If anyone has the power to wow audiences in just a black t-shirt, ripped jeans, and Converse sneakers, it’s Lady Gaga.
At Sunday’s Oscars, the “Born This Way” singer changed out of her extravagant attire that she wore on the red carpet (actually champagne colored this year) and took off her makeup before going on stage to perform her Oscar nominated original song from Top Gun: Maverick, titled, “Hold My Hand”.
Before singing, she said, “I think that we all need each other. We need a lot of love to walk through this life, and we all need a hero sometimes. There’s heroes all around us, in unassuming places, but you might find that you can be your own hero, even if you feel broken inside,” dedicating her performance to the late director of the original Top Gun, Tony Scott, who took his own life in 2012.
Gaga has always advocated for people suffering from mental health issues and body image struggles, as she has endured both herself.
At 15 years old, Gaga was bulimic and anorexic, first posting about it in 2012 on her website while promoting the Body Revolution 2013.
“Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15,” she captioned two photos of her showing her body, posing in underwear. “But today I join the BODY REVOLUTION. To Inspire Bravery. and BREED some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.”
That same year, she spoke with Maria Shriver at a young women’s conference, sharing what her eating disorder was like when she was in high school.
“I used to throw up all the time in high school. So I’m not that confident,” she explained. “I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night.”
Fast forward two years, and she was able to reflect on her time of being bulimic, declaring herself, “curvy and proud”, and opening up more about how she was able to conquer her eating disorder.
In a 2014 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she talked about overcoming her bulimia and fighting depression early in her singing career.
“I am better with food. I don’t have an eating disorder anymore,” she said proudly. “I’m also better at not letting people take advantage of me. Five years ago, when I spotted someone with a hidden agenda, I allowed them to stay around me. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought if I ignored it, then they would eventually see me again—that I’m a human being and not a doll. But it doesn’t work that way.
“I speak up now,” she continued. “I realized that it’s my own fault that people take advantage. I should be around people who cherish my talents, my health, my time. I’m not a pawn for anyone’s future business. I’m an artist. I deserve better than to be loyal to people who only believe in me because I make money.”
Regarding her depression she suffered greatly in 2013, she came to realize, “Depression doesn’t take away your talents—it just makes them harder to find,” adding, “I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left. I’m lucky I found one little glimmer stored away.”
Sunday’s stunt at the Oscars was just another example of Lady Gaga reminding everyone that you shouldn’t make decisions based on others’ expectations. Your body is your own and you should be proud of how you look.
A quote from a 2019 Vogue interview seems fitting for what Gaga truly is advocating, when she said, “To my young female fans, I would say, your body belongs to you, your mind belongs to you, your emotions belong to you, and just always be true to yourself.”
Contact the NEDA Helpline for support, resources, and treatment options for yourself or a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder. Call or text (800) 931-2237 or visit their website at nationaleatingdisorders.org.