fear, and Her Singing Toothbrush

Lady Gaga

LADY GAGA Either Gaga is giant or the men are miniature.

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Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) is about as famous as a human can be right now. She's so famous, when she looks in the mirror, her reflection makes her watch a commercial before she can see herself. With her fourth full-length album, Artpop, due out this spring, her suprasexed, avant-couture dance music has vaulted her into an iconic/Madonna level of fame. Gaga's got Grammys, international number-one singles, a perfume, and a genus of fern named after her, and she was named one of Time magazine's most influential people in the world. More importantly, though, there is the Lady Gaga Singing Toothbrush. For $14.95, the Lady Gaga Singing Toothbrush brings fashion to brushing with the first-of-its-kind black bristles and ergonomic design. Each toothbrush plays her arena pop electro-hits "Born This Way" and "Bad Romance" for two minutes, the dentist-recommended length of time to brush. Vocally, Gaga can sing contralto and move through 2.7 octaves, which sounds incredible through the toothbrush. I was connected six times to various people in various countries for this interview. Finally, there was a Gaga. She was in Tripoli. The connection sounded like fax machines were mating on the line.

How's Tripoli?

Trippy. How's Seattle?

I just took DayQuil. I wanted to talk about your perfume, Fame. In the Fame print advertisement, you are depicted as stoic and masked, with men in thongs climbing on your Venus-posed body. The men look as if they are either working on or searching for something in your skin. The perfume bottle roughly resembles a grenade. The ingredients include crushed heart of tiger orchid, pulverized apricot, and a black veil of incense. What does crushed heart of tiger orchid smell like?

What do you think it smells like?

I think it smells like lemon and Komodo dragon dung that's been frozen, lit on fire, and thrown off a cliff.

The olfactory sense is a funny thing. There's apricot in there, so it's close to lemon. I used to have a picture of a Komodo dragon in my apartment. Do you wear perfume?

All the time.

Well, we here at Haus Laboratories have crafted a unique olfactory structure where ingredients interact without any hierarchy, giving birth to a push-pull technology. This perfume is an innovation in fluid technology. The dark accord was inspired by belladonna, the deadly nightshade possessed by haunted beauties from the 18th century.

That's some fancy shit.

[Laughs] I just read it off a box of it I had sitting here. I work with good people.

The eight-minute mini film directed by Steven Klein about it is amazing. It's sort of like one of the films of the Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney, except with a giant naked golden you and guys with no body hair in blindfolds and dick sacks. It's ominous. You fire a rifle out of your mouth, and there's lots of black evil liquid. My only problem is that the film is five minutes long and the credits are three minutes long.

That is long for the credits. Lots of people to credit. I'm glad you liked it. Steven is the best. We sync up well. We wanted to do something super creative and out there—with fashion stuff, you can be really dark and ambiguous. A Komodo dragon would have been nice.

Please talk about the genus of fern that was named after you. Singing toothbrushes and perfume are okay, but a genus of fern? That's when you know you've made it. Madonna doesn't have a fern.

It was an honor for sure. The botanists at Duke University were inspired by my album Born This Way. I never thought there'd be a plant named after me. I want my message to empower disenfranchised people—communities like LGBT, ethnic groups, and women. In 2012, I launched the Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit focusing on youth empowerment and issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring, and career development. And with Viva Glam lip gloss, I've helped raise more than $200 million to fight HIV and AIDS. There's no place in the world now for racism, homophobia, and bigotry. That shit's a waste of fucking energy.

I couldn't agree with you more. What does it have to do with a genus of fern plants?

Let's see [laughs], the ferns produce tiny spherical spores that drift to the ground and germinate into heart-shaped plants called gametophytes. I guess I wore an Armani Privé dress to the 2010 Grammy Awards that kind of looked like the gametophyte. And the botanists listened to my music while working and investigating it. The majority of the new genus is reclassifications of existing species, but there are two entirely new to science: Gaga germanotta from Costa Rica and Gaga monstraparva, which references my fans, the Little Monsters. I love that something in nature is named Gaga.

Maybe they could engineer the gametophyte to have little speakers, and when it starts to grow, it could play one of your songs.

The copy writers for my perfume would be all over that. But now I'm thinking I need a tree named after me. Why stop at a fern? [Laughs] I'd like to reclassify the oak tree. Maybe after a couple more albums?

