Madonna and W.E. star Andrea Riseborough land the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s December 2011 issue, on newsstands Tuesday, November 29.
Here’s what the 53-year-old entertainer and director had to share:
On her movie “W.E.”: “When I brought up the subject of Wallis Simpson to people when I was living in England, I was astounded by the outrage that was provoked by her name. The movie is all about the cult of celebrity. We like to put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they step outside of that shrine-like area that we blocked out for them, then we will punish them. Wallis Simpson became famous by default, by capturing the heart of the king, but it’s obviously a subject I’m constantly on the inside of, and the outside of.”
On being an edgy, trend-setter: “I think my behavior and my lifestyle threaten a lot of social norms, like the movie does. I think there are a lot of parallels and connections.”
On her sense of self: “I think it’s just that as a creative person, in all the different things that I’ve done or ways that I’ve found to express myself, I’ve consistently come up against resistance in certain areas. I think that the world is not comfortable with female sexuality. It’s always coming from a male point of view, and a woman is being objectified by a man—and even women are comfortable with that. But when a woman does it, ironically, women are uncomfortable with it. I think a lot of that has to do with conditioning.”
On escaping that conditioning: “The fact that I didn’t have a mother helped me in some respect, and that I didn’t have a female role model. I was always very aware of sexual politics, growing up in a Catholic-Italian family in the Midwest, seeing that my brothers could do what they wanted but the girls were always told that they needed to dress a certain way, act a certain way. We were told to wear our skirts to our knees, turtlenecks, cover ourselves and not wear makeup, and not do anything that would draw attention.”
For more, be sure to visit Harper’s Bazaar!
Photos by Tom Munro.