The TV company has yet to get anything off the ground, although it is working on several projects, one of them involving Madonna’s friend, actress Rosie O’Donnell. But the music publishing company is taking off nicely, she says, and the record label is enjoying its first Top 10 album in the U.S. with the band Candlebox (the record has already sold 2 million copies). They recently supported Metallica on tour, and Madonna went to see them in Miami: “I felt like a proud mother.”
The label’s other success is Me’shell NdegeOcello, the singer-songwriter who contributes a rap to Madonna’s new album, and whose own “Plantation Lullabies” album was one of last year’s overlooked gems.
There’s a theory that female icons are only really loved if they have suffered. Diana, Jackie Onassis, Marilyn Monroe. And Madonna refuses to be a victim. “Absolutely. I’m not an orphan, I wasn’t sexually abused as a child, I don’t let people take advantage of me, I don’t drink myself into a stupor, and I’m not beholden to a man. Listen, I could cut my heart open and give people a million reasons to feel sorry for me, I haven’t had an easy life. But I’m a survivor.”
She plans to grow old, and she’s prepared for her fame to fade. “I think what’s important changes for you. For me. Your values change. I know what it’s like to be incredibly famous. I know what it’s like to be on top, and there are great things about it and there are horrible things about it and I know that I can never be in that place and at that time again in my life–my fame will take a different shape, a different form, and it will be what it will be. All I hope is that I will be happy in my personal life with my friends, my family and the person I’m in love with. That’s the most important thing. If people are buying my records that’s good, but if they’re not it’s not the end of the world.
“I want to be good to my body. I don’t want to stay in the sun too much and eat lots of crappy food and I want to exercise because I want to stay healthy and look good for as long as possible. But I don’t sit here wondering if I’ll still be making videos when I’m 50. I hope that I’ll have three children and that they’ll be the center of my life, not being on MTV.”
Will you have a face lift when the time comes?
“I’ve thought about it, and I can’t decide if I would because I hate being put to sleep, I’m really scared. And there’s that one in a million chance that they might f— up. Then there’s this other thing, which is I am what I am, take it or leave it. Look at Jack Nicholson, look at all the movie stars. They’re allowed to have pot bellies and lines on their faces and that’s fine. But where’s Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep, who are beautiful women and great actresses and no one’s giving them parts? But even women don’t want to see women growing old–it’s just the way we’re programmed to think, and it’s awful.”
Months after her single “I’ll Remember” went to No. 1 in America, her father called her up. He couldn’t remember the title of the song, but he’d seen the video on TV, and wanted to tell her she looked nice in it. “Dad, it’s been out for six months now,” said his daughter, “you just saw it for the first time?” “Oh well, we don’t watch much TV,” he replied.
And Madonna decided not to fight him anymore, finally realizing that she wasn’t going to get the pat on the head she had wanted, and realizing too that perhaps she didn’t need it anymore. “I just accept it now. But before, it used to send me into rages. I’m so envious of other people whose parents are like sophisticated enough to be right there with them and understand them, but you can’t have everything. It’s annoying, but then because my father refuses to acknowledge who I am and what I’ve accomplished, it makes it easier for me to go home and be around my brothers and sisters and not feel like a freak. I think he does it on purpose so that everyone gets treated the same.”
© Los Angeles Times