11 (more) reasons to love Madonna

The Blond Ambition Tour, Tokyo, 1990

The American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman and mother of six is a powerhouse. To mark the global superstar’s 60th birthday, we’re reflecting on her extraordinary career, iconic style and inspiring rebel spirit. By GEORGIA SIMMONDS


She’s a self-made woman

In 1978, Madonna dropped out of college in Michigan and moved to New York City with (legend has it) just $35 in her pocket. Forty years on, Forbes estimates her fortune at $590 million.

The singer’s thrift-shop look had a big influence on ’80s fashion

She’s more inspired by clubs than by catwalks

Oversized denim, cut-off fishnets, thrift-shop miniskirts, a crimped top-knot, stacks of bracelets and some crucifix motifs: when Madonna burst onto the music scene in the ’80s, her look was straight from the era’s New York City clubs, breaking the manufactured pop mold that dominated the decade.

She admires passion

The singer dated maverick American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1982, and told Interview magazine three decades later: “I remember getting up in the middle of the night and he wouldn’t be in bed lying next to me; he’d be standing, painting, at four in the morning, this close to the canvas, in a trance. I was blown away by that, that he worked when he felt moved.”

She’s loyal

Borrowing from Marilyn Monroe has become something of a signature for Madonna. She has frequently channeled the Hollywood icon with a red lip and crop of platinum blond curls: highlights include her Material Girl video in 1985, and a full-look tribute to Monroe at the 63rd Academy Awards in 1991 (the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was her date that night).

She’s nobody’s puppet

Madonna’s determination to construct her image on her own terms has made her a global advocate for self-expression. Her risk-taking, attention-grabbing use of sexual imagery and religious iconography may have angered some, but it continues to empower whole generations – including the legions of female artists that followed in her wake – to take pleasure in dressing up and speaking up.

She’s a trailblazer

Like a Virgin hit number one in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, and the US. It was the first ever album to sell over five million copies in America, and has now sold over 21 million copies worldwide.

Madonna recently claimed that she had a short-lived romance with the late King of Pop in the early ’90s, who she took as her date to the ’91 Oscars
The pop icon has had a long-lasting relationship with designer Jean Paul Gaultier, who created her iconic cone bra (pictured) and dressed her for the 2018 Met Ball

She brings new meaning to the phrase ‘go big or go home’

Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour in the 1990s was a full-throttle spectacle that cemented her status as a global superstar like no other. And, thanks to a collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier, the costumes were unforgettable: hello, cone bra.

The multihyphenate performer proved her acting chops when she picked up a Golden Globe in 1997 for her performance in Evita

She refuses to be put in a box

The singer’s career is also peppered with movie roles and in 1997, she won a Golden Globe for her performance in Evita, leaving her impressive fellow nominees – Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Debbie Reynolds and Barbra Streisand – empty-handed.

She’s signed up to the sisterhood

In 2016, when Madonna was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year, she delivered a fiercely personal acceptance speech that covered, sexism, ageism, creative freedom and concluded with this sentiment:

As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other’s worth, seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to be inspired by, to collaborate with, to support, to be enlightened by. True solidarity amongst women is a power all on its own, and no opposing force stands a chance in the face of the solidarity, but women need to feel secure and trust themselves, to believe in themselves and when we do, you will be unstoppable.

She makes the most of her friends’ talents

When Madonna married British film director Guy Ritchie in 2000, she asked Stella McCartney to be her maid of honor – and to design her wedding dress. The strapless ivory silk gown, reportedly worth $30,000, was a gift from the designer.

Ballet star Michaela DePrince’s extraordinary memoir, Taking Flight, will be brought to the big screen by Madonna

She’s not stopping any time soon

Madonna recently revealed that she is working on her 14th studio album. She’s also currently prepping to direct the film Taking Flight, which is based on the life of Sierra Leonean ballet dancer Michaela DePrince.

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