Role Models & Heroes: Lady Gaga (2013)

By October 21, 2013 November 15th, 2018 Bnei Mitzvah, Heroes & Role Models
The following essay on Lady Gaga was written by Jolie Elins, a middle schooler, enrolled in City Congregation’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. Students spend a year and a half researching their heritage, values and beliefs, and write on a Jewish subject of their choice, their major project; an example of this can be seen below. The process  improves both the student’s writing and critical thinking skills, as well as his/her self confidence and overall maturity.

Jolie Elins
October 12, 2013

A role model is often defined as someone who you wish to be like. I feel that it can also be someone who does things that you find cool. Most often role models are found when younger kids look up to the older kids around them, but it doesn’t have to be like that. A role model can be someone of any age, who you admire and/or aspire to be like. Lady Gaga is my role model because I admire everything she does and what she is. Not only do we share values, but I admire the messages she sends. I hope that someday, I can be as influential as she is and be able to use my influence for good things.

Lady Gaga might not be a typical role model because she is a pop singer, or maybe because her clothes are so outrageous. But in many ways, she is the best role model. Because she is a pop sensation, she is better able to spread her messages than almost anyone else. Not only her music, but even her clothing sends messages. And the messages she sends are ones of anti-bullying and being who you truly are. She has helped so many people in so many ways.

One value I share with Lady Gaga is determination. When she started, a lot of people told her that she was not good enough to be a singer. She did not listen to them and just continued trying. One of her professors at NYU told her that her voice was too “theatrical” to be a pop singer. I’m really glad she didn’t listen. Lady Gaga had other obstacles that her determination enabled her to overcome. Bullies once stuffed her in a trashcan, but she didn’t let any bullying get to her.

Also, she went through a period when she used cocaine. She soon realized that being a true artist would not include doing drugs and was able to quit. She tells all of her “little monsters,” which is what she calls her fans, what a bad experience it was and not to do drugs. She also struggled with bulimia. She said, “I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night.” It was hard, but because she was so determined to succeed, she got through her eating disorder and is now very confident about herself.

Another value that I share with Lady Gaga is family. She is very close to her mother, and stays in contact even when she is on tour. Her father has a restaurant named Joanna after his sister. Whenever Lady Gaga talks about how she started she says that her family was a big part of it. Even when she is mad at her mother, like the time her mom cut her hair when she was sleeping, the story behind the song, “hair”, she always loves her.

I also share the value of honesty with Lady Gaga. She is always honest about what she believes in and what she does. She doesn’t hide her beliefs just because they might not be considered right by other people. For example, after narrowly avoiding a big religious scandal over her “Judas” video, which some said had an anti-Catholic viewpoint, she decided to talk about it even more, saying, “The influence of institutionalized religion on government is vast. So religion then begins to affect social values and that in turn affects self-esteem, bullying in school, teen suicides, all those things.” She could have left the topic alone, but decided to share her opinion and risk more hate instead.

Lady Gaga does a lot of good. After the earthquake in Haiti, she donated all the money from one of her concerts and all the revenue from her online store for that day and raised about $500,000 for Haiti relief. When the tsunami happened in Japan she tweeted a link for Japanese prayer bracelets to her nearly 29 million followers that helped fund efforts to respond to the disaster. She also started a foundation called the Born This Way foundation that is helping so many people. Its mission is “to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated… creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world.”

Lady Gaga also worked with Viva Glam to create a lipstick and lip-gloss to help find a cure for AIDS and HIV. She says about the lipstick “I don’t want Viva Glam to be just a lipstick you buy to help a cause. I want it to be a reminder when you go out at night to put a condom in your purse right next to your lipstick.” Not only was this a statement about responsible conduct; she also gave all the money from the makeup to funds for research.

One of Lady Gaga’s biggest messages is about bullying. She feels strongly that bullying is wrong and should be stopped, and asks her little monsters to help her end bullying. She also tries to spread the message that when someone is bullied, they shouldn’t let it get to them. They should just continue being themselves and realize that they are better than anyone who is a bully. Sure, these may be common messages but Lady Gaga has the power to really spread them and she uses it. That’s what matters.

Lady Gaga wears some pretty different clothing. At first a lot of people thought she was crazy because of her eccentric clothing. Now people are more used to it. A lot of her clothing sends messages. For example, she wore an outfit made entirely of meat to the 2010 MTV awards. Earlier she had been with soldiers who had been discharged because of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. When asked about the dress she said “It is a devastation to me that I know my fans who are gay … feel like they have governmental oppression on them. That’s actually why I wore the meat tonight.” After saying this, Ellen DeGeneres, as a vegan with concerns for animal rights, addressed the topic and Lady Gaga said “It’s certainly no disrespect to anyone who’s vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth. It has many interpretations, but for me this evening, it’s ‘If we don’t stand up for what we believe in, we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones.’”

Lady Gaga is an amazing role model with great messages. It doesn’t hurt that I love her music too. She has helped so many people and I hope will continue to do so. I love what she stands for and believe that she has changed the world. Not only does she donate to charities but she actually helps individual people. Help doesn’t have to be money. It can be anything, including the knowledge that someone believes in you. Through her messages, her foundation, and even the website she created,, where everyone supports each other, she has changed many lives. I hope to one day be able to make as big a difference in people’s lives as she does now.