Back in October, the executives of Playboy magazine announced that they would no longer feature nude spreads. From its very first issue in 1953, Playboy has made a name for itself by featuring nude pictorials of models and some of the hottest stars in Hollywood. The publication decided to cease their signature feature and will begin revamping the magazine in March 2016. However, in order to make the most of the last few nude-filled magazines, Playboy has enlisted actress Pamela Anderson to be the last cover star to bare it all.
In a recent interview Pamela revealed, “I got a call from [Hugh Hefner’s] attorney who said, ‘we don’t want anybody else. There’s nobody else, could you do the last cover of Playboy?’” Unsurprisingly, the 48-year-old blonde bombshell agreed to take on the job and will be featured in the January/February 2016 issue.
Pamela is no newbie when it comes to posing for Playboy. The Baywatch star has been on the cover 14 times and has been involved in 15 different pictorials. Thus, earning her the total of the most featured woman in the magazine. It was 26 years ago that Pamela shot her first cover, which wound up turning the Canadian actress into an overnight sensation.
Another star that was honored by a magazine this week was singer-turned-actress Lady Gaga. Gaga is featured on the latest issue of Billboard magazine, as they named her their 2015 Woman of the Year.
In the accompanying interview, Gaga talks about how she lived this year differently than previous. She explains, “It speaks volumes to me that I’m being recognized as Woman of the Year in 2015. This is the year I did what I wanted instead of trying to keep up with what I thought everyone else wanted from me.”
Later in the article, Gaga reveals that she had a major crisis at the end of 2014. She recounts, “at the end of 2014, my stylist asked, ‘Do you even want to be a pop star anymore?’ I looked at him, and I go, ‘you know, if I could just stop this train right now, today, I would. I just can’t. [But] I need to get off now because I’m going to die.’ When you’re going so fast you don’t feel safe anymore; you feel like you’re being slapped around, and you can’t think straight. But then I felt hands lifting me.” She adds, “It was like everybody came together to try and put a star back in the sky, and they weren’t going to let me down.”
Lady Gaga also explains that she hit a roadblock when she realized that she was creating music that didn’t show her true talent. To stay on the charts, she was being led to creating catchy pop music that didn’t allow her to express her true artistry and soulful voice. She says she questioned herself saying, “Why [am I] letting these people run [me] into the ground? When did [I] become a fashionable robot?” This breaking point led Gaga to join up with singer Tony Bennett for a jazz album where she was able to once again center herself.
Shortly after, she took on the lead role of The Countess on American Horror Story: Hotel, where she continues to receive rave reviews for her performance.
Here’s some of her interview:
Lady Gaga is sitting in her “sanctuary” — the sprawling, olive tree-dotted backyard of her Malibu home — when a silent, tie-clad man arrives with cocktails on a tray. “Thank you,” she says, with the sort of silver-screen elegance that it’s surprising a “dahhhling” doesn’t follow. “I might have busted my ass on the Lower East Side, but there is something nice about a good dirty martini.”
There’s a chill in the air, and while she’s wearing only a tattered Springsteen tee tucked into high-waisted denim shorts, Gaga is intent on watching the sunset. These days, the woman born Stefani Germanotta seeks out serene moments — although her admission that she “craves normalcy” is almost a revolutionary statement from someone who proudly declares that she deals in “the theater of the absurd.” As recently as 2014, the Grammy- and Guinness Record-stacking megastar, who has sold 10.4 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen Music, considered quitting music altogether. She had parted ways with her longtime manager, Troy Carter, citing overwork, not long after 2013’s Artpop failed to resonate on the order of her earlier albums. She felt her image was threatening to eclipse her artistry.
This year, though, the 29-year-old not only recommitted herself to her career, she reinvented it. The unlikely set of jazz standards she recorded with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the fall of 2014, then won her a sixth Grammy (for best traditional pop vocal album) and spawned an international tour racking up rave reviews for much of 2015. “The audience goes crazy for the way she sings,” says Bennett, 89. “She has one of the great voices of all time, and it’s amazing how musically intelligent she is.” Pop fans the world over voiced a similar sentiment after Gaga’s masterful The Sound of Music medley at the Academy Awards in February, which earned her a warm congratulatory hug from Julie Andrews.
Days later, Gaga revealed that she would take a lead part in American Horror Story: Hotel, the TV show’s fifth season. She won her role as vampire matriarch The Countess after cold-calling series creator Ryan Murphy. “I told him I wanted a place to put all of my anguish and rage and that I was excited to play a killer,” she recalls with relish. “We relate to each other because we’re both transformers,” says Murphy. “We do something trying to work out shit in our personal life. And then the next year we put on a different costume and we’re somebody else.” AHS, the highest-rated series in FX’s history, has had its strongest season this year, with Gaga’s debut in the first episode drawing 12.2 million viewers.
