Dress to impress, have a joke up your sleeve and flout rule number one – NEVER mention her age! – at your peril… Event’s Louise Gannon recalls her SEVEN bruising bouts with pop’s punchiest star
A decade ago I sat in a holding suite in the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills awaiting an audience with Madonna.
It was a matter of weeks ahead of her 50th birthday and the beginning of her eighth concert tour (Sweet & Sticky) to promote her 11th studio album, Hard Candy. Eight writers had been hand-selected from the biggest territories all over the world. There was tension in the room – there always is with Madonna – because there was one rule she was insisting every journalist follow: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU ASK HER ABOUT TURNING 50.
I was the last person to speak to her that day. The journalist before me, a nervous Italian, was led out of her interview room after less than 15 minutes and looking close to tears. He had not asked the forbidden question; he’d done something far worse. He had bored her with tedious queries and then sat in terrified silence, flipping back and forward through his notebook as she demanded: ‘Ask me something interesting.’ He was struck dumb so she waved her hand for him to be removed.
She was wearing a black leather jacket, black trousers and a scowl when I walked in. On a previous occasion she had told me she enjoys being in ‘bitch mode’. I was prepared. She complimented me on my outfit (I was wearing gold sandals from her 2007 H&M collection because I’d interviewed her six times before and know she takes in every tiny detail) and I grinned. ‘We’ve been told not to ask you about turning 50,’ I said. ‘But you’re a feminist, you’re a trailblazer and women want to know how you are going to handle 50.’ read more →