I've always been famous, you just didn't know it yet.
It took some time, but the girl born Stefani Germanotta would become the artist known as Lady Gaga. And the defining trait of her story is resilience.
As a girl, she was the target of merciless bullying for being different. In her own words, she felt like a freak and a loser. Many days, she didn’t even want to go to school.
College, it turned out, was no different. She dropped out in her sophomore year because she felt she didn’t fit in.
I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find and ate shit until somebody would listen.
Around this time, she was raped, which left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. She focused on her music to help her cope. Her producer sent her a text message referencing the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga” -- but the predictive text actually sent “Lady Gaga”. And a name was born.
She won herself a major label record deal at age 20. Remember that part about her resilience? It would be tested severely, as she was dropped from the label after only three months. Devastated and depressed, she ingrained herself into the Lower East Side culture of New York City, experimenting with drugs and dancing in go-go bars.
This was the first moment in her life she thought she might fail. Yet that’s when her grit kicked in and she wholeheartedly devoted herself to her music.
And her musical style took shape, becoming an amalgam of pop, glam rock and dance. Two years later, she landed another record deal.
My name is Lady Gaga, I've been on the music scene for years, and I'm telling you, this is what's next.
Her 2008 debut The Fame was a worldwide smash, propelling her to stardom and establishing her as a style icon. And never content, the world’s biggest pop star has consistently reinvented herself, most notably when she released a Grammy-winning album of jazz standards with Tony Bennett.
Named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine, she’s also become an outspoken activist and philanthropist. When you can use your celebrity for something bigger than yourself, you know you’ve truly made it.
And when YOU find yourself at yet another crossroads in your life, never underestimate the value of tenacity.