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Donna Delory on Madonna

Did studying Eastern philosophy help keep you grounded when you were traveling with Madonna? I just imagine, being so young in this exciting, glamorous life…

It always did, and more and more as I developed and grew in that experience. I was touring with a major superstar when I was 21. I was completely lost in it. I wanted to be just like Madonna. I was always comparing myself to her: how can you not? She was my big, famous sister. I was trying to be as pretty as her, as glamorous as her, have nice clothes like her. Here I am, [thinking] I can never have those kinds of clothes: Dolce and Gabbana morning and night. Maybe some day, but not right now! I was constantly trying to compare myself. … But I learned. There was enough time in between working with her that I could go out, do my own thing and develop myself. Every time I came back to do a big tour, it was such a reflection to me of where I was at. Pretty soon, like the last time I toured in that capacity, I felt such incredible love for the audience: that oneness. I didn’t feel I was up on stage. I just realized that’s what it was all about – that’s what I wanted it to be about. I wasn’t into being on stage and being worshipped for myself – doing it as a character role is one thing. But having already gotten out there, my awareness had really changed a lot.

You weren’t on her last tour. Is that change in awareness why?

I think inside I knew it was coming, but I was also pregnant and having my baby. I remember thinking, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” I remember in that moment, I already missed it: “I’m not going to be on another Madonna tour!” But she’s a person who moves on. She fills a space and moves on. She has a lot of people who work for her, and this is part of the natural experience. I can go down my path and do my thing. I keep it open: when you work with someone for so long you keep it open to work with them again. Maybe not in the same capacity: I’d love to do more benefits and big events, and support her in that way.

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