Where did music start for you as a kid?

My dad would play Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Billy Joel before and after dinner. We had an upright piano in the house and instead of toys, I would play with that.

Do you want to say anything about the religious groups that protested in Asia saying your tour was satanic and against religious values?

What a waste of energy. People should be able to believe whatever they want and do whatever they want, as long as they're not breaking any laws. We should be able to marry who we want and have sex with who we want—and if your religion says that's wrong, then your religion needs to look at itself in the mirror. I'm not satanic, sorry. Saying I'm satanic is foolish, absolutely foolish. I make music and art.

You wrote a song for Britney Spears that she turned down?

Yeah. I wrote one she accepted called "Quicksand" and another called "Telephone" that she recorded but didn't put out on an album. I was so excited she used "Quicksand." I celebrated. Yeah Britney Spears! I ordered drinks.

You're the godmother of Elton John's son, Zachary. How's Zachary?

He's great. I was [at my house on] Crete and made him a playroom overlooking the ocean. I put up special wallpaper for him and everything, and gave him a big boy bed.

What's your advice to people?

Don't have any fear. Don't be afraid to do what you want. I dropped out of college when I was 19 and waitressed and worked hard to make things happen. I was doing burlesque punk shows at clubs and people scoffed, but I didn't care who liked it and who didn't. It was about doing what I knew I had to do. Not some record label executive, or promoter, or boss who's only looking out for themself. Talent is subjective. You have to learn how to harness what you're good at. When you do that, you can create yourself.

Now on to your Lady Gaga Singing Toothbrush. Is $14.95 a little much for a toothbrush?

It does seem like a lot. I have nothing to do with that. I don't care about money. I don't mean that to sound aloof or whatever, but the only thing I really care about is doing music and doing it my way. I still live in my same apartment in New York. Yeah, it's a toothbrush and it costs a lot for a toothbrush, but some economist will tell you that's supply and demand. I don't think that way. I think about art and what I want to do creatively. I always say that when I look back on my life, it's not that I don't want to see things exactly as they happened, it's just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. The lie of it all is much more honest because I invented it.

You just sold me on the toothbrush.

When I'm writing music, I'm thinking more about the clothes I want to wear onstage. It's all about bringing the performance and art together—the fashion and the pop world of it all. For me, I want it all to have a real story that will bring back the superfan. I want the imagery to be so alluring and in your face and strong that fans will want to eat and taste and lick every part of us.

I'll check back in with you after I've used your toothbrush for a couple of weeks.

If you're cavity free, I'll get the botanists to name a tree after you. recommended


Comments (24) RSS

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Why does she pretend that she came from nothing. "I dropped out of college and waitressed and made it happen"... blah blah blah." She forgets to mention that her parents are multimillionaires and supported her.

She should acknowledge her upper class 1 % roots.

Most people can't drop out of school, waitress, and support their families. Most people right now have trouble finding a job. Her simplistic advice is offensive, and is very common from those born with a silver spoon stuck firmly up their ass.

She says she "doesn't care about money", that's because she has always had oodles of it.
Posted by GAGME on January 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Glad she is talented and has given money to charity. That's great. However, her whole attitude reeks of someone who was born rich, and has never had to worry about money, getting a job, or anything like that. It's easy to do what you want when you are young when you are born in a family that is extremely wealthy, like hers. You have nothing to loose. I don't think she really has any idea how much people struggle in this country just to pay the rent. It's clear from her ticket prices and from her decision to play godmother to a baby that was bought from someone ( I mean a surrogate). Surrogacy is the new slavery.
Posted by ritzidean on January 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM · Report this
She donates TONS of money. She changes people's lives for the better. She fights HIV and AIDS. She's a positive role model for a lot of people.

And you all have a problem with her?

There are a lot of other people that you all should actually be critical of.

