I want to ask you about ageism in the music world. In Hollywood, as you know, it’s rare for women to find great roles as they get older. I imagine it’s even tougher to be a woman of a certain age in pop music. When you go into the studio or mount a tour like Rebel Heart, are you concerned about staying relevant?
I don’t care. It’s the rest of society that cares. I don’t ever think about my age until someone says something about it. I feel that I have wisdom, experience, knowledge and a point of view that is important. Can a teenager relate to that? Probably not. But that’s OK. I understand that. “Relevance” is a catchphrase that people throw out because we live in a world full of discrimination. Age is only brought up with regard to women. It’s connected to sexism, chauvinism and misogyny. When Leonardo is 60 years old, no one is going to talk about his relevance. Am I relevant as a female in this society that hates women? Well, to people who are educated and are not chauvinists or misogynists, yes.
Speaking of: How did you feel about the outcome of the election?
It felt like someone died. It felt like a combination of the heartbreak and betrayal you feel when someone you love more than anything leaves you, and also a death. I feel that way every morning; I wake up and say, “Oh, wait, Donald Trump is still the president,” and it wasn’t a bad dream that I had. It feels like women betrayed us. The percentage of women who voted for Trump was insanely high.
Why do you think that is?
Women hate women. That’s what I think it is. Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.
Were you surprised?
Of course. I was devastated, surprised, in shock. I haven’t really had a good night’s sleep since he has been elected. We’re f—ed.
Do you know anyone who voted for Trump?
Yeah, and I’ve gotten into major arguments.
What did they say?
That they would rather have a successful businessman running the country than a woman who lies. Just absurd. But people don’t have faith in government as we know it. We live in a country that’s run by bankers. In a way, it makes sense that Donald Trump is the president. Because money rules. Not intelligence, not experience, not a moral compass, not the ability to make wise decisions, not the ability to think of the future of the human race.
What do you think artists’ responses will be?
I’ve witnessed many protests in Manhattan, but in the end the protests have to equal something. Something has to manifest.
Do you think you can be an agent for change?
Well, of course you know the answer to that. I’m trying to figure out my response to Trump. I like the idea that women are marching on Washington, D.C., the day after the inauguration. I want to rain on his parade. I was put on this earth to fight for the underdog and fight against discrimination.
As a fellow New Yorker, have you ever met the president-elect?
I wouldn’t call him a friend or anything, but I’ve certainly met him. I did a photo shoot years ago at [Trump’s] Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach [Fla.] for a Versace campaign. He’s a very friendly guy, charismatic in that boastful, macho, alpha-male way. I found his political incorrectness amusing. Of course, I didn’t know he was going to be running for president 20 years later. People like that exist in the world, I’m OK with it. They just can’t be heads of state. I just can’t put him and Barack Obama in the same sentence, same room, same job description.
When you go to Malawi, or travel the world, you must clearly get a sense of how our president affects the globe.
We’re the laughing stock of the universe right now. We can no longer criticize other governments, other leaders. I’m hanging my head in shame.