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Madonna Interview : Elle

Madonna - ELLE / April 1998

Herman: So how’s life with your little girl?

Madonna: I think we’re going to have a pretty cool relationship. I’m really excited about it. I’m going to be very open and honest with her. It’s not about shame or regret or wishing I’d done something differently. I like who I am now and everything I’ve done has brought me to this place. That’s the other thing you learn in Kaballah: there are no bad things that happen to us. Even the things we perceive as being bad are actual blessings, chances for us to learn and transform ourselves. I think that’s a great message to give children.

Herman: Do you still consider yourself Catholic?

Madonna: I feel like the teachings of Kaballah, which are similar to the teachings of Buddhism, embody modern living. Catholicism is a religion based on shame and fear. And while there are some really beautiful rituals in Catholicism – and, you know, there is a certain kind of darkness I find erotic – it’s not a very loving religion, not very flexible. It doesn’t make room for human error. So, in that respect I can’t really embrace it. [Pause] Look at what’s happening to President Clinton. The media are trying to cash in on what they perceive as being puritanical attitudes, but actually the American public is evolving their ideas about sexuality.

Herman: You’ve certainly speeded up that evolution.

Madonna: I hope so. Happy to be of service.

Herman: Going back to Monica-gate. What do you think of it?

Madonna: Oh, I think it’s just ridiculous. And I think he’s handling it remarkably well. So is Hillary. Monica Lewinsky should get a life, you know what I mean? First of all, I’m into dignity and honor, okay? If you have an intimate relationship with somebody – I don’t care who it is, if it’s the bellboy or the President of the United States – shut the fuck up. Why do people have to go blabbing? If he wasn’t the President of the United States, she never would have done anything about it.

Herman: Do you think it happened?

Madonna: I don’t really know. I’m not even going to guess. It’s none of my business. And even if it was, I don’t think it makes him a bad president. It’s between him and Hillary.

Herman: So what’s going on with you and Courtney Love these days? People say you’re like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Madonna: I just want to know who I am, Joan or Bette?

Herman: You tell me?

[“You want to be Bette Davis,” says Madonna’s publicist, Liz Rosenberg, as she enters the room. “Better Actress.”]

Madonna: But Joan had better clothes.

Herman: So you and Courtney are the best of friends?

Madonna: No, no! We’re just not throwing daggers at each other any longer. She hasn’t thrown a compact at me lately.

Herman: What do you think about her change from grunge girl to…

Madonna: Versace model? God bless her! [Sarcastically] Now we’re all in the same club.