Why don't you go talk to one of the causes she's donated MILLIONS of dollars to and tell them how terrible and rich Lady Gaga is.
Posted by I'm for Gaga on January 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Yay for her charitable gifts! Boo for her attitude about her success, and how to be successful, totally disingenuous and misleading. Why can't she just say she was born rich? I think that would be a little more honest than her BS about struggling as a waitress in NY. Pleeeeze.
Posted by ritzidean on January 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
4 - so should she take back the money she's given and made for causes?
Posted by I'm for Gaga too on January 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Tripoli, Libya? Or Tripoli, Lebanon?
Posted by d.p. on January 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
yes, while wearing a meat dress and riding a Yeti. I would pay to see that.
Posted by ritzidean on January 9, 2013 at 1:26 PM · Report this
7 - we'll donate the money you pay to charity.
Posted by I wish I had my own perfume on January 9, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
"For me, I want it all to have a real story that will bring back the superfan." - Gaga. I will be a superfan when she tells her real story - that she's always been super rich entitled American Princess.…
Posted by ritzidean on January 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
David Schmader 10
Her being "super rich and entitled" should only make you respect her more. Bitch works her ass off, and is really good at her job.
Posted by David Schmader on January 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
I respect her as an artist and I respect that she is extremely charitable. However, I would respect her more if she was honest about her background to the press in interviews like these. Also, I think telling people that it's easy to make it if you just believe in the dream and work hard - without mentioning her wealthy background and 20 years of professional voice lessons and piano lessons - is dishonest as well. For most of us, without her huge advantages, success is much harder.
Posted by ritzidean on January 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Trent Moorman 12
Every commenter here gets a free toothbrush. Ritzidean, you get 5, plus an extra one for the meat dress/Yeti combo.

David's right. She works hard. She does good.

I didn't really ask her about her financial background. And I don't think she should be sorry for taking piano and voice lessons. She writes and co produces all her own music.

I'm glad Gaga is out there. I hope she gets even richer so she can donate even more money to more causes.
Posted by Trent Moorman on January 9, 2013 at 3:49 PM · Report this
She is being honest about her background. Why does everyone have the need to pick on her for such reasons? I really don't understand.
Posted by Little Monster on January 9, 2013 at 4:25 PM · Report this
What do you mean by "surrogacy is the new slavery"? Some of us are actively considering surrogacy for reasons other than money. I'm not a slave to my body, nor should you tell me I am a slave for deciding what to do with my fertility.
Posted by kmonkey on January 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM · Report this
Great, how can I pick up my $90 worth of toothbrushes. And what part of the $14.95 per brush goes to charity (?).

I am surprised they are being sold at Target (and Walmart) considering how much money Target has given to anti-gay politicians in the last few years and Walmart's national reputation for discrimination in the workplace, corruption, and using dangerous sweatshops. But Hey ! Gaga doesn't care about money.
Posted by ritzidean on January 9, 2013 at 5:14 PM · Report this
#14, if you were extremely wealthy would you consider renting out your womb and selling a baby? No, of course you wouldn't. Why not do it for free if money has nothing to do with your decision? If you want to learn about surrogacy and slavery, read about how women in India are being forced into birthing clinics for rich overseas couples and held basically captive. Surrogacy should be illegal (and is in most states) for a reason.
Posted by ritzidean on January 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Sandiai 17
Love her. Love the article. Thanks, Trent!
Posted by Sandiai on January 10, 2013 at 4:40 AM · Report this
Sandiai 18
@13, it's not everyone. It's just ritzidean. He must've been "wronged" by her, somehow.
Posted by Sandiai on January 10, 2013 at 4:43 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 19
@14: In Canada it's illegal to be paid for surrogacy, yet people still do it.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on January 11, 2013 at 5:26 AM · Report this
Awesome. It must be fun to explain to your 7 year old that he/she was a black market baby, sold like a slave from a "birthing vessel"
Posted by ritzidean on January 11, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
scary tyler moore 21
i saw the toothbrushes on sale at walgreens for $4.99.
Posted by scary tyler moore on January 11, 2013 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Anna Anna Anna 22
One of your finest, Trent.
Posted by Anna Anna Anna on January 14, 2013 at 5:44 PM · Report this
So what if she was born in to a rich, or even upper-middle class, family? No one chooses the family they're born into. And just because your family gives you piano and voice lessons doesn't mean you don't have to work to be any good. Seriously, she could just go sit in Crete and never work another day in her life and not give a penny to charity, but she's not--she's putting herself out there and encouraging people.

Yeah, you have to work hard to get places in this world, and some people have to work harder than others. Life isn't fair. Boo hoo.
Posted by sfguy on January 15, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
Rinelle Boomtown 24
Damn son, you going in with the Lady Gaga. Am I too late for a toothbrush?
Posted by Rinelle Boomtown on January 28, 2013 at 4:06 PM · Report this

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