In the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the pop icon will sound off on her nearly 40-year career, the turbulent political climate and more — and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the candid catch-up.
“I’ve always felt oppressed. I know a lot of people would go, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous for you to say that. You’re a successful white, wealthy pop star,’ but I’ve had the s— kicked out of me for my entire career, and a large part of that is because I’m female and also because I refuse to live a conventional life,” Madonna, 58, told Bazaar. “I’ve created a very unconventional family. I have lovers who are three decades younger than me. This makes people very uncomfortable. I feel like everything I do makes people feel really uncomfortable.”
Indeed, since launching her career in the early ’80s, Madonna has made headlines — and occasionally ruffled feathers — for everything from her provocative performances and expanding her family through adoption to dating younger men.
“I believe in freedom of expression, I don’t believe in censorship. I believe in equal rights for all people. And I believe women should own their sexuality and sexual expression,” she added in the interview with the fashion glossy. “I don’t believe there’s a certain age where you can’t say and feel and be who you want to be.”
In addition to blasting traditional expectations society places on women, Madonna — a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter — opened up about her reaction to the 2016 election results and President-elect Donald Trump‘s win.
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“On election night I was sitting at a table with my agent, who is also one of my very best friends, and we were truly praying … It was just like watching a horror show … I went to sleep, and since that night, I wake up every morning and it’s like when you break up with somebody who has really broken your heart,” said the singer, who used her time onstage at a December event for her Raising Malawi charity to denounce the business mogul-turned-Republican politician.
“You wake up and for a second you’re just you, and then you go, ‘Oh, the person I love more than anything has just broken my heart, and I’m devastated and I’m broken and I have nothing. I’m lost,'” Madonna added in the Bazaar interview. “That’s how I feel every morning. I wake up and I go, ‘Wait a second. Donald Trump is the president. It’s not a bad dream. It really happened.’ It’s like being dumped by a lover and also being stuck in a nightmare.”
The “Living for Love” singer — and mother to Lourdes, Rocco, David Banda and Mercy James — has been particularly vocal about equality in recent months, most recently in a powerful speech in December when she was honored as Billboard‘s Woman of the Year.