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Feb. 28, 2011

The fame

by Marjorie Fuchs, Editor-in-Chief
Meat dresses, trash bag gowns, excess of glitter and drastically oversized personae. Kermit coats, concerts that smell like cotton candy and fierce bubblegum colored wigs; not to mention countless hits, record deals, interviews and red carpets. Welcome to a whole new era of envelope-pushers; welcome to the female music industry, 2011.

Lady Gaga's larger-than-life persona captivates audiences and tops the charts. Courtesy of ladygagaonline.net
Lady Gaga's larger-than-life persona captivates audiences and tops the charts.
We've witnessed it all from the comfort of our couches: the rise of Lady Gaga from obscurity to avant-garde superstar, the transformation of Rihanna to a Good Girl Gone Bad and of course Katy Perry's admission that not only did she kiss a girl but also that she liked it. Lady Gaga brought this pop-diva tornado to Washington, D.C., on Thursday as part of her whirlwind Monster Ball tour. Gaga proved her status as the queen of the fantastic with her larger-than-life personality. But it's not just Gaga, many of today's female music titans' careers are built on their personas- either deliberately or not - and these guises are key to their status at the top of the billboard.

Several outrageous leading ladies - Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj - all emerged fairly recently, they're all products of the mid to late 2000's and aptly reflect this fact in their chart-topping, button-pushing music. Today's audiences have been desensitized by everything from raunchy television shows (hello, "Jersey Shore") to images of brutality and war presented in our wired world. And so these stars have to become the whole entertainment package; they have to put on a show so out there, so provocative that viewers will not only remember but will be blown away. Shock, it seems, is a key element in popstardom.

But the awe alone is not enough; music stars must create their own iconic style. Katy Perry is quirky and flirty, Rihanna is edgy, Nicki Minaj is crazy. All three maintain their personal looks both in concert and on the red carpet. Their public image is as much a part of them as their music is, if not more. The public expects, and desperately wants, pop stars to make statements in every facet of their lives. We want to see wild spectacles, we want to that wow-factor and stars want to give all of this to us. They're letting their personal style or in some cases exaggerated personas shine and we're happily, greedily soaking it all in.

Make no mistake, all of these girls worked hard to get where they are today. The drive to be unique and groundbreaking is essential in the music industry and today's stars know the formula to success: catchy tunes plus shock level plus iconic style equals chart topping gold. This is the age of star individuality and of pushing the boundaries, but a little help from the media never hurt either.



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  • tiger5 on February 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM
    This shock + glamour is fun, but so is more mellow and authentic. Gaga and gang simply prove we love variety. For more info, see the comments on the best acts at the Grammy's.

    What is the media's role? Do they help make celebrities with little or no attributes beyond fame and money? Say Paris Hilton?
  • Lyles on February 28, 2011 at 6:32 PM
    really good article margie!
  • Tru on March 9, 2011 at 9:43 PM
    So true
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