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Madonna Interview : Harper’s Bazaar

Madonna - Harper's Bazaar Magazine / June 1990

So much has been made of Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone’s astonishing powers of self-discipline that one hesitates to contribute further to The Legend. Just imagining the powerhouse breezing through her exhaustively documented daily regime – her fierce excercise program and work schedule – is a wilting experience. It’s clear that no one pushes herself harder than she and that every droplet of sweat shed in one area has its reward in another. Her 25-city world tour, Blond Ambition (including a four-night stint at the Los Angeles Sports Arena that sold out in 68 minutes), will serve as a promotion for her album, I’m breathless, which will serve as promotion for her appearance as Breathless Mahoney in the film Dick tracy. Everything connects to something else. Madonna may be the only woman who networks herself.

Her pop appreciation of Marilyn Monroe – never more purposefully drown than in Madonna’s new video, Vogue – clearly stops at the 50’s icon’s dark beauty spot and pillowy white-blondness. Personal setbacks sent Monroe creeping into her bedchamber with liqour bottle and a canister of sleeping pills, while Madonna regards sulking as something to be bullied into submission.

“I allow myself a 24-hour mourning period,” she says in her clipped, supremely assured voice. “Then I snap out of it so I can get on with everyday life. Maybe deep down inside, I’m not over it. But for all intents and purposes, it appears that I am.” And on the topic of career rejection, it sounds as if she views her work as a community project that some obstinate neighbor refuses to pitch in on. “I rationalize that the people who aren’t going to help me just aren’t worth it.”

Madonna - Harper's Bazaar Magazine / June 1990

Yet for all her frosty determination there is a certain lovable put-up-or-shut-up-courageousness about Madonna. How can one not be impressed when she matter-of-factly recalls tossing herself from 40-foot-high diving board for a scene that never made in into her Like A Prayer video? “When I got to the top I looked down and went, ‘Oh God, it’s really far.’ Then, I figured, ‘What the hell?'”

Even better is how she evolved into the nerviest of impresarios. “I’m impulsive and I don’t mull things over,” is how she describes her bombs-away approach ro decision making. “And when I make big mistakes… They’re gloring. Then I have to eat humble pie.” Such cool is only admirable. Once, with a pack of strobe-popping paparazz at her heels, a dimbulb doorperson barred her entrance from her own private party, asking if her name was on the guest list. “Donna, Ma.” was what she shot back.