It’s Madonna at her sensual best. In one section of her video clip for Hung Up she is handed from man to man, arching her back, offering up her lips.
“I had a great time, it’s the ultimate fantasy,” she says with a hearty laugh, sitting inside a suite in Tokyo’s luxurious Grand Hyatt Hotel. “Just because I’m married and have kids doesn’t mean I don’t like to have fun.”
Meet Madonna in 2005 – hotter than ever on the charts because of her new album Confessions On A Dance Floor, the undisputed superstar of the year, the woman affectionately known as “the missus” by her husband Guy Ritchie and a loving mum to Lourdes, 9, and Rocco, 5.
But don’t think for a minute she wants to be known as mainstream or “settled down”. For Madonna, being perceived as a cultural rebel is as important as ever.
“I still think that I’m pushing the envelope,” she says, leaning forward in her chair, eyes sparkling. “I don’t think many people have had the kind of career I’ve had, spanning the amount of time it’s spanned and, you know, continuously pushing the envelope. Asking questions and defying convention, things like that. That makes me a rebel right there. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, I have opinions. I don’t think I think in a conventional way, so that makes me a rebel too.”
It’s strange what people will ask about Madonna. When they find out you’ve met one of the world’s biggest superstars – a woman who has had more No. 1 singles than the Beatles and Elvis – they ask two main questions: does she have a fake English accent? And what was her skin like?
Madonna, in real life, is nothing like what you’d expect. Small and lean, with a dancer’s physique, she seems softer and warmer in person. Her skin is pale, to the point of being almost translucent, but at 47 she looks about 40 – perhaps not out of the ordinary for a longtime fitness fanatic.
But let’s not pretend her superstar status is not on show wherever she goes. When Madonna enters the room there’s a sizeable entourage (about 15 people to be exact, including stylists, security, publicists and lighting men) but there’s a one-on-one vulnerability about the singer that is genuinely surprising.
“I think when you reach a certain level of notoriety a lot of people take away the idea, or the fact, that you’re still a human being,” she says, matter-of-factly, in her straightforward American accent (no British lilt on show).
“I still have to get up out of bed and put both feet on the ground and brush my teeth and deal with all sorts of things, like the car stalling, you know?
“I have the same issues [as other people]. You know . . . my children waking me in the middle of the night repeatedly,” she says, with an exasperated smile.
Madonna’s love for her children Lourdes and Rocco seems to filter through everything she talks about. Rather than being reticent about discussing her family life, she brings them up first during our interview, saying her kids have helped her move beyond the self-consciousness of being in the celebrity “fishbowl”.
“I think having my children, my family, you know they keep it real for me,” she says. “When I get home at night, I’m their ‘Mom’ – I have to read books to them and help my daughter with her homework. They don’t care about my superstar status and that’s good.
“They’ve taught me patience, tolerance. A lot of the things that I find my children doing that really bug me, I realise they’re just doing what I do. So it’s a great way to learn about yourself, having children. They’re the great equalisers. They tell the truth – which is amazing, sometimes you don’t want to hear it. But they’re very inspiring.”
Madonna might have wowed the world again this year with her Hung Up clip, by donning a sexy leotard and showing off her lithe physique at 47, but she candidly admits she prefers dancing around the loungeroom with Lourdes and Rocco.
“I love to dance with my kids,” she says, smiling. But Madonna insists she’s not the one showing them the dance moves. “No, no, they show me the moves,” she adds, with a laugh. “They’re very good.”
It’s this warmer, funnier side of Madonna that is rarely on show. She admits her level of celebrity leads to a catch-22 situation of influence and invasion. “It’s great to be in the position I’m in because it means I have a lot of influence, I have a voice – people listen to me,” she says. “But it’s also challenging because it means that everybody is constantly analysing everything I do and attaching meanings to it that don’t exist . . . you know, I have to be responsible for every little thing I say, what I wear when I walk out of the house. My life becomes a fishbowl and that’s something of a challenge.”
Fortunately, for this incredibly famous, iconic woman, there are plenty of laughs behind the scenes. “My son cracks me up on a regular basis. He’s the clown of the family, he’s just so funny,” she says. “My husband’s pretty funny too – they’ve got this English humour thing going, so they make me laugh.”
And believe it or not, despite the current family warmth, Madonna says she’s not afraid of her own children eventually rebelling against her.
“A little rebellion is good,” says Madonna, with a gleam in her eyes. “It’s good, yeah.”
Superstar Of The Year
Not only did she produce the video clip of the year with Hung Up, but her album Confessions On A Dance Floor is a winner in every sense of the word. And when we told Madonna she was The Sun-Herald’s superstar of the year, the singer was genuinely pleased: “Yay! That’s nice,” she said. “I think it’s a compliment.”
Madonna’s Confessions On A Dance Floor is available nationally, through Warner Music.
source : smh.com.au