Interview: David LaChapelle says Madonna taught him a life lesson and explains what happened on the ‘Hung Up’ shoot

“YANN Calls…” is a webseries where Brazilian artist Yann video-chats with different artists. Some of the guests have been Dita Von Teese, Kathy Griffin and Adore Delano, Bianca Del Rio & Courtney Act from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

On this week’s episode, Yann chats with the artist and photographer David LaChapelle. The interview was split into two parts. On the first, he talks about working with Andy Warhol, the reason why he decided to drop everything and move to Hawaii, and also how was working with artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Whitney Houston.

On Madonna:
“You know, I gotta thank her because honestly I’ve never said no to a job before. We were in pre-production for the video ‘Hung Up’ when she was screaming at me. (…) I had just finished the documentary ‘Rise’ and I had really worked so hard. That film opened theatrically all over the world and I had just come from that junket. I was tired. I wanted all my life to do a Madonna video. When she was screaming at me on the phone, I couldn’t take it. (…) The song was good and everything was in place. We were doing the job and I remember that being so mean. The shoots were always so stressful with her, when we did photoshoots. I thought God I can’t go through this. I just hung up the phone. I got very quiet because she was yelling at me. I put the phone down. I hung it up. It was a cellphone actually. My agent was sitting beside me and you know, Macaulay Culkin in ‘Home Alone’? She’s like ‘You hung up on Madonna?’ and the funny thing was the song was ‘Hung Up’. (…) I’m not here to judge her. Everything in life is a lesson to me. That’s how I look at it. Honestly, it was the first time I said no. She gave me a gift, in a sense, because from that moment on I realized I didn’t have to do everything. I was working all my life out of fear because I didn’t finish High School. I didn’t have a diploma. My mom said I was going to be homeless when I was a kid and I believed her. I thought so too. (…)  I finally said no and nothing bad happened. So I started saying no more and more which led me to stopping all together working for magazines and celebrities. I still shoot celebrities, but it’s rare. When it happens is for a reason. Right now I’m focusing on the fine art work. In a way, Madonna, that experience with her was kind of a catalyst. So I should be grateful.”

On photographing Michael Jackson not long before he passed away:
“Michael was a hero and Michael was a prophet. Michael helped so many people. We only found out when he died that he gave 400 million dollars of money to children’s charities around the world. He touched everybody and that’s the power of art when an artist can touch people from all countries. But we tortured him. At one point he could not turn the TV set without hearing horrible stories about himself. The trials were absolutely false and a farce. His makeup artist for 30 years, Karen Faye, she did the makeup when he was dead, for the coffin. So she worked with him that whole time. (…) Karen said the bedroom door at Neverland was never locked. She would come in when Michael was sleeping, he was an insomniac he couldn’t sleep often and 99% percent of the time the bedroom was empty. So those pictures they are a testament to that Michael. He really was like an angel on Earth.”

Britney Spears:
“Britney never actually really wanted this career. Her parents pushed her to it. She was doing pageants for kids when she was a little girl. So when she falls everyone is watching on TV, like it’s gossip. When she was 17 years old and we shot Rolling Stone, I met her parents at her house and they were sweet. Everyone was really nice. There were pictures and trophies of her as a beauty pageant girl and then she exploded into worldwide fame. It wasn’t really a life that she asked. In my mind, I believe she didn’t exactly want and came to New York with that goal and worked at it and became a big popstar. (…) When we were doing the ‘Everytime’ video and shooting the second day, She didn’t want to finish it. We didn’t have a video. I remember thinking ‘wow, she doesn’t really wanna be here’. Working with people who are celebrities over the years taught me that there’s a lot of suffering in an artist. When people get rich like that everybody wants something. It’s like winning the lottery.(…) People are making a lot of money off of them (celebrities).”

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All 16 of the Icons Name-Dropped in Madonna’s “Vogue” Are Now Gone

An odd bit of trivia about the passing of Lauren Bacall on Tuesday: As Marci Robin pointed out on Twitter, all 16 of the 20th-century stars immortalized in Madonna’s “Vogue” are now dead. The famous black-and-white music video, directed by David Fincher, is an homage to the golden age of Hollywood.

The song came out in March of 1990; Greta Garbo died just a month later. (James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and others had already gone, of course.) Bacall, 24 years on, was the final one.

Greta Garbo (April 15, 1990)

Marilyn Monroe (Aug. 5, 1962)

Marlene Dietrich (May 6, 1992)

Joe DiMaggio (March 8, 1999)

Marlon Brando (July 1, 2004)

James Dean (Sept. 30, 1955)

Grace Kelly (Sept. 14, 1982)

Jean Harlow (June 7, 1937)

Gene Kelly (Feb. 2, 1996)

Fred Astaire (June 2, 1987)

Ginger Rogers (April 25, 1995)

Rita Hayworth (May 14, 1987)

Lauren Bacall (Aug. 12, 2014)

Katharine Hepburn (June 29, 2003)

Lana Turner (June 29, 1995)

Bette Davis (Oct. 6, 1989)​

The song was a tribute, of course, to a certain kind of old-fashioned glamour. With Bacall gone, that flame has just about burned out.

(@Miriam Krule /

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Where’s that girl? Madonna in camouflage takes her son Rocco paint-balling for his 14th birthday and Lourdes tags along too

Madonna is normally one to stand out in a crowd but on this occasion the queen of pop went incognito.
The Material Girl singer donned military-style fatigues to blend in as she took her son Rocco paint-balling in the Cote d’Azur on Sunday for his 14th birthday.
She posted a collection of fun photos to her Instagram account and captioned them: ‘Birthday Shoot out!!!!! No one cheated!’


Rocco, whose father is Madonna’s ex husband and movie director Guy Ritchie, was joined by his sister Lourdes Leon, 17, and friends for the adventurous afternoon.
The singer was pictured holding a giant paintball gun and punching the air with protective goggles pushed back on her head. The mother of four wore her trademark black fingerless gloves
The famous family, including the seven times Grammy winner’s adopted daughter Mercy and son David Banda, has been holidaying in the south of France for the last week.


They made the same trip last year and went paint-balling in a forest outside Cannes to celebrate Rocco’s 13th birthday.
The youngster clearly enjoyed himself, returning for a second year.
Madonna arrived dressed down in jeans and a black and white stripped top. Just in case anyone was to forget her status in society, she wore a cap with the french word ‘reine’ – meaning queen.
And if that wasn’t enough to make the opposition nervous, she tied a bandana around her neck with a skull and cross bone motif.


Next week it’s Madonna’s turn to celebrate as she marks her 56th birthday on August 16th.

(@By Julie Moult for

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She’s got The X Factor: Simon Cowell is ‘desperate to sign up Madonna for live show performance this year’

She holds the crown as the best-selling female artist of all time with over 300 million albums sold to date.
But there’s one thing the Queen of Pop hasn’t checked off her list during her lengthy career, and that’s performing on The X Factor.
Madonna, who has never appeared on any kind of talent show before, looks set to make a change by inking a deal with media mogul Simon Cowell to debut her new music on his flagship show.


A source told The Sun: ‘It’s looking very hopeful Madonna will perform, possibly in November on one of the live shows.
‘There are a lot of big names releasing music at that time, but she’s absolutely the number one name we are trying to secure.’


‘She needs her next album to be a success in the UK and a performance on ITV in front of 12 million people would be the best platform,’ a show insider added to the paper.
The X Factor – which will see the return of head judge Simon, series regular Louis Walsh, fan favourite Cheryl Cole and the new addition of straight-talking Spice Girl Mel B – has managed to secure major musical acts over the last few years.
From the early series where homegrown talent Robbie Williams and Westlife were a staple, to recent years where pop princesses Beyonce, Rihanna and Katy Perry have graced the stage, the talent has been indisputably A-list.


(@Article by Kate Thomas / Pictures by Rex for

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