Gaga’s biggest role this year, though, may have been that of the crusader. She released the song “Til It Happens to You,” co-written with Diane Warren, aimed at fostering empathy with victims of sexual assault; authored a Billboard op-ed with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo about ending campus rape; and initiated a partnership between Her Born This Way Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In October, after seeing Gaga receive an award from the nonprofit Americans for the Arts,The New York Times’ David Brooks was inspired to write a column on the nature of passion and how Gaga’s “amplified life” embodies it.
More than ever, Gaga’s efforts to end bullying and win support for gay and transgender people — as well as those who have suffered abuse, depression or anxiety as a result of prejudice — seem emblematic of millennials’ embrace of “outsiders” like Gaga herself. “Til It Happens to You,” says Warren, “speaks to her fans. That’s why it was so right to go to her.”
Gaga even managed to devote some attention to her personal life, getting engaged to actor Taylor Kinney on Valentine’s Day. (The 6-carat heart-shaped diamond flashes as she rubs the belly of her French bulldog, Asia.) In March, Billboard’s 2014 Woman of the Year Taylor Swift tweeted, “Is it just me or is Lady Gaga, like, fully LIVING right now?!?”
Says Matt Bomer, Gaga’s American Horror Story co-star: “She possesses the art spirit. I know that sounds esoteric, but it’s a distinct thing and very few people have it. Typically if they do, it comes with demons. She’s blessed enough to also have the help system and love in her life to be the beautiful soul she is.” Or as Warren says, “Because of the meat dresses or whatever, you forget that underneath is a super, ridiculously talented person.”
“It speaks volumes to me that I’m being recognized as Woman of the Year in 2015,” says Gaga. “This is the year I did what I wanted instead of trying to keep up with what I thought everyone else wanted from me.” Below, she explains in her own words just what following her instinct entails — and how she hopes to show women and men, artists and industry executives alike how a “hard-core chick” can set about dismantling the status quo.
‘I WANT TO EXPLODE INTO MY 30s’
“My birthday is in March, so these are the last moments of my 20s. I already mourned that in a way, and now I’m really excited about showing girls, and even men, what it can mean to be a woman in her 30s. Why is it that we’re disposing of people once they pass that mark? It’s suddenly, ‘You’re an old woman.’ I’m not f—ing old. I’m more sexual and powerful and intelligent and on my shit than I’ve ever been. I’ve come a long way through a lot of heartache and pain, but none of it made me damaged goods. It made me a fighter. I want to show women they don’t need to try to keep up with the 19-year-olds and the 21-year-olds in order to have a hit. Women in music, they feel like they need to f—ing sell everything to be a star. It’s so sad. I want to explode as I go into my 30s.
“Once you start being mindful and really going, ‘Do I actually want that?,’ you start to feel empowered and you find your value. I love being the annoying girl. I was a theater kid. I was in jazz band. I went to the Renaissance Faire. I was that girl who got made fun of, that nerdy girl. I believe in that girl. I believe in the integrity, intelligence and power of people like her, and I want to ignite it.”
‘I TOOK A GAMBLE BECAUSE EVERYONE HAD WRITTEN ME OFF’
“As soon as the Oscars were over, [former chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M] Jimmy Iovine emailed me something like, ‘That was so f—ing fantastic, and it could’ve been such a disaster.’ He’s Italian and from Brooklyn, so we speak the same comedic language, but I knew he was right. The truth is you can either nail a performance like that or butcher some of the most classic songs sung by an all-time great. I took the gamble because everyone had written me off. It took me a long time to get those notes. I told my manager, ‘I need two months working with my vocal coach every day and to be sober, which means I can’t do other work at all.’ When I work I need to drink and smoke, and I have body pain [due to hip surgery]. But I’m just like any other girl — there’s a human being in there, and if you can keep the human intact, that’s what you’re going to hear in the music.
“At the end of 2014, my stylist asked, ‘Do you even want to be a pop star anymore?’ I looked at him and I go, ‘You know, if I could just stop this train right now, today, I would. I just can’t. [But] I need to get off now because I’m going to die.’ When you’re going so fast you don’t feel safe anymore, you feel like you’re being slapped around and you can’t think straight. But then I felt hands lifting me. It was like everybody came together to try and put a star back in the sky, and they weren’t going to let me down.”
Read the rest of Lady Gaga’s interview here.