I've loved her since I was a teenager and was influenced by her in so many ways. The hair; rags, curly and messy, the platinum blonde phase I wish I could have carried off. The fashion; thrift store clothing, ankle boots, leather and lace. The attitude, her perseverance and let's face it the self confidence. Of course she has her faults - who doesn't ? - but I honestly believe the influence she has had on many women (and men) of my generation is profound. So here - in no particular order - are my top ten reasons for celebrating Madonna.
1. She is a genuine poor kid made good. She literally went from rags to riches. Ok the rags were in her hair, but you get the point.
2. Mads is a fierce advocate of the gays - ok she wasn't the first, but she certainly wasn't shy about talking about sexuality. When her book 'Sex' was published my friend Jo pre-ordered it and when it was delivered we sat in her bedroom at uni looking through the photos in awe even though most of them had already been published by papers to prove how depraved she was.
3. I made my family come home early from temple one Sunday afternoon so I could watch the Blonde Ambition tour on an italian cable channel. I can't believe my Mum actually did that for me.
4. She is fluent in French and Italian - this woman is no thickie. She sent her kids to a french speaking school and values education very highly.
5. As a parent M is very strict - I like that she doesn't take any crap from her kids. It's far too easy to give your kids everything when you are loaded, it's much more difficult to say no.
6. Talking of saying which - Madonna doesn't need anyone to like her. Remember that scene in the movie 'Truth or Dare' ? Where Kevin Costner comes to see her backstage and she makes a gag face ? See she don't give a damn.
7. As a business woman she has built an empire and maintained it. Other singers have been ripped off by accountants, record companies and even their partners, but M takes no shit from nobody. (sic)
8. Her acting is abysmal, but I did really enjoy her turn as Karen's flakey roomate in Will and Grace. It was self-effacing and hilarious.
9. When Madonna falls in love she gives it all she's got. Famously her love for Sean Penn has never really gone away. She turned herself into an English lady for Guy Ritchie. For a woman who is so strong and independent she falls hard for the men she loves.
10. The woman can dance. That is all. Watch any pop starlet and you will see her moves all over them.
So those are the highlights from my history with Madonna. It's not an exhaustive list by any means. I mean I didn't even talk about the music videos (stunning), the chameleon-like style changes (epic), the adoptions (best not), the feuds with other singers (legendary) and the fact that even after all these years she's still able to terrify with a look. I can't help, but admire the woman for that.