- Lady Gaga is a highly decorated musical icon.
- She was previously known as Stefani Germanotta.
- Gaga is an Academy Award nominated actress, as well.
- Her stage name came around as the result of a joke.
From music to film to fashion, it’s hard to imagine a world today without Lady Gaga. The singer, actress, and all-around star first exploded onto the scene in 2008 with her hit song “Just Dance,” evolving into a megastar by way of her signature brand of horror, showmanship, and sheer talent, not to mention her passionate relationship with her “Little Monsters.” But before Gaga was, well, Gaga, she was a girl named Stefani Germanotta, growing up with a big Italian Catholic family in the Upper West Side. Find out how she got from there to her Gaga fame, here!
What was her given name?
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in March 1986, Gaga got her start in music working with producer Robert Fusari, and first began to develop what would become her iconic stage identity. Speaking with Flybe in 2010, she shared that the idea for her stage name all started when Robert shared she reminded him of the classic Queen song “Radio Gaga,” something Stefani immediately took a shine to. “He started to call me Gaga when I’d come into the studio. When we were getting ready to really start performing, I decided that I’d been playing under my real name for so long I wanted a new way to reinvent myself,” Gaga revealed. So I said, ‘What about Lady Gaga?’ because Gaga is sort of crazy and Lady has such connotations.”
Though Gaga does credit Robert with the original joke leading to her adaptation of the name, the real “inventor” of the “Lady Gaga” name has been a point of turbulence between the two. In fact, in 2010, Robert sued Gaga for roughly $30 million dollars, claiming that he created her stage name and first uncovered her talent, therefore warranting him a right to seek royalties from her music. However, the lawsuit was dropped within the same year it was filed.
Happy Sunday!😊I’m sending love+a friendly reminder that your signature on your mail-in ballot needs to match your signature on file with your state.When I sign legal documents,I repeat Stefani Germanotta over+over quietly in my head so I don’t accidentally sign as Lady Gaga 🤦♀️😂 pic.twitter.com/Qc7ejfzYwo
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) October 18, 2020
She went on to make a monumental career of the name, branching out into an acting career — she was even nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in A Star is Born opposite Bradley Cooper. Now, she’s filming opposite Joaquin Phoenix as the legendary Harley Quinn in Joker: Folie à Deux — already, it’s become a highly anticipated performance.
Her influence on pop culture in unmatched. At the Academy Awards in 2023, she reminded fans again why she’s a style icon, wearing a stunning Versace corset dress with a plunging, rear-end revealing black dress — and then a pair of jeans and a black t shirt for her stripped-down onstage performance of “Hold My Hand.”
More than a decade after she first came onto the scene under the title, Lady Gaga, and Stefani Germanotta have become two parts of the same iconic woman: and she has the hilarious mistakes to prove it. Taking to Twitter during the 2020 election to laugh at herself (and urge followers to get out the vote), Gaga reminded her followers to always double-check they use their correct, state-identified name in their ballot. She revealed even she had to stop herself, after initially signing off her vote with…Lady Gaga. If it happens to Lady Gaga, it truly happens to the best of us.
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