AMBITION. I am ambitious, but if I weren’t as talented as I am ambitious, I would be a gross monstrosity. I am not surprised by my success because it feels natural. When I was younger I never said, “O.K., this is the plan. I’m going to be a dancer and that’s going to lead to singing and that’s going to lead to acting.” My calculation was that I knew I had to apply myself and work. And that devotion and that ambition and that courage was going to take me to the next step. So, that’s my calculation.
I don’t see music and movies as being unrelated. I think when you are singing & a song, you are making yourself very vulnerable. It’s almost like crying in front of people. Acting is about that too communicating and being honest and just projecting a feeling. It’s just a different way of doing it. I also love making videos. They’re like little movies. After I made my first video, it was just so great I wanted to make a movie. The next thing I want to do is make a really, really big movie, but nothing is definite. I see myself directing eventually.
I will make more albums. I love performing, but the rockstar life on the road is a grueling thing for me. At the moment, with the music and Desperately Seeking Susan, I think I’m affecting people in the same way either way. My personality is getting across. I really see myself as a comedian. In 20 years I know that I will be an actress. I aspire to be a great actress.
IMAGE. My image to people, I think, is that I’m this brazen, aggressive young woman who has an O.K. voice with some pretty exciting songs, who wears what she wants to wear and says what she wants to say and who has potential as an actress. Sex symbol? That is such a weird question. I guess I would be perceived as that because I have a typically voluptuous body and because the way I dress accents my femininity, and because a lot of what I am about is just expressing sexual desire and not really caring what people think about it. Maybe that would make you a sex symbol, I don’t know. There is a very modest side to me too. How far away is the image from me? It’s about 20 steps away.
PHENOMENON. I’m not really sure what is going on. My fans come from a wide age range. I think it goes beyond sexuality. Maybe my fearlessness and courage give people a good feeling. I think I have a real sweetness inside and love for life and a good sense of humor. Maybe people see that. I think a lot of people are afraid to express themselves that way, so maybe they feel they can attach themselves to an innocence and joy. I believe that dreams come true: that you can do what you want to do. I don’t mean that in a Rocky III kind of way either. I don’t mean you have to go out and conquer the world and be a star. I mean, I came from a boring sort of middleclass lifestyle and a big family and I wasn’t born with a perfect body.
It all has to do with an attitude and loving yourself the way you are. Think of all the anorexics and suicides. Young people seem to be obsessed with not liking themselves. I don’t think that what I’m trying to say is hard to understand. I don’t go overboard really in any direction. I don’t shave the side of my head. My hair is not pink. I don’t feel that I’m putting on a costume. It’s part of my personality and the mood that I’m in. Also I think that for the last ten or 20 years, that part of a woman has been suppressed. There has been the feeling that it’s not right to want to dress up and be feminine, because women think that if they indulge in that, men won’t respect them or take them seriously. Maybe kids now see someone in the public eye doing what I do. Maybe that’s the phenomenon and why young girls are dressing up like me because finally someone else is showing that it’s
FEMINISTS. To call me an antifeminist is ludicrous. Some people have said that I’m setting women back 30 years. Well, I think in the ’50s, women weren’t ashamed of their bodies. I think they luxuriated in their sexuality and being strong in their femininity. I think that is better than hiding it and saying, “I’m strong, I’m just like a man.” Women aren’t like men. They can do things that men can’t do. If people don’t get the humor in me or my act, then they don’t want to get it. If tenyearolds can get it and laugh, then an adult surely can.
FAME. I love being onstage and I love reaching out to people and I love the expressions in people’s eyes and just the ecstasy and the thrill. But I have to have a bodyguard around me for security reasons. When I finish a show I can’t stop on the street and sign a few autographs because I would be there three years. Sometimes when I go back to my hotel room there are people hiding in the ice closet, waiting. That is scary.
I feel caged in hotel rooms wherever I go. In New Orleans, after the show we took a cab to Bourbon Street. I put a hat on and pulled it down low, but I stepped onto the curb and one person said, “There’s Madonna,” and then everybody said, “There’s Madonna.” We started walking down the street looking in windows and watching some jazz groups, and the more we walked, the more people started to follow us. The people don’t want to hurt me. They just want to be near me. Actually it hasn’t gotten to the point where I never go out. I still go running on the street and shopping. I don’t send people out to do everything for me. I want to try to do as many things as I can in that regard, because I think if you really separate yourself from people, you start to have a scary opinion of the world. I don’t want to feel that way.