Lady Gaga delivered a powerful speech at the Elle Women in Hollywood awards on Monday and also broke some news about her personal life — that she’s engaged to Christian Carino.
While onstage to accept her award, the singer turned actress delivered an emotional account about what it really means being a woman in Hollywood, weaving in her own sexual assault as well as the inadequate attention paid to mental health in our country. It started with her talking about how she picked her outfit — an oversize Marc Jacobs suit — after looking at dress after dress and feeling like none of them was right.
“We are not just objects to entertain the world,” she said. “We are not simply images to bring smiles or grimaces to people’s faces. We are not members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public. We women in Hollywood, we are voices. We have deep thoughts and ideas and beliefs and values about the world, and we have the power to speak and be heard and fight back when we are silenced.”
Gaga said that when she put on the suit, “I began to cry. In this suit, I felt like me today. In this suit, I felt the truth of who I am well up in my gut. … As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants.”
Gaga said that she was resisting “the standards of Hollywood” — and the standards of “dressing to impress” to focus on something far more important: using her voice.
“After I was assaulted when I was 19, I changed forever,” she said. “Part of me shut down for many years. I didn’t tell anyone. I avoided it myself. And felt shame even still today standing in front of you. I feel shame for what happened to me. I still have days where I feel like it was my fault. After I shared what happened to me with very powerful men in this industry, nobody helped me. No one offered me guidance or a helping hand to lead me to a place where I felt justice; they didn’t even point me in the direction of the mental health assistance I was in dire need of. Those men hid because they were afraid of losing their power. And because they hid, I began to hide.”
She said that she hid until she started to “feel physical pain.” That’s when she was diagnosed with PTSD and fibromyalgia, noting they are two things “many people don’t think is even real.” She described her fibromyalgia as “essentially a cyclone … inducing a stress-induced pain. … Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma — these are just a few examples of the forces that can lead to this tornado of pain.”
She urged the people in the room to help make mental health a “global priority.” Put therapists and other mental health experts in every school. “We’re not able to control all of the challenges and tragedies that life throws our way, but we can work together … to heal each other,” she said. “And we can also try to find the strength in the best way that we can to ask for help if we need it.”
While onstage accepting her award, Gaga also confirmed what has long been rumored: She is engaged to Carino. As she wrapped up her speech, she referred to the agent, who was with her for the event, as her “fiancé.” That’s the first time she has done so publicly despite its first being reported in November. The pair, who seemed happy to be in each other’s company last night, started dating in early 2017.
Gaga has kept really quiet about the romance, which started not long after her engagement to Taylor Kinney ended in 2016. Onstage during her “Joanne” tour last year, she made it clear Carino was her main man, saying how he met her backstage to make sure she was OK and then added, “The best part about being in love with someone is having them there to catch you if you fall.”
And, before giving Carino his shout-out as her “fiancé” at the end of her speech, she seemingly referenced him again while talking about the “great men in the world.”
“Let’s lift our voices,” she said. “I know we are, but let’s get louder. And not just as women. But as humans. And see that there are great men in the world. And ask them to hold our hands. For justice. That our voices be heard. Whatever our story may be. For an equal standing. We will fight for justice for women and men and those with other sexual identities. For me, this is what it means to be a woman in Hollywood. It means: I have a platform. I have a chance to make a change. I pray we listen and believe and pay closer attention to those around us to those in need.”
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