There is something to be said about about Lady Gaga’s ability to market herself, and it can be summed up in a word: brilliant. The talented singer has grabbed headlines, awards, and massive sales records on her rise to the top of the music industry, showing no signs of slowing down. Except, as Popeater‘s Christine Fenno points out, when her body fails her. Fenno notes that a collapse on stage this spring and quoted credible sources in the tell-all book by Maureen Callahan, Poker Face: The Rise And Rise Of Lady Gaga, may show the pop queen’s diet — or the lack thereof — could be killing her.
According to one of the people credited with discovering Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga’s real name), Wendy Starland, the pressure on Lady Gaga to lose weight has been “very high.” Some surmise that much of it may be the influence of the fashion industry, to which Lady Gaga maintains strong ties.
David Ciemny, Lady Gaga’s former tour manager, claims in Poker Face that the flamboyant star was given to junk food binges alternated with total abstinence from eating. He told the the book’s author that Lady Gaga was hospitalized six times in 2009 alone. Each of those stints came as a result of her dietary habits, in particular her push to lose weight.
Christine Fenno adds that the “Poker Face” singer landed in the hospital in March, reportedly from exhaustion. But rumors soon followed that Lady Gaga was on a baby food diet and rumors of ill health began circulating again.
But does the international singing sensation truly have a problem with her diet? Could the media simply be sensationalizing or exaggerating a few incidents of actual exhaustion into a full-blown disorder or health issue, one that possibly may not exist at all?
In answer to fan concerns and runaway rumors, People magazine revealed some of Lady Gaga’s healthy diet secrets in August. LaurieAnn Gibson, Lady Gaga’s multiple award-nominated choreographer, told the magazine: “It’s all about salsa with grain chips, tofu, turkey slices, hummus and coconut water,” she said. She added that they also indulge in “toasts with a little white wine.”
Even earlier, following her fainting at a New Zealand concert and the baby food rumors, Lady Gaga herself addressed concerns about her diet. She told Times UK in May: “My schedule is such that I don’t get very much time to eat. But I certainly don’t have an eating problem.”
She also noted in the interview that she drinks while performing “to free her mind” and takes prescription medication to keep her “sane” because she can’t “control [her] thoughts at all.” She describes them as “unstoppable,” herself as “tortured.”
But what about her collapsing on stage? “It’s just from fatigue and other things. I’m very connected to my aunt, Joanne, who died of lupus. It’s a very personal thing. I don’t want my fans to be worried about me.”
The Times UK interview and a few other comments made in her meteoric rise to the top of the pop world have done little to quell the concerns of her fans and curiosity of the media. In fact, her more quotable moments, such as her “connection” to her deceased aunt, Joanne, have given rise to worries not only about her physical well-being but her psychological state as well.
And it all could be part and parcel of the fame game, the constant attention and speculation that comes with celebrity, both light and dark, where every aspect of a star’s life is scrutinized and displayed for the public. Lady Gaga has shown herself keenly adept at manipulating the media and marketing herself, being provocative and elusive, avant-garde and brazen, coy and downright bizarre. But the media also adjusts and pushes back, revealing the darker side of celebrity and the cost of fame. The build-up/tearing down of celebrities is a constant crazy tango that the media facilitates, exposes, and, at times, creates.
Does Lady Gaga have an eating disorder? Is she starving herself to death? Or is it just another media creation, a speculative and unfounded worry? At present, the answer is unclear. Lady Gaga’s collapses on stage and hospitalizations in the past could be a result of her excessively demanding work schedule. But the incidents could also point to a more distressing problem, one where the artist seems to be driven to the point of personal health indifference.
Regardless, Lady Gaga has shown the world anything but a “poker face.” She has exhibited everything but, making herself one of the most accessible celebrities ever. And no matter if she suffers from exhaustion or dietary problems, anxiety or psychological disorders, or is simply victim of an overactive and over-reactive media, the circumstances surrounding the moments of her life, actual or created, will be news.
Such is the price of feeding the fame monster…
Poker Face: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga, by Maureen Callahan, was released in February by HarperCollins.
Times Uk via HollyScoop.com