Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From the Vault: Material Girl Version

My confirmation name is Madonna, so as you can imagine I have a soft spot for Madge, even in her current botoxed, "man-arms" state. (So glad the Kabbalah bracelets and pseudo-English accent have fallen to the wayside.) Women my age owe a lot to the Material Girl, more than we probably realize. Female artists especially. M has always approached her music with a combination of intense creativity and steely-eyed focus, and there are more than a few things we can learn from her long career:

1. Commit yourself wholly to a project. Yes, she's a control freak. But every good artist is to a certain extent, no? And she does take advice from people she trusts--look at what came of working with Jellybean Benitez.

2. When in doubt, reinvent.

From this:

To this:

To this:

All in the span of a few years.

3. Don't be afraid to take risks. Remember Madonna rolling around MTV's stage in a wedding gown singing Like a Virgin? Wearing a mega crucifix and making goo-goo eyes at Jesus in Like a Prayer? OMG, remember her SEX book? People stood in line for hours to buy some photos of Madonna hitchhiking in the buff.

4. Help out your fellow artists/Mentor the young. Too bad Brittany didn't have Madonna's force of will and business acumen.

5. Believe in yourself. The girl has not always been on top of her game. The acting. Her shaking hands at the 1990 Oscars. "American Life" sucked. But she takes lowered expectations as a challenge and always finds a way to surprise us.

So Happy Belated Birthday, M! We can't wait to see what you do next.


  1. She was my hero in 8th grade!I agree about risk-taking, though you won't see me hitch-hiking in the buff anytime soon. :)

  2. She also wrote a great kids' book called Mr. Peabody's Apples. It's about rumours, gossip, and taking responsibility - really good.

  3. Love Madonna! I think she's beautiful and has a fantastic body! Plus I always admired all of the things you mentioned about her. My 13 yr old daughter is tired of me screaming at the radio "Stop trying to copy Madonna's style!" and other such things everytime that lady gaga is on!

  4. I love the divine Ms. M. Her cheeks frighten me now, but God, she's amazing.

  5. I was just thinking, listening to Lady Gaga, about how much we all owe to Madge.

  6. Kristi--Me, too!

    Jemi--I've seen that book. The illustrations are fab.

    Flott--La Gaga owes A LOT to Miss M.

    Little Ms J--Those cheeks could slice through an olive loaf.

    Alexa--She definitely had a good effect on those of us coming up in the 80s and 90s. Lady Gaga's theatricality reminds me so much of M's cone bra phase.

  7. She really is a force of nature, no? What I love most about Madonna is that while she's an artist, she's also a freaking amazing business woman. No one knows how to market better than Madonna. She's like the original idea whore.

  8. YES! Lila--I was about to mention the same thing. That's a rare combination--to have a creative person who's so business minded. She's definitely the one in control and making all the decisions, both good and bad.

    I wish she'd settle in a bit, though. You know, gain five or ten. Give in just a little to aging. I think she'd be easier on the eyes.