Madonna takes over her own interview for the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
In this issue Madge reflects on her career, her marriages, motherhood and much more.
Check out some snippets from her interview below. For the full interview, visit www.harpersbaszaar.com.
On what was considered norm when she was a teen:
Teenagers want to fit in on one hand and be rebellious on the other. Drinking beer and smoking weed in the parking lot of my high school was not my idea of being rebellious, because that’s what everybody did. And I never wanted to do what everybody did. I thought it was cooler to not shave my legs or under my arms. I mean, why did God give us hair there anyways? Why didn’t guys have to shave there? Why was it accepted in Europe but not in America? No one could answer my questions in a satisfactory manner, so I pushed the envelope even further. I refused to wear makeup and tied scarves around my head like a Russian peasant. I did the opposite of what all the other girls were doing, and I turned myself into a real man repeller. I dared people to like me and my nonconformity.
On studying Kabbalah:
When the world discovered I was studying Kabbalah, I was accused of joining a cult. I was accused of being brainwashed. Of giving away all my money. I was accused of all sorts of crazy things. If I became a Buddhist—put an altar in my house and started chanting “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”—no one would have bothered me at all. I mean no disrespect to Buddhists, but Kabbalah really freaked people out. It still does. Now, you would think that studying the mystical interpretation of the Old Testament and trying to understand the secrets of the universe was a harmless thing to do. I wasn’t hurting anybody. Just going to class, taking notes in my spiral notebook, contemplating my future. I was actually trying to become a better person.
On her decision adopting her first child:
Then I decided that I had an embarrassment of riches and that there were too many children in the world without parents or families to love them. I applied to an international adoption agency and went through all the bureaucracy, testing, and waiting that everyone else goes through when they adopt. As fate would have it, in the middle of this process a woman reached out to me from a small country in Africa called Malawi, and told me about the millions of children orphaned by AIDS. Before you could say “Zikomo Kwambiri,” I was in the airport in Lilongwe heading to an orphanage in Mchinji, where I met my son David. And that was the beginning of another daring chapter of my life. I didn’t know that trying to adopt a child was going to land me in another shit storm. But it did. I was accused of kidnapping, child trafficking, using my celebrity muscle to jump ahead in the line, bribing government officials, witchcraft, you name it. Certainly I had done something illegal!
On being daring:
When you’re 25, it’s a little bit easier to be daring, especially if you are a pop star, because eccentric behavior is expected from you. By then I was shaving under my arms, but I was also wearing as many crucifixes around my neck as I could carry, and telling people in interviews that I did it because I thought Jesus was sexy. Well, he was sexy to me, but I also said it to be provocative. I have a funny relationship with religion. I’m a big believer in ritualistic behavior as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. But I’m not a big fan of rules. And yet we cannot live in a world without order. But for me, there is a difference between rules and order. Rules people follow without question. Order is what happens when words and actions bring people together, not tear them apart. Yes, I like to provoke; it’s in my DNA. But nine times out of 10, there’s a reason for it.