A Thank You Note to Lady Gaga

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Having conquered music, television, and now film, Lady Gaga has skyrocketed her way to superstar status. With five albums, 13 Grammys, an Emmy, and an Oscar win, she is the definition of a triple threat. Even from a young age, her talent was undeniable — learning to play the piano at age four, she was performing in NY nightclubs by 14. I could go on and on about how talented Gaga is, but you already know that. For me, it goes beyond music. Gaga has taught me what it means to be a woman, leader, and dreamer. She spreads positivity, both on and off the stage, and here are all the things I want to say thank you for:  

Being a "talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing" artist. 

When I think of a true artist, I think Gaga. She is constantly evolving her sound and from day one, has been 100 percent committed to her craft. All of her records are uniquely distinct — from her pop hit “Born This Way” to her jazz rendition of “Cheek to Cheek” — yet each one captures the raw power of her voice. Her music videos display her incredible storytelling powers (will seriously never get over "Telephone"). Her concerts are almost a spiritual experience filled with passion and pure musicality. She isn’t satisfied staying in one category and honestly, her fans wouldn't have it any other way.

Recognizing the power of your voice. 

With great power comes great responsibility and Gaga is the perfect example of this. On numerous occasions, she has used her platform to speak on topics like mental health, sexual assault, and feminism. In 2012, she founded the Born This Way Foundation with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, with the intention of “building a kinder and braver world.” From her, I've learned that being an advocate for issues that matter to you can be one of the biggest gifts you can give to the world. 

Showing me that there can be strength in vulnerability. 

One of the most admirable qualities of Gaga is her willingness to be vulnerable. In her Netflix special, Five Foot Two, she was painstakingly honest about her difficulties in love, her struggles with fibromyalgia, and the loss of her aunt. She has shown me that everyone — rich or poor, young or old — has their own traumas, stories, and insecurities. However, being vulnerable about these things does not equate to powerlessness. In dealing with my own traumas, she has taught me that strength is not putting on a brave face and pushing past it, but recognizing its impact on you and using it as a chance to become a better version of yourself.

Never being afraid to be different. 

Whether it be through fashion choices or song lyrics, Lady Gaga has consistently followed her own path in this world. Despite being critized by school bullies and those in the industry, she has never conformed to other people's definitions of who she should be. She once said, “you have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way.” From her, I’ve learned that the key to happiness is finding out who you are and then being that person for yourself- even if it’s different from those around you.

Or backing down from a challenge. 

Gaga has never been one to let a challenge to defeat her. Whether it's performing at the Super Bowl or taking on a role previously played by massive talents like Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, Gaga not only rises to the occasion but shatters people’s expectations of her. She has proven, even within this year alone, that being brave and charging head first into a challenge can bring so much joy and light into your life. 

Showing me how to dream big ... and then make it happen. 

Lady Gaga is the living, breathing definition of stopping at nothing to chase your dreams. Because of all the hard work and love she has put into her craft, Gaga has become the powerful woman she is today.  As she said in her Oscars speech, “It’s not about winning but what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion ... and it’s not about how many times you get rejected ... it’s about how many times you stand up and are brave.” For a long time, I was afraid to follow my passions. I didn’t even like to say it aloud out of fear that somehow saying it into the universe would make it not come true. Lady Gaga has taught me that despite all the haters, failures, and setbacks, believing in yourself and putting everything into your dreams can truly set you free.

There’s a moment in A Star is Born where Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine, tells Lady Gaga's character Ally, “talent comes everywhere but having something to say and a way to say it so that people will listen to it, that’s a whole other bag.” Not only does Lady Gaga embody this quote in real life, but she uses her platform to address important issues and advocate for kindness. It is a combination of her exceptional talent, incredible artistry, and kind soul that makes her a living legend. She is a strong role model not just because of her achievements in the entertainment world but, because of her positive contributions to society as a human being. Thank you Lady Gaga, I hope you know the bar you have raised and the impact you have made on your Little Monsters.