In this 1985 Spin cover story, Madonna opens up about her penniless years, struggle for success, the men she loved, used, and felt passionate about, and why she’d be a nun if she wasn’t a singer.
Editor’s note: The Daily Beast is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Spin by republishing two memorable features from the magazine. This bulleted interview with Madonna was originally published in the May 1985 issue of SPIN, which hit newsstands on March 19, 1985.

May 1985 issue of SPIN Magazine
SPIN Magazine

I like to look the way Ronnie Spector sounded: sexy, hungry, totally trashy. I admire her tonal quality. I don’t have a deep, throaty voice or a womanish voice when I sing. I think my voice sounds innocent and sexual at the same time.

That’s what I try to tell people, anyway; but they always misconstrue what I mean when I say “sexual innocence.” They look at me and go, “innocent, huh?” They think I’m trash.

I couldn’t be a success without also being a sex symbol. I’m sexy. How can I avoid it? That’s the essence of me. I would have to have a bag over my head and over my body; but then my voice would come across, and it’s sexy.

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