The Material Girl rebelled against beauty norms while growing up

By Kate Hogan
Updated November 10, 2011 09:30 PM

Tom Munro for Harper’s Bazaar

Today, she’s untouchable: Madonna has her music career, an upcoming directorial debut, her pick of famous boyfriends and a soon-to-launch clothing line and fragrance. But growing up in the Midwest, life wasn’t always easy for the Material Girl.

“The boys in my school would make fun of me,” she reveals in the December issue of
Harper’s Bazaar
. They called her “‘hairy monster.’ You know, things like that,” she recalls. “And then, going to high school, I saw how popular girls had to behave to get the boys. I knew I couldn’t fit into that. So I decided to do the opposite. I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits.”

The singer says that hanging out in gay clubs as a teen helped her find herself. “Straight men did not find me attractive,” she shares. “I think they were scared of me because I was different.” But that obviously didn’t stop her.

Tom Munro for Harper’s Bazaar

Now a mother four times over, Madonna says she doesn’t like her age associated with her work. “I find whenever someone writes anything about me, my age is right after my name,” she muses. “It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘Here she is, but remember she’s this age, so she’s not that relevant anymore.’ When you put someone’s age down, you’re limiting them.”

Age doesn’t limit daughter Lourdes, who oversees the Macy’s juniors line Material Girl with her mom. “She loves fashion and style,” Madonna says of her daughter. “She helps design the collection. I just stand in the background and watch.”

But like any good mother, she steps in when necessary. “I proofread her blogs and edit them,” Madonna says. “I give her a hard time when I think she’s being a lazy writer.” For the full interview and more photos, go to