ELLE: Are you still macrobiotic?
M: I’m not so strict. I eat steak once in a while. And potato chips, or “crisps,” as you Brits call them.
Elle: August l6 [Madonna’s fiftieth birthday] ? Let’s discuss. Are you mad, sad, glad, or afraid?
M: I haven’t thought about it.
Maybe I am a deranged fan who has drunk the Kool-Aid, but I actually believe her. Madge is busy. Madge has other fish to fry. And since Madge looks like a well-preserved 38, why would she wish to bum herself out by planning festivities to mark her half century?
ELLE: Andy Warhol said, “If you can convince yourself that you look fabulous, you can save yourself the trouble of primping.” Are you ever tempted to surrender to middle age and Spanx and chocolate cake?
M: Wearing Spanx is primping. Plus, I already enjoy chocolate cake. And P.S. Andy Warhol cared a lot about the way he looked. That’s why he always wore those fluffy wigs.
ELLE: Let’s talk about Hard Candy.
M: Which is your favorite track?
ELLE: I love “Dance Tonight” and “4 Minutes.” My favorite is “Give It 2 Me.” I can really see myself getting into some wild, old-school aerobics with that song.
I flash to a memory of doing aerobics next to Madonna at some cheesy West Hollywood exercise studio in the early ’80s. She wore her RayBans during leg lifts. I was impressed.
M: I’m totally getting back into those ’80s exercise moves.
ELLE: Give me a couple of words to describe each of your collaborators on this record. Pharrell?
M: Smooth operator.
Elle: Justin Timberlake?
M: Cheshire cat.
Elle: I’m not familiar with the process of making a record. Is it agony, or is it fun?
M: Sometimes you get stuck, and it’s agony. The best songs you write in 20 minutes. There’s a flow. When you start overthinking everything, you’re in trouble. It can get painful.
ELLE: “Spanish Lesson” is a fierce track. Is that a euphemism for something naughty?
M: No, it’s just me being silly. But maybe I will make it into a euphemism for something.