Lady Gaga Says Being Bullied in High School for 'Having Big Dreams' Helped Her in 'A Star Is Born'

Lady Gaga is getting critical acclaim for her performance as an aspiring singer in A Star Is Born and she's opened up about what it took to delve into her character's deep insecurity

Lady Gaga is getting critical acclaim for her performance as an aspiring singer in A Star Is Born and she’s opened up about what it took to delve into her character’s deep insecurity.

The pop star, 32, spoke to PEOPLE’s JD Heyman and Melody Chiu on Monday night at the premiere of her new film in Los Angeles in which she touched on her high school bullying and how it helped her portray Ally, a struggling artist who longs to make it in the music industry but is held back by her self-doubt.

“Well, what’s different between Ally and I is that when I decided I was going to go for it as a singer and songwriter, I just hit the ground running,” Gaga said. “I was dragging my keyboard around New York and I was pounding on doors. I really believed in myself.”

Despite her trust in herself, Gaga said, “Ally is not this way. My character in this film, she doesn’t believe in herself at all. She’s very jaded by the music industry and she’s given up on herself.”

“What I had to do was go back further into my childhood, into my high school years, when I was bullied and made fun of for having big dreams,” she continued. “That’s where I went. But I think I went further because I trusted Bradley [Cooper] so much — to be vulnerable, to be my authentic self.”

'A Star is Born' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 24 Sep 2018
John Salangsang/REX/Shutterstock

“He’s such an incredible director, he’s such an incredible actor. The experience of him acting and directing and producing and writing music at the same time was completely fluid. I’m just so grateful to be here,” she added.

Of their friendship, Cooper told PEOPLE, “I made a friend for life. As great as this movie was the thing that I think I’ll take away forever is the relationship I have with her because she is an incredible person. I’m very lucky to have worked with her.”

A Star Is Born centers around Ally (Gaga), a struggling singer-songwriter who finds success amid a romance with Cooper’s country-rocker Jackson Maine.

The “Million Reasons” singer has received praise from critics for her performance, which has been echoed by Cooper.

“I’m just so glad God gave her the talent that she has and he chose her because that’s quite a vessel to go through,” Cooper said of Gaga during an interview earlier this month on Good Morning America. “Because it’s really what you do with it, and she’s such a beautiful human being.”

A Star Is Born is in theaters Oct. 5.

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