Update: Gaga has announced the release of a Tenth Anniversary special edition of the album on June 18th featuring a second disc titled ‘Born This Way Reimagined’, featuring both artists and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community—gag!
Happy Born This Way Day! A whole decade has come and gone since Lady Gaga dropped ‘Born This Way’, her sophomore album that solidified her status as an LGBTQ+ icon and defined the queer experience for a whole generation of
bad kids. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of ‘Born This Way’, here are ten of the most iconic moments that surrounded Mother Monster’s talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, totally unique body of work.
1. The Meat Dress
Gaga first hinted at the ‘Born This Way’ era in memorable fashion when she showed up to the MTV Video Music Awards in September 2010 wearing a dress made fully out of meat, and belted out a few lines from the title track while accepting an award. Today, the original dress sits on display in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though the singer has recreated versions of it in the past.
2. The Title Track
Then in February 2011, the song and its unabashedly subversive music video were released. People were quick to compare it to Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’, with the queen of pop herself even calling Gaga’s track “reductive”. Despite that, ‘Born This Way’ largely lived up to expectations, giving the singer her third number one single in the US (after Just Dance and Poker Face).
3. 10 Million Followers
Did you know that Lady Gaga was the first Twitter user to reach 10 million followers on the platform? She achieved this feat on 16th May 2011, edging out other public figures like Justin Bieber and Barack Obama. Just a few months prior, she also became the first Facebook user to hit 10 million fans and the first to notch up 1 billion views on Youtube—Gagamania was seriously unstoppable.
4. The ‘Judas’ Video
Long before the days of Lil Nas X making love with the devil, Gaga’s music video for ‘Judas’, the album’s second single, drew flak from religious groups for its usage of biblical themes and imagery. The video saw Gaga play the part of Mary Magdalene and falling in love with Judas, which she described as a metaphor for the abusive relationships she found herself going back to.
5. The Vessel
At the 53rd Grammy Awards in February 2011, Gaga arrived in no less than an egg-shaped vessel which she emerged from to perform later that night. She told Ryan Seacrest in an interview that she had spent 72 hours confined in the vessel, calling it a “creative embryonic incubation”—which was just about the most Gaga phrase we could have heard in 2011.
6. The Introduction of Jo Calderone
The promotion for ‘You and I’, the album’s fourth single, introduced the world to Jo Calderone, Gaga’s brooding, bad boy type drag alter ego. While it left people equal parts bewildered and amused, there’s no denying that she looked dang good doing it.
7. The ‘Edge of Glory’ Drama
The music video for ‘Edge of Glory’ initially disappointed fans with its simplicity compared to her earlier videos. It later surfaced that creative differences had resulted in director Joseph Kahn relinquishing his duties, and the final output instead featured scenes of Gaga dancing outside her old New York apartment. Chart-wise, however, the Springsteen-esque song turned out to be a success, outperforming ‘Judas’, and has been seen by many as one of Gaga’s best songs.
8. The Born This Way Ball
As promotions for the album began to wrap up, it was time for Gaga to embark on her Born This Way Ball, which ran from April 2012 to February 2013 until a hip injury forced the singer to cancel her remaining shows. With over-the-top sets and costume changes, the ball was both a commercial and critical success and cemented Gaga as a top-tier performer.
9. The Born This Way Foundation
Having been an advocate for mental health and activism, the Born This Way Foundation was started in 2012 by Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. Over the years, the foundation has pushed out multiple campaigns aimed at promoting kindness and wellness, particularly among younger individuals. Check out their work here!
10. Born This Way Day
And finally, what better way to commemorate a decade of cultural impact than to receive a ‘Born This Way’ Day in your honour? On the album’s tenth anniversary this weekend, Lady Gaga received West Hollywood’s ‘Key to the City’, on top of a street painting of ‘Born This Way’ to kickstart Pride Month. While the album was surely polarising back in 2011 even among fans, its timeless message has held up and its impact on the LGBTQIA+ community is undeniable. Gaga has also furthered her advocacy over the years, both through her music and otherwise.
The singer’s Haus Laboratories page also teased a “surprise” arriving 1st June, and by the looks of this site celebrating the album’s tenth anniversary, we may be in for a treat pretty soon. In the meantime, put your paws up and let the music play, cuz baby you were Born This Way. 🐾