Still in vogue at 50
Madonna turned 50 yesterday but the most successful female artist of all time shows no sign of slowing down – Katie Bodinger writes on the Wales On Sunday today.
Next Saturday she will kick off her Sticky and Sweet world tour at Wales’ very own Millennium Stadium. Featuring costumes from French fashion house Givenchy, it promises to be an entertainment extravaganza.
The singer has the knack of constant reinvention – from cone corsets, her sex book In Bed With Madonna and kissing Britney Spears, to becoming a children’s author and raising awareness about the devastating effects of HIV in Malawi.
And to date, she has sold a staggering 120 million albums and 40 million singles, putting her in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Ahead of the Queen of Pop’s massive opening concert, Katie Bodinger spoke to four women – from ultimate fan to image consultant – to find out what they think of the original Material Girl.
click here to check out what they had to say about her.
‘I think my tastes have changed in a similar fashion to hers’
LUBA SRIVASTAVA turned 50 yesterday, the same day as Madonna.
The mum of two, from Pentwyn, Cardiff, who runs health clinic Nucleus Healthcare with husband Manny, said she still can’t help dancing along to her songs.
“I have really grown up with Madonna. I have always admired her. I think she is an extremely strong character. As we are the same age, I think my tastes have changed in a similar fashion to hers. I have enjoyed listening to everything she has done.
“Like a Virgin was the first song I was hooked on. I remember going out in my 20s and me and my friends dancing around our handbags to it. It was played everywhere.
“She has always been controversial. She never played the safe option. When she brought out that sex book I wasn’t sure about that. But she has always pushed herself to the very limits of everything she has done.
“I have got three children, two of them teenage girls. They have a different view of her to me. They think she’s too old to do what she’s doing. I think they find it quite embarrassing when I get up and dance around the kitchen to her.
“The only thing I don’t approve of in her is her weight. I’ve read that she doesn’t eat more than 1,000 calories a day. I don’t think that’s a very healthy way to live. The pressure on her to stay thin must be enormous. There are a lot of younger children out there who look at that example.
“But to still be there at the top of the charts at 50 is some achievement. I do think it’s something for other women of her age to aspire to. It shows we can still be out there making our marks. It’s not the end of the road when you turn 50.
“It will be a new start for her.”
‘She can’t accept growing older, she doesn’t seem to be relaxed’
PERSONAL trainer Anne Jaques thinks Madonna is in great shape for her age. But the 50-year-old, from Monmouth, wonders whether the star is trying too hard to keep the perfect shape.
“Madonna’s figure has a bit too much muscle and sinew, which doesn’t necessarily look good on women that age. I saw her in concert in 1985 on her Blonde Bombshell tour and I thought she looked great then.
“I think people have become a bit cynical as to how she’s achieved that figure. I read that she works out for four hours a day – isn’t that a bit fanatical? Plus, she has the staff and the people to help her achieve that.
“I think she must be quite obsessive about it, which is not necessarily a good thing. I suspect that it may be to do with the fact that she can’t accept growing older. She doesn’t seem to be relaxed about the whole thing.
“In terms of her style, I do think it’s amazing the way she has constantly reinvented herself. But I’m not sure that she is well physically. I think she needs a bit more flesh on her. It might be a sign of her insecurities that she works so hard to look good.
“I am just a few months older than her. People say I look younger than I am. But a lot of the people that I help train don’t want a figure like Madonna’s. They don’t think her look is attractive. She looked great throughout her 30s and 40s; it’s only in recent years that she’s begun to look old.
“As someone who has recently turned 50, I can say I feel a lot more relaxed and confident about things now, which is how Madonna should try and feel. It seems like such an old age to be. I’m sure turning 50 won’t hold Madonna back from whatever she wants to do.”
‘I wear fingerless gloves just like she did. She’ll never be too old’
HAIRDRESSER Jasmin Mann will help to style Madonna’s dancers ahead of next Saturday’s big gig at the Millennium Stadium.
Working alongside Madonna’s American styling team, Jasmin, 29, owner of the Vanilla Rooms salon in Cardiff, said it was her dream job to help create the look her idol wanted.
“I’m a massive Madonna fan. I grew up listening to her songs. My first ever album was the Immaculate Collection; it was scratched to pieces I listened to it so much. I grew up in the late ’80s and early ’90s when she was ruling the world with her music and style.
“She is definitely my style icon. I love the way she reinvents herself. She is always on the edge of fashion and emerging trends. She is exceptional: to be always on the curve rather than following others, that’s amazing.
“I love her personal style. She really puts her stamp on everything she does. She directs the style team rather than the other way around. It’s amazing to think that I will be helping to create the vision she has decided for her dancers and I will be carrying out her instructions.
“My favourite song ever is Vogue and Express Yourself. The music videos were so powerful.
“She always has strong fashion links to people like Vivienne Westwood. She links music and fashion so well. Nowadays, lots of stars have strong ties in fashion but she was the first one.
“She was definitely my fashion inspiration growing up. It’s great how ’80s fashion has come back around and now we are all wearing the clothes that Madonna perfected all those years ago. I wear fingerless gloves and tutus and vintage T-shirts, just like she did. I don’t think she will ever be too old.”
‘She’s not doing herself any favours with some of her clothes’
BROADCASTER and image consultant Gail Foley, from Llanmaes, Vale of Glamorgan, believes Madonna should grow older a little more gracefully and wonders how happy the Queen of Pop actually is.
The 52-year-old said: “Madonna has relied on her youthful image to be a success. She is an extreme example of some of the women I see who are obsessed with the way they look. I don’t think she’s doing herself any favours with some of the clothes she wears. When you get to 50, you do need to be a little more well covered.
“She is the mistress of reinvention. It will be interesting to see how her image develops now she has reached her birthday milestone. I can’t see her packing in her career. She’ll be carrying on much like Mick Jagger is.
“Being in your 50s is the new 30s. Older stars are making successes of their careers: Tina Turner is still touring at 70; Actress Helen Mirren looks fabulous. They are examples of people ageing a bit more gracefully.
“There are rumours that Madonna has had botox to keep herself looking young. But no treatment can hide all the tell-tale signs of ageing such as your hands and feet.
“What’s more, I don’t think it looks as if Madonna is enjoying herself any more. I think she’s quite a mixed-up girl. Whenever she is pictured, she looks miserable.
“And whatever people say about her amazing style, she still has the ability to make serious fashion mistakes. There is never a good time to wear bloomers coming out of the gym, as she has been pictured doing so recently. Nevertheless she is still an incredible entertainer.”