Lady Gaga is a longtime advocate of mental health awareness. The singer and actress started her own foundation, Born This Way Foundation, to support young people’s mental health and encourage kindness and compassion. Gaga’s passion for the subject comes from a personal place – and she’s now opening up about her own recent experiences with mental health while working on Gucci House.
Gaga used an acting style to play Italian socialite Patrizia Reggiani, a technique that helps her stick to her roles “on a cellular level,” as she previously told Stephen Colbert. “For this, I’ve always been Patrizia. I’ve always spoken in my language,” Gaga said in a recent interview with Variety. “I was still living my life. I lived it like her.” She said that Gaga did the same, while playing the role of Ally in A star is born.
In the end, though, she got so deep into the role of Reggiani that she began to seek help for her mental health. “I had a psychiatric nurse with me towards the end of filming,” Gaga said. “I kind of felt like I had to. It just felt safer for me.”
Part of that, Gaga explained, was just how “dark” Reggiani’s life was. “I brought darkness home with me.” She also realizes that her commitment to the role isn’t necessarily something she glorifies. “I don’t think any actor should push themselves that much,” she said. “I’ve done some extreme art pieces during my career – things I put my body into, my mind.”
It’s not entirely clear, even to Lady Gaga, why she would push herself to such extremes. “I think the best answer I can give you is that I have a kind of romantic relationship with suffering for your art that you developed as a little girl, and sometimes it goes away. And when it goes away, it can be hard to wrap it up on your own.” She noted that the impulse to dive deeply into her art might change if she had a child. “It’s no secret that I would do anything for art,” she said. Gaga explained that this mindset can be “problematic” with a child around, and could conflict with her desire to be “available and present for my children.”
One thing Gaga wanted to emphasize from her own experience: “It’s okay to ask for help,” she said. “If you feel like this, ask for help. Whatever it is.”