As I promised, here's the translated interview Vanity Fair Italy did with Madonna, along with HQ scans of the magazine!
Madonna: It wasn't life that changed me, my children did
Her new album recently came out, we will see her movie in June, and then she is coming to Italy with a tour that will break all records: you might have already known that. But what you maybe didn't know is that, in the past two years, she did two more things. She created her own fragrance (inspired by her mother) and she learned to be more flexible, to take things less seriously and to listen to what one special critic has to say.
The crows say "Madonna is over, her new album (MDNA) is a flop" (the truth is, the number of units sold in its first week is her highest since the "Music" album, released in 2000, and in the end, this album will sell as many copies as "Hard Candy" did four years ago). The critics slam her second directorial debut (W.E is coming to Italy the 8th of June - go see it for yourself). Other crows are "worried" about her upcoming concerts (even though her shows in many countries were sold out after only few minutes, and for her three Italian dates she already sold over 40 thousand tickets per city, and the tour will be the most successful tour by a solo artist of all time).
Madonna is Madonna, so she always wants more. And there she is, getting herself into one of the few fields she had left: she created her own fragrance. Well-planned marketing, cunning yet risky. The perfume is called "Truth or Dare by Madonna" and its package is white and gold, designed by Fabien Baron and it smells of tuberous and gardenia. In an apartment in New York, Stephen Nielsen, the "nose" that worked with her, tells me it wasn't easy to make her happy, the perfectionist she is. It took two years to reach the final scent: "There's so much to Madonna, she's such a contradiction to herself - how do you put her in a fragrance bottle, how do you transform her in a scent?"
They somehow managed, and the fragrance has been launched at Macy's, where Madonna met 300 lucky fans, people who bought her fragrance (in order to get there, you had to buy a special edition of "Truth or Dare") and then, after all the adrenaline a rushing crowd of people that adore you can cause, she went to talk to a selected group of journalists. Just to teach us all, once again, how to promote our projects and ourselves best.
Dressed in Dolce&Gabbana with a pair of Louboutin, she wasn't as nervous as she was at the Venice Film Festival, or had a bit scruffy attitude she had during her MDNA promo interviews: like her perfume, she was rather glamourous.
You said that you were inspired by your mother for this fragrance. Her name was Madonna as well and she died when you were little. Can you tell us what kind of lady she was?
"Una vera mamma" (she said, in Italian). Sweet, feminine, friendly. She always wore "Fracas", it was a perfume by Robert Piguet. It's a scent I will always remember: it reminds me of my childhood, the mornings I would get up early and then sneak into my parents' bed to cuddle.
You seem fearless.
That's not true: there are things even I am afraid of.
Not knowing, not having control over what's going on around me. Not being able to predict what's going to happen. Also, the fact that the world is full of ignorant, judging people: that scares me the most.
How do you change these things?
Let's start by smelling nice: with Truth or Dare, for instance. Ok, that was a silly response. The real one is, the world will get better once we destroy all the prejudices.
Speaking of that, I know you support gay marriage. Vanity Fair Italia is doing a campaign in Italy related to this cause. Why do you think this is such an important cause, that makes the people of both sexualities fight?
Because it's a way to show we have compassion and understanding for everyone, that we believe in love and freedom.
Other than dancing and singing, what do you think, at this point in your carrier, is the message you sent to your audience with your songs?
"Express Yourself", which is a title of one of my songs. It's also the phrase that represents me the most.
What do you think age changed about you?
Aside from years passing, I think it was my children that made me become more patient and tolerant. I take things less seriously now. I'm more flexible, in my mind.
And what about your body?
I learned to ski last winter, I've never done it before, so that was an exciting experience. My kids became very good at snowboarding and I got jealous of them. So, next stop: snowboard. I hope there won't be a lot of paparazzis around, taking photos of me falling on my ass.
You designed a teenage clothing collection, "Material Girl" with your daughter Lourdes. How it is, working together?
It was nice. Lourdes has very clear ideas about what she wants. She knows what she likes and has a good sense of style. Sometimes we don't agree on something, so we talk about it. For example, I'm not very happy that she shaved her head or that she smokes. But I like how she looks, and it's fun talking about these things with her. Even when I go out and buy stuff for myself, I ask for her opinion. She often criticizes me, but sometimes she's right.
You are a role-model for so many women. Who was yours?
Frida Kahlo. She wasn't conventionally beautiful, but she had an extraordinary face, and every time she would paint herself, she wouldn't look prettier or any different from what she really looks. She never removed her mustaches or her big eyebrows from her paintings. Everyone would do a self-portrait according to aesthetics and would make themselves look better. I think that it's the pride of being herself is what makes a woman beautiful, and not what you do to look what everybody else wants you to. We should never apologize for who we are.
What time do you wake up?
Depends on what do I have to do. Usually I get up when my kids are about to go to school, and then I go back to bed for a couple of hours more, because I go to bed pretty late. When I can't have the second round of sleep, I'm in a bad mood all day. When I wake up, I wash my face with cold water and I put on a Japanese eyewash that hurts like hell, but it wakes you up from the dead.
And what do you do before going to sleep?
I brush my teeth and take off my make-up. I never ever went to bed without taking it off.
We live in a world full of cosmetics, do you think there's something that doesn't exist yet, that nobody has invented yet?
I think nowadays everything exists. But now you made me think: we'll talk about it next time.
Not long ago you met one of your fan bases. What was your impression?
I was amazed by their loyalty! I don't take it for granted, trust me.
We're waiting for you in Italy. We heard the mayor of Florence is preparing a special, secret visit to the Museo degli Uffizi for you.
Translated by campos_girl