It was two years ago, in the summer of 2017, that Tudor announced Lady Gaga would be the newest brand ambassador for its “Born to Dare” campaign. I will admit I was skeptical. The brand already had soccer legend David Beckham on board and that relationship made perfect sense. But Lady Gaga? After all, she had just finished a commercial with Tiffany for the brand’s jewels. Now watches? Turns out I was wrong to be skeptical. After having met her and really spent time understanding who she is, she is the epitome of “Born to Dare” – more so than anyone else I could imagine.
Recently, I spent several days with Tudor in Las Vegas where Lady Gaga has two entirely different shows in a multi-year Las Vegas Residency at the Park MGM Theater. While completely different in tone and style, both shows are an incredible display of her provocative and daring commitment to being different and to empowering young people to follow their dreams and embrace their own identities.
“A wonderful experience”
The Lady Gaga Enigma show is everything you would expect from a top-notch performer in Vegas and more. Created by the Haus of Gaga, the show not only witnesses Gaga flying in from above and stomping around the floor in dance moves that have you mesmerized, it also features an alien-like Gaga – Enigma – that makes appearances throughout the show and has conversations with Gaga about who and what each of them are and stand for. To create Enigma, Gaga made all of the moves that were captured digitally and interpreted on stage. Showcasing Gaga as a true performer, this show is all about being powerful and embracing your creative side.
I wanted to sort of eliminate this idea that Vegas is where, you know, pop stars go to die.
The second show, Lady Gaga Jazz and Piano, deftly demonstrates Lady Gaga’s incredible talent as a singer and musician. Not only does she perform some of the greatest jazz songs of all time, she also sings some of her own hits – including Born This Way – in scaled-down renditions that further underscore her unique talents. Unlike any other Residency, where one show is performed all the time, Gaga performs both shows multiple times in a week, which is an incredible feat in and of itself because the shows are so animated, so full of life and excitement, that one wonders how long this single powerhouse can go on. The costume changes alone are staggering.
“Well, I suppose it was a bold move [creating two different shows], but I did approach the MGM executives, and I said, ‘hey, guys, look, you know, what about we do two pop shows, one jazz?’ And, at first, they were like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know if this is going to work.’ And I said, ‘please just trust me and give me this opportunity, and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll pull the jazz show, and I’ll do the pop show, but let’s just try it.’ And it turned out the jazz show sold out faster,” says Lady Gaga. “And I think, you know, it’s almost like the first commercial that I’ve done with Tudor, there’s two sides to me. And I came to Vegas, and I sort of said to myself, ‘you know, why only offer one part of what I do when there’s this other thing that I’ve been doing since I was a little girl, which is jazz music?’ And why wouldn’t I bring all of the weapons in my arsenal with me to tackle this town? And it’s been completely liberating for me because I get to perform in two of the ways that I know how, and in many different ways. And even during the shows, you know, I’m transforming constantly, so it’s a wonderful experience. I really always want to push and push the limits. I didn’t want to show up in Las Vegas and just do what I’ve done before. I wanted to sort of eliminate this idea that Vegas is where, you know, pop stars go to die.”
"What am I going to do to help people?”
An Academy Award winner and nine-time Grammy winner, Lady Gaga is funny, witty, and not afraid to say what she thinks about politics, life and people. A committed activist, she is determined to spread kindness and breed compassion. Additionally, having dealt with depression and anxiety as a child, she began the Born This Way Foundation – and openly talks about these subjects during her shows. “You know, we’re bringing teen mental health first aid to the United States for the first time. So, we’re in eight schools now. We will expand and add 20 more. We’ve already saved eight lives. You know, this is the work. It’s like, you get to this point, and then you go, ‘okay, I’ve made it.’ I look at my Oscar, and then I go, ‘what am I going to do now to help people?’ Because that’s really what we should be doing. And you also can help people by just doing your art, but I think flaunting your fame or flaunting what you have, I think that’s a very bad message for young people. I think young people need to be inspired to be brave, to have a purpose in the world that goes far beyond on their beauty, that goes far beyond being loved for having lots of followers.”
When it comes to doing sponsorships or being the face of something, it's not really something that I'm normally interested in.
Lady Gaga acknowledges that she may be a global fashion icon, but says she enjoys changing her style daily – wearing sequins one day and a tuxedo the next. She also says she likes wearing multiple watches at a time, sometimes because it is daring and is an individual statement of style. While she owns multiple Tudor watches, Gaga says her favorite is the Clair de Rose (which she was wearing during the very exclusive press conference). “I like it because, you know, I’m a lyricist and a songwriter, so I write my own music, and it’s a play on words. So it would normally, in French, be clair de lune, which means moonlight. And then rose, I just, you know, I love La Vie En Rose, I sing it, and I love that song. So, it’s sort of a play on this like moonlight and romanticism, as well as the history of the Tudor rose watch. And I just, I think it’s a beautiful watch.”
Lady Gaga, who recently launched a new beauty and makeup brand on Amazon, says she only does partnerships with brands when it feels right to her, adding that the fit with Tudor is a great one. “I mean, the truth is, when it comes to doing, you know, sponsorships or being the face of something, it’s not really something that I’m normally interested in, but they’re [Tudor] so innovative. And they’re so brave and kind and interesting, and even hiring Mark Romanek to do the first shoot with me, and to create a commercial that was just so daring, so interesting, that delved into and celebrated my talent as a musician, as it related to the talent of their inventions of these watches. I just found it so exciting. And, on top of it, you know, they also give back to the community in Geneva, and I love philanthropy. It’s a huge part of my life. And so, you know, it’s fantastic.”