vintage ladies

Lady Gaga’s former classmate reveals how Lady Gaga overcame bullying and it’s beyond inspiring

There was a time when Lady Gaga wasn’t famous. In fact, during her time at New York University, the now cool, confident, adverse-to-haters, take-no-shit Lady Gaga was bullied. 

Lauren Bohn, a former NYU classmate of hers, revealed in a Facebook post this Sunday that Leonardo DiCaprio’s unintentional shade thrown at the pop star (see GIF below) reminded her of the days when Gaga was just Stefani Germanotta and people weren’t bursting into tears upon meeting her:

“When I was a freshman at NYU and Facebook was only a year old and people created/joined groups like ‘I have dimples, f*** me’ and ‘Fake ID, please!,’ I remember coming across a Facebook group that broke my heart. It’s name: “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous.’ she wrote.”The page housed pictures of a pretty Norah Jones-esque young 18-year-old NYU student who sang and played piano at local bars. The group was peppered with comments, sharp as porcupine needles, vilifying the aspiring musician for being an ‘attention-whore.’ Scores asked: ‘Who does she think she is?’

 I also remember one dude posting a flyer for one of her upcoming gigs at a local village bar. He had clearly stomped on the flyer, an outline of his muddy sole [soul] struggling to eclipse her name.I couldn’t shake the raw feeling of filth while scrolling down that Facebook page, but I pretty much – and quickly – forgot about that group and that girl with the intense raven eyes.

Until about five years later. I was on an Amtrak train from NYC to Philly, reading a Vanessa Grigoriadis New York Magazine profile on Lady Gaga. I floated somewhat mindlessly through the piece until I got to the first sentence of the second graf:

"Before the meeting, I assumed that someone with a stage name like “Lady” (her given name is Stefani Joanne Germanotta) was going to be a bit standoffish…”

HOLY SHIT, I screamed to an empty car (Those who hang with me will know that I actually shrieked). LADY GAGA IS STEFANI GERMANOTTA? STEFANI IS LADY GAGA?

I was overcome with a dizzying emotional cocktail of stage-mom-at-a-beauty-pageant and nerd-revenge triumph. But also shame. Shame that I never wrote on that group, shame that I never defended the girl with the intense raven eyes – the girl whose brave flyers were stomped on, probably somewhere near my dorm.

But again, I soon forgot about that revelation and that feeling. Feelings. They’re so fleeting. Even more so, revelations. We need to constantly re-discover them every damn day.

Like last week, when I woke up to this meme. 

I saw the muddy sole eclipsing her name. The eye-rolls. The cowardly virtual-giggles. The “Who does she think she is?”

I’ve got a lot of feelings, but the easiest one to articulate: gratitude.

Stefani, thank you. Thank you for always thinking you’re a superstar, for using your cracks to let the light come out more brightly. Humans, let’s follow suit. ‪#‎LadyGaga‬ ‪#‎ThatsWho‬”

And if you’re wondering what that awesome NYU student performed like back then, here you go:

LADY GAGA, THAT’S WHO.

— Mandy Velez