We've all heard the saying "haters make me famous," but few celebrities have lived that truth as precisely as Lady Gaga.
While it's well-known by now that she believes you just need one person in a room of 100 to believe in you, this mantra isn't just PR positivity, but comes from personal experience.
During her early college years at NYU, when Gaga was regularly performing at local bars, she had a loyal crew of haters. As many college students do, NYU students created a crop of small and niche Facebook groups dedicated to everything from eyebrows to music swapping.
However, one very small and pointed group was dedicated to trash talking Gaga, then known by her real name, Stefani Germanotta.
Members of the group, titled "Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous" regularly posted about how she was "an attention whore" and would never make it big.
Back in 2016, a former classmate of Gaga's, Lauren Bohn, made a Facebook post detailing the innerworkings of the group.
She wrote about how Gaga's story serves as an ideal example of what happens when you lean into your drive, and not what other people project onto you.
"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.
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"
Needless to say, Gaga got the ultimate revenge by becoming super famous and beloved. What's more, she broke barriers this year by becoming the first woman to win an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA and Golden Globe in one year.
When Lady Gaga was in university, there was a Facebook group called “Stefani Germanotta, you’ll never be famous” an… https://t.co/dn7H16VjXc— Majd (@Majd) 1551127660.0
People are legitimately curious about how those 12 Facebook Members feel about their petty cruelty now.
@majdgeorge98 I wonder how those 12 members feel now. Not just that they were so wrong, but that they were so mean.— Kim Hunt Harris (@Kim Hunt Harris) 1551133702.0
Others noted how this just exemplifies that people will hate on anyone and any project, and that should never be a reason to stop.
@majdgeorge98 And that's the difference between those who put their effort to destroy and those to put their effort to build.— Passarinho (@Passarinho) 1551151892.0