Liz: You never seem insecure, in what ways are you?
Madonna: Ha-ha. Don’t get me started, I’m never good enough.
Liz: Why do you continue to provoke such controversy in your work?
Madonna: Because I want my audience to think. But I also want them to have fun. I think the two can co-exist in entertainment.
Liz: So the crucifix you are suspended on –
Madonna: Is what you make of it. If you want to be shocked, be shocked. As I’ve said, I don’t think Jesus would be mad at me, as my message during that song is not so different than his. I want to help make the world a better place. I want to open people’s eyes to the suffering that’s going on in especially the children still dying of AIDS in Africa. Besides, Jesus was not the only person who died on a cross.
Liz: Are you as manipulative with your image as you are often accused of being?
Madonna: All entertainment and art is some form of manipulation. There is nothing wrong with it. The question is what is the intention? To make people laugh? To seduce people into being sheep? Or to wake people up and make them think and ask questions. The latter is obviously my game.
Liz: I heard you are doing a sequel to you enchanting children’s story “The English Roses.”
Madonna: The sequel is coming out in the fall. It’s called “The English Roses-Too Good To Be True.” My daughter and I really had a great time following up on the adventures of these five close friends.
Liz: And you’re expanding into the retail world?
Madonna: Yes, another reason to go on calling me “The Material Girl!” Actually, my dancers and I just shot an ad campaign for H&M. I worked with their designers on a track suit that will be in the stores by August. It’s Gaultier onstage and H&M off.
Liz: You were already around 25 when you hit really big, a grown woman, with a lot of experience. Do you think that helped you – that you didn’t become a sensation at 18 or younger?
Madonna: I was hardly a grown woman at 25, but it was good to have that much time to be anonymous and learn how to survive privately. I certainly knew what I wanted by the time I was able to get it. But, I wasn’t prepared, could never have been prepared for the scope of what happened to me. You might fantasize about being famous – and I did! – but never that famous. Luckily I really have managed to carve out a life for myself that is mine and mine alone.
Liz: There’s a major equestrian theme in this show, yes?
Madonna: Yes, I love horses. They are the most beautiful creatures I think I may have been one of Henry the VIII’s knights in another life, riding through the great forest.
Liz: What did the success of this album mean to you?
Madonna: Well, first of all – and nobody believes this when I or any artist says it – I don’t write songs or record because I’m thinking “big hit!” I have to be satisfied with what I do. Not that I ever am. I mean, I’m always thinking something can be done better. But, I absolutely appreciate commercial success and it means so much if my fans, who have been devoted through thick and thin, like what I do. When this album debuted at No. 1, when it was No. 1 around the world at the same time, I opened up a bottle of champagne and I cried.
Liz: Is it true you’ve given up on movies?
Madonna: Actually, I’m more interested in directing at this point. I have so many tales to tell. Making movies for me was never about being a big movie star, it was about being a good actress. But it’s not easy with critics going after you before the movie is even released. It’s easier to be a visionary as a director.
Liz: Do you have any beauty secrets?
Madonna: Somebody told you to ask me that, right? I love it. I have no secrets. I get incredible facials. I take good care of myself. I eat healthy food. And when and if I ever decide to have plastic surgery – because I know that’s the next question – I’ll do it. But I won’t be holding a press conference.
Liz: Hmmm … I think I’ll skip the retirement question then.
Madonna: Oh, no, please. When I was 30, it was all … “she’s 30, when is she going to quit” … then 35, 40 …all this speculation that once you reach a certain point you have to stop doing what you love doing. And don’t you dare look good doing it, either. It’s the furthest thing from my mind. I tell you what, Liz. We’ve known each other for a really long time. I’ve always admired your energy. I’ll quit when you do.
Liz: Madonna, you and I will be the last girls standing at the rodeo.
Madonna: Yeah, we can ride off into the sunset together.
© New York Post