Cynthia Germanotta - Lady Gaga's MotherToday, mother and daughter are launching a nonprofit group, called the Born This Way Foundation, which claims to mentor kids in self-confidence and careers, while combating bullying. As for whether Gaga herself was ever bullied, her mother recalls one anxiety-ridden weekend that became a defining moment. Her daughter, whose given name is Stefani Germanotta, was “purposefully not invited” to a party one weekend by some of her classmates, her mother says. “On Monday, they asked her what she did over the weekend, knowing full well that she knew about the party. It comes down to meanness and cruelty,” she says. “Exclusion is a form of that.” She adds, “We had a long conversation about it. We talked about how it affected her, about how important it is to be inclusive. She was always one to include people, sitting with new people in school at lunch.” Germanotta is quick to note that the focus of her new foundation is on “kindness, not meanness,” saying that “bullying is almost overused in the media.” The group plans to partner with three other groups—Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the MacArthur Foundation, and the California Endowment to Empower Youth—to help educate kids, Germanotta says, by connecting Gaga’s fan base with the programs the groups have started. Tragedies like the school shooting in Ohio this week deeply sadden her.
- Abigail Pesta