Lady Gaga big pharma

From Mother Monster to corporate sellout: The dismal downfall of Lady Gaga

2009 Gaga was dying for her art, 2024 Gaga is doing adverts for Big Pharma

“Hi, I’m Lady Gaga – and I’m changing the world one sequin at a time,” Stefani Germanotta told us all in 2008. There’s not a person alive with at least a crumb of pop culture common sense who could deny that since that bold statement, she has. Lady Gaga has revolutionised what it means to be a pop icon in the 2010s – at the forefront of not just the music, but pop culture in general. She used to piss people off in her high school by singing in the cafeteria without her classmate’s consent and declaring that she’d be a star – and went on to be on the front line of fashion, art, music and social justice. Now? Now Lady Gaga is flogging migraine tablets for Big Pharma. Across the last 16 years of her career, how did we get here?

If you told Lady Gaga in 2008 she’d have spent the past few years flogging the shite that she has, she would have never believed you. Nor would anyone, for that matter. Lady Gaga was fearless. She was outspoken and scrappy, with something to improve. Immense talent and the opposite of a nepo baby, LG fought for her place in pop and proved that she it was a space to be weird and boundary pushing and provocative. At the forefront of everything she did, she let her freak flag fly. It made total sense that the space she created for misfits, queer people and those who needed someone to be a godlike figure to their cause crowned her Mother Monster.

She was a fearless icon who was serving more pop culture history book moments than I’ve had hot dinners. As one fuming fan recalled, “Can’t believe this is the woman that bled to death on stage, screamed at Obama to throw out don’t ask don’t tell, at SXSW had a performance artist puke all over her and stood outside Trump Towers herself after Trump won, protesting! Now… she’s shilling migraine pills. Oh Gaga.” With Lady Gaga’s new venture being flogging off Nurtec Big Pharma tablets in her latest advertisement – which the majority of is taken up by terms and conditions and side effects, mind you – the old Lady Gaga might as well have died when she hung bloodied from the ceiling of the VMAs.

The Nurtec advert is kind of the last straw when it comes to her tumble into capitalist greed. Over the last few years, Lady Gaga has put her name to adverts selling Tudor watches – which on average right now in the UK sell for over three grand. She’s also peddled bottles of Don Pérignon – champagne costing around 200 quid a bottle. Correct me if I’m wrong, but these lux products are hardly the type of things the average Little Monster, looking up to their mother as the figurehead of self expression and love, are gonna be picking up.

Lady Gaga has put more effort into her Haus Labs makeup than she has her musical output for a long time, and the fan response to her post Artpop releases says it all. Gaga has focussed on her acting roles, which she’s excelled at – and as a huge fan of hers since I was a teenager no one was more thrilled than me to see her acclaim and Oscar noms for A Star is Born. The excitement obviously waned for the very annoying press cycle when House of Gucci and all that nonsense came around. We now have the trailer for the equally annoying looking Joker: Folie à Deux. God only knows what horrors await for us around the Gotham corner.

Since the release of Joanne and the lead up to her admittedly amazing Super Bowl performance, you can see the brave Gaga of old fade into a palatable, centrist star who stands foThe downfall has been a steady one that suddenly plummeted with the Big Pharma advert. It feels like the Lady Gaga of today is a Big Pharma shaped hollow shell of that young artist with a fire in her belly, a point to prove and a world to change one sequin at a time. And no one’s more gutted about it than me.


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Featured image via Shutterstock / Nurtec