There was a time when Lady Gaga was just Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. She was a Catholic girl, passionate about music, who was bullied at school because she was smaller and plumper than the other girls.
But Stefani had a dream: to become a great star. And she worked hard to make it come true. Moreover, the homely, weird girl of her youth became a style icon who amazes people with her talent, self-confidence and creativity.
Lady Gaga’s party friend writes tell-all book
Regardless of where she is now, there was a time when Stefani herself didn’t know if she could ever realize her life’s dream. Before securing her first record deal, she survived working as a stripper and plunged into a maelstrom of drugs, alcohol and sex in New York’s nightlife scene.
The beans are spilled, so to speak, by her best friend from those years, Brendan Jay Sullivan, in a recently published tell-all book “Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, The Lower East Side And the Prime Of Our Lives.”
Brendan and Stefani met on the party circuit in New York in 2006. During those pre-Gaga days, she was desperate for a record contract. “At that point, no one ever expected her to do anything. But to me she was infectious. She was wild,” Brendan says.
Stefani had promised her father that she’d go back to her studies at New York University, which she had previously dropped out of in order to follow her dream, if she didn’t get a record deal by the age of 20. But, according to Brendan, she would spend more time dancing around naked than she did working on her music.
Wild nights and bisexual lovers
Finally, Stefani got a record contract with Interescope. But they made her write songs for the Pussycat Dolls instead of singing her own material. According to Brendan, the experience was very tough for her, since she dreamed of becoming the next Amy Winehouse or Lily Allen. But the label didn’t think of Stefani as a pop star, with her dark hair, tiny figure and lack of conventional beauty.
That’s when Brendan and Stefani started partying hard and dabbling with drugs, according to him. “We’d go out every night.” Drugs were also available in any bar. “Drinks, drugs, get up late, didn’t eat breakfast, have a late lunch, get very drunk again until very late, then eat sandwich or pizza. It’s not healthy or attractive. But she was like that. She was close to being a failed pop star,” Brendan says.
During that time, Stefani was also experimenting sexually, according to Brendan, something she has also publicly acknowledged. “She had boyfriends and girlfriends – not at the same time. I don’t think she put limits on herself.”
From Stefani Germanotta to Lady Gaga
But there was one key difference between Stefani and the rest of the crowd. “She wanted to be a pop star more than she wanted to party,” Brendan remembers.
He also reveals that Stefani even saved up to have breast implants and a nose job as she was convinced that her image and physical struggles were stopping her from becoming a pop star. “It was very hard to see, she had all the talent.”
Fortunately, when Stefani was on stage she became a different person. “People loved her as a dancer. When they met her face-to-face, they didn’t get her. But when she was dancing on stage, they were like: “Wow!”
And that was the beginning of the creation of Lady Gaga. She was a totally different person on stage which gave her the confidence she needed to finally get her long-time dream of a record deal. In 2008, Stefani released her first album, “The Fame,” and became Lady Gaga– the eccentric, adored pop star and style icon that has sold 30 million albums, won five Grammys and has more that 200 other awards to her name.
Now, Brendan declares himself Lady Gaga’s number one fan and claims “she has more talent than Madonna or anyone else I can think of. She’s just getting started.”
Hers is an inspiring story, Brendan says. We have to agree.