Lady Gaga Was Happy to Become Bradley Cooper’s Drag Mother for A Star is Born

Bradley Cooper with his drag mom. Photo: Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

When Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine first encounters Lady Gaga’s Ally in A Star is Born, they’re at a drag bar called Bleu Bleu outside of Los Angeles staffed by RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Shangela and Willam. Ally is the token cis girl, and they let her sing, because, well, have you heard Lady Gaga sing? The choice to set the couple’s Meet Cute in a drag bar was the result long conversations between the director Cooper and Gaga, a noted supporter of the drag queen arts (and arguably, a drag queen herself), while Cooper was writing the script with Eric Roth and Will Fetters. “I would just ask [Gaga] tons of questions and listen back to it and try to take things and think How can we mold this? And we really loved the drag bar idea and I really wanted her to sing ‘La Vie en Rose,’” Cooper told Vulture during a roundtable interview at the Toronto Film Festival. “Once I met [Willam and Shangela] on set, the possibilities became endless of what we could do in this space. It was so exciting.”

In the film Gaga makes her first appearance in full Édith Piaf makeup, complete with pencil-thin eyebrows — a detail that entrances both Jackson, and the man who played him. “It was so wonderful, Bradley’s curiosity about drag makeup,” Gaga said. “I remember having a whole conversation with him about soaping the brow, how you get the eyebrow to stay down. You pat it with powder and then you can’t see it. All of these little details.”

Without getting into spoilers, Cooper’s character is so taken with the brows that he experiments with the look himself later in the film. It’s a scene that took Cooper back to one Halloween night with his Wet Hot American Summer co-star. “I do have to say — I just thought of it — one Halloween [with] Amy Poehler, I went in drag. I remember walking around New York City, and I was like Oh, I feel like a woman. But it was hard to find shoes that fit [size] 13. I needed more prep time. My friend had this incredible wig, so I just took her wig.”

Gaga chimed in: “Snatched it!”

Lady Gaga Was Happy to Become Bradley Cooper’s Drag Mother