Madonna is Billboard’s “Woman of the Year”
Madonna’s Billboard interview is conducted by the talented actress, producer, director Elizabeth Banks. The magazine describes the interview with Madonna as provocative. Maybe it is, in a sense. For us, it’s a conversation that touches on familiar themes: Madonna’s attention to detail, interest in politics, and her love and dedication to her family. Not that we’re complaining. Madonna is a hero among heroes.
Read Madonna’s full interview with Elizabeth Banks here, but below are some of our favorite excerpts.
Will there ever be a time that you let go of that control, or is this like, “I have to?”
I have to.
Where does that come from?
Obviously, you could say it has to do with my childhood, if you’re going to psychoanalyze me: My mother dying and me not being told, and a sense of loss and betrayal and surprise. Then feeling out of control for the majority of my childhood, and becoming an artist and saying that I will control everything. No one will speak for me, no one will make decisions for me. You could say I’m a super control freak. That’s what everybody likes to say. I don’t want to have an event that I’m not proud of. It’s like everything that I do. My shows, my films, my house, the way I raise my children. I take great offense when details are overlooked.
On the Election of Donald Trump…
Speaking of: How did you feel about the outcome of the election?
It felt like someone died. It felt like a combination of the heartbreak and betrayal you feel when someone you love more than anything leaves you, and also a death. I feel that way every morning; I wake up and say, “Oh, wait, Donald Trump is still the president,” and it wasn’t a bad dream that I had. It feels like women betrayed us. The percentage of women who voted for Trump was insanely high.
Why do you think that is?
Women hate women. That’s what I think it is. Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.
Were you surprised?
Of course. I was devastated, surprised, in shock. I haven’t really had a good night’s sleep since he has been elected. We’re f—ed.
Do you think you can be an agent for change?
Well, of course you know the answer to that. I’m trying to figure out my response to Trump. I like the idea that women are marching on Washington, D.C., the day after the inauguration. I want to rain on his parade. I was put on this earth to fight for the underdog and fight against discrimination.
On Working in Malawi…
What have you learned through your work in Malawi?
It really opened my eyes to what’s going on in the rest of the world. It has connected me to organizations and NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] in other countries in Africa. It got me involved with the importance of secondary school for girls because girls are not encouraged to be educated in Africa. I’ve been working in Malawi for over a decade. I have a huge commitment and love for the country and I will never desert them. I adopted my two children that I’m so lucky to have living in my house right now. Since then I’ve been working tirelessly trying to make Malawi a more self-sufficient country. I’ve been building orphan-care centers, funding clinics and schools, and the list goes on. I’ve also been supporting this pediatric surgeon, Eric Borgstein. He’s an angel in human form who has given his life to looking after children. He’s tireless and fearless and performs multiple surgeries a day in the most dire conditions. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I built a hospital. I’ve been subsidizing education of other surgeons to work by his side so he doesn’t do everything on his own. That’s really what this Art Basel fundraiser is about: creating an endowment for the hospital with art. Art is how I express myself, and art is how I can change the world.
Besides Trump, what does Madonna worry about? Do you even worry about anything?
What? I worry about absolutely everything. I worry about my kids all day long. I worry about my health. I worry about whether I’m going to get things done in time. I worry about every project I’m working on. I worry about whether I’ll get to sleep at night. I worry about the state of the world. There isn’t anything I don’t worry about.