Desperately Seeking A Role Model: Why Vintage Madonna Was An 80′s Teen’s Best friend

madonna-80s Whatever you think about our girl Madge now – you have to admit that she was a pretty good role model for girls in the 80s and 90s.  madonna lucky star I remember being completely transfixed by Madonna in the Holiday video clip as she pranced around with Christopher Ciccone and another girl probably at some fabulous New York underground club.  And I so desperately tried to emulate her fashion sense, her sassiness and her desire work so hard to get what she wanted (I did draw the line at her rhythm because I am a self confessed un-co).  madonna Without getting all Camille Paglia on you – whom I had not thought about in years and just had to google and it turns out that she loves the Real Housewives as well, leading me to think perhaps she is it still relevant  - I think there was a lot that Madonna did in my formative years that made her a better influence than many of the ones around today. 1.             She was kinda sorta chunky madonna5_28may09_pa_b_320x480 When we watched her rolling around on the floor in Burning Up, doing that dance move that I would love to replicate in Holiday and being all street and gorgeous in Borderline – she had a little tummy.  She was rounded.  There was no starving yourself to be as thin as Madonna.  When she did Papa Don’t Preach and was all muscles and sinew you knew it had been bloody hard work. tumblr_lyh7fbWN3I1qlycwjo1_5002.             She was not the prettiest thing ever madonna048zf-11 Madonna was kind of hairy, very Italian looking.  She has big gorgeous blue eyes and a lovely smile but she was not some unattainable beauty.  Teenage boys did not really lust after her, but the girls wanted to be her.  Her appeal was not about being the prettiest.  It was about her attitude which shone through. 3.             Her style was cheap and easy to copy. madonna2 Her early video clips were not overly styled or full of unattainable accessories.   I wanted the Like a Virgin outfit and all I needed were some lycra tights and a tube dress with holes it in.  Done. draft_lens2149950module11255779photo_1220144645madonna_80s 4.             Madonna shared her early pain 320x240 Obviously the story of being 17 in New York the $35, the taxi and being dropped in Times Square is folklore to all of us who know and love her.  (Ant0scar and Jameson)  Whilst it was probably exaggerated to some extent, there was no Svengali waiting for Madonna on the other side.  No mass reality show auditions.  She got there by tenacity, hard work, somewhat underrated talent and never giving up. 5.             She really is a feminist madonna-1 She played being female to her advantage.  She was alluring and sexy and flirtatious but she was also the one who was completely in control.  Even in her early video clips – like Material Girl, and Burning Up – in the end, she flips it around and takes control.  You can imagine her in early business meetings, taking control.   She was not afraid to be a bitch in order to get what she wanted.  “I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” 6.             The songs and videos are really good The 80s and 90s Madonna songs and videos were really good.  She wrote a lot of the songs and you just know she had a hand in the video concepts. She was no puppet.  They have stood the test of time.  I used to love watching them with my grandparents as the canals of Venice reminded them of home.  My Italian grandmother loved her. 7.             She made huge mistakes and was not a victim madonna_sean_penn-movil The nude photos, being tied up by Sean Penn, being sledged for her acting.  Madonna never went on TV to moan or on record being a victim.  She copped whatever she copped on the chin, got up and just kept going.  Shanghai Surprise disaster – whatever – she just kept going.  She got divorced – she just kept going.    She did not retreat to rehab or with exhaustion or disappear – she just pushed harder and harder.   She cops her family sledging her without feeling the need to get out there and defend herself. 8.             She broke new ground Truth