"New York wasn't everything I thought it would be," the music icon writes.
Madonna isn't just the Queen of Pop—she's the queen of longevity, reinvention and resilience, and she proved that in a big way in a new Harper's Bazaar essay. Madge detailed her early years in New York City before hitting it big, when she was raped at knifepoint.
"New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms," she revealed. "The first year, I was held up at gunpoint."
She continued, "Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back … had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time."
Considering traumatic ordeals like that could break even the strongest spirit, the fact that Madonna pressed on is a testament to her ambition, her smarts and her tremendous confidence.
Madge made ends meet by posing nude while pursuing her dream, despite her enormous setbacks. "Trying to be a professional dancer, paying my rent by posing nude for art classes, staring at people staring at me naked. Daring them to think of me as anything but a form they were trying to capture with their pencils and charcoal ... I was defiant. Hell-bent on surviving. On making it. But it was hard and it was lonely, and I had to dare myself every day to keep going."
And she kept going, and she keeps going, even at 55. Madonna admits that she wasn't prepared for the backlash she endured while adopting her son and daughter, David and Mercy, from Malawi.
"I didn't know that trying to adopt a child was going to land me in another s— storm," she vented. "I was accused of kidnapping, child trafficking, using my celebrity muscle to jump ahead in the line, bribing government officials, witchcraft, you name it. I could get my head around people giving me a hard time for simulating masturbation onstage or publishing my Sex book, even kissing Britney Spears at an awards show," she said, "but trying to save a child's life was not something I thought I would be punished for … in any case, I got through it. I survived."
Madonna's not giving herself enough credit. She didn't just survive. She became, was and remains a legend. Long live the Queen!
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