Lady Gaga built her career around uplifting her fans and reminding them they can do anything, even if “anything” means dropping her off the side of a stage. But in a new interview with Oprah for Elle magazine’s December cover, the pop star, Academy Award winner, and mother to LG6 opened up about how her mental health sometimes keeps her from feeling unstoppable, even when she’s on top of the world.
“When I won the Oscar for ‘Shallow,’ I looked at it, and a reporter asked me, ‘When you look at that Oscar, what do you see?’” Gaga said to Oprah. “And I said, ‘I see a lot of pain.’ And I wasn’t lying in that moment.” She explains that even at her proudest, she’s reminded of being raped repeatedly at 19 years old, her history of self-harm by cutting, the chronic physical pain she’s in, and all the ways she tries to recover, including encouraging others. “Neuropathic pain trauma response is a weekly part of my life,” she explains. “I’m on medication; I have several doctors. This is how I survive. But you know what, Oprah? I kept going, and that kid out there or even that adult out there who’s been through so much, I want them to know that they can keep going, and they can survive, and they can win their Oscar.”
Even with doctors, dialectical behavioral therapy (“Wonderful, wonderful,” Gaga remarks), and a legion of supporters holding her up, Gaga admits that she always returns to the same thing that makes her feel powerful, like capital-L, capital-G Lady Gaga: makeup. “As my career progressed, even before I was famous, when people would say, ‘Oh, the makeup, there’s too much makeup. It’s over the top, blah, blah, blah,’” she recalls, “I would be like, ‘This is my life force. This is what helps me fly.’”