What do you wear to change the world? For the launch of her Born This Way Foundation, Lady Gaga wore a long black frock and a tall, black web-like headdress. “This is my youth empowerment hat,” she said as she sat down with TIME Magazine for 10 Questions.
Gaga is launching the foundation with her mother Cynthia Germanotta and, among others, Harvard University. Oprah and Deepak Chopra were also on hand at the launch in Cambridge. (Gaga is partnering with Oprah on a future initiative, in a kind of cross-support structure of powerful women.) “My mother always wanted to give back,” says Gaga. “Now that I am where I am in my career, I suppose I’ve grown up quite a bit, and I thought it wonderful time in my life and my mother’s life to really join forces and dowhat my mother and I do best.”
What does the foundation do? Its aims are pretty broad, but Gaga stressed that it was not an anti-bullying foundation, because, after studying the issue, she learned bullies suffered similar “mental turmoil” to those they bully. “The three pillars of the Born this Way Foundation are SSO. The first “s” is safety. The second “s” is skills. We want kids to feel safe in their schools or safe in their home environments, so that they can acquire the skills to be a tolerant accepting and loving person,” she said. “And then we believe that this will lead them towards the “o” which is opportunity.”
But Gaga hasn’t turned to all sweetness and light. Given that her persona has always been highly sexualized, TIME asked her if that didn’t make trying to talk to teens a little awkward. The icon prickled slightly at the question. “My work as an artist is completely separate from my work as a philanthropist,” she said.