At the MTV Video Music Awards, you spoke out on the media hounding of Princess Diana. Do you have any personal theories on how those obsessions have become so acute?
We’ve chosen technological advancement over spiritual evolvement. There’s a huge gap, and I think that has a lot to do with it. I think because of TV and the Internet, people have forgotten how to be resourceful. So, they’re just living vicariously like leeches through other people. And they become spectators. They don’t inhabit their own bodies anymore.
When fans can get close enough to speak to you, what is it they won’t to know about Madonna?
I can’t remember the last time someone got that close. That mainly happens on tour. Most people come up to me and ask me about my daughter now. That’s nice. I do enjoy going to the park with her and when I do, people inevitably concentrate on her. It’s fantastic – I love it. You Know, since Princess Diana’s death, I have to say I’ve had a lot more freedom. I spent two weeks in New York right after it happened and I haven’t had so much freedom in, like, 10 years. I went to the park almost every day with my daughter and pushed her in a stroller and nobody bothered me. And I was in shock. Except for one day, I never saw paparazzi.
Many of the women artists I’ve talked to acknowledge a serious double standard in the rock industry, in terms of male and female images. As someone who’s used the video form and visuals to such advantage, do you see it as a challenge or a burden?
Ultimately it’s a burden. I want my music to be reviewed, not whether my rib cage is too small or not. You want to be thought of as attractive, but it’s a very competitive world and there’s always going to be another beautiful girl around the corner. Even though people don’t admit it in the music business, people are very looks conscious. And just like in the movie business, men are allowed to not meet the conventional standards of beauty and still be celebrated. It’s much harder for women.
But you can’t deny that bold visual presentation of self has been a big part of your success.
Yeah, it’s been part of attraction but ultimately it’s delusional. And it’s only a percent of what I am. And what everybody is.
So can you envision a day when you’d just stand there with a mic?
Holding a flashlight underneath my face? I’ve threatened it. [Laughs] I just might. Just to be different. Doing the [Rolling Stone cover] photoshoot yesterday was really difficult for me. I used to enjoy it, I used to enjoy doing video shoots. I don’t have any patience for it anymore, I feel like I’ve done it all a billion gazillion times. There isn’t the thrill of turning myself into something else and creating something else. It’s just not as much fun as it used to be.
The act of writing music or singing it or performing is much more exciting than trying to be beautiful. Ever since my daughter was born, I feel the fleetingness of time. And I don’t want to waste it on getting the perfect lip color.
Have you been thinking about how to explain this remarkable life of yours to your daughter?
I think past going to evolve. My daughter’s in the recording studio with me every day. She hears music- it’s a very visceral thing, she knows it’s my voice. It’s going to happen over time. I think she can understand what I do fairly soon. And then the rest of my life – I’m going to explain it to her, but I don’t think it’s something a person can plan for. I think it will unfold. I’ll figure it out.
[Here Madonna informs me, “My yoga teacher slash rock chick is “waiting”…”] What’s your next project, besides the album?
I’ve got about a month to go on that, I’m very excited about it. I might do another musical, with Goldie Hawn, and then go on tour. So, like, release the album, make a movie, and go on tour at the end of the summer. But, I don’t know. I’m getting much better at not being so organized and planning down to the nth degree – and seeing where life takes me…
© Rolling Stone