Madonna has gained a reputation for being eccentric and racy, and those characteristics seem to have always been a part of the performer’s adult life.
In an interview with BBC Radio 2, the “Vogue” singer said that when she was a 19-year-old student in dance school, she was bothered by the fact that students were not encouraged to be themselves.
“There was no room for individuality and that bothered me enormously. So I started doing things that made me stick out,” the entertainer explained, per the Daily Mail.
“At one point I took my leotard and ripped it from the top all the way down to my pubic bone and then I took tiny little gold safety pins and safety pinned it all the way from my vagina to… my fanny? That’s what you call it here in England.”
She said the resulting look resembled a “zipper” or a “vertebrae” that was actually “quite cool looking,” adding that she would also make holes and runs in her stockings to get attention. The school would ask her to leave, and she would return only to repeat the same behavior.
Surprisingly, Madonna was not just doing these things to get into trouble. She said her ultimate goal was to get into so much trouble that she would finally get to meet Martha Graham, who opened the Martha Graham School of Dance in New York City in 1926. Her plan worked, and she got to meet Graham, whom Madonna said was a little more strict than she anticipated.
The “Into the Groove” singer said that while Graham, who was in her 80s at the time, was more demanding than she would have liked, and lectured her about obeying the rules. But over time, the elderly woman began to take a liking to her.
“I could tell she admired my cheekiness and my subversive behavior,” the entertainer said.
Madonna also said that the title of her latest album is connected to something Graham told her all those years ago. She said that Graham told her she was going to start calling her Madame X because she was “like a secret agent. You’re like a spy,” pointing out that every time she saw her in the hallway, she had changed the way she looked.
"I like to always think that there's some kind of meaning to what I reveal."— NPR Music (@nprmusic) June 13, 2019
On her 14th studio album, 'Madame X,' @Madonna adopts a new musical identity. Inspired by her life in Lisbon and elsewhere, she sings in English, Portuguese and Spanish. https://t.co/hXRfB7pIoH pic.twitter.com/LRmTilQ4lR
The performer said all of that came back to her while she was making Madame X, noting that things had come full circle.
Madame X is Madonna’s fourteenth album.