Lady Gaga was not prepared to see a picture-perfect version of herself on the cover of Glamour Magazine.
“I was never really treated as, or felt, conventionally beautiful, especially in the beginning of my career,” she said during her acceptance speech at last night’s Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall. “So to be put on the cover of Glamour, looking so conventionally beautiful, it’s sort of shocking.”
For Mother Monster—clad in a Thom Browne skirt suit and towering, pearl platforms—that pared-down December feature was enough to insist that high-ranking glossies start fostering cultural change.
“If I could forfeit my Glamour cover I would give it to Malala,” she said of fellow honoree Malala Yousafzai, whose advocacy of education and women’s rights, even after an assassination attempt by the Taliban, has made her an international icon. Gaga added that women like Yousafzai—not just celebrities and models—are most worthy of covetable covers, and that the magazine industry’s reliance on Photoshop sends the wrong message to consumers. Though she commended Glamour and comparable magazines for expanding their editorial reach, she beckoned “What I want to see is the change on your covers.”
“In order to help young people to understand that they don’t have to put so much pressure on themselves to look so perfect all the time, they should know that a whole lot of money and time went into that shoot,” she said. “I don’t look like that when I wake up in the morning.”
Gaga, who also used her platform to denounce bullying, joined Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, Catherine Martin, Kerry Washington, Liya Kebede, Christy Turlington, Natalie Massenet, Carissa Moore, Barbra Streisand, Kaitlin Roig-Debellis, and Melinda Gates as Glamour‘s wondrous women of 2013. For more information on this group of diverse, esteemed powerhouses, visit Glamour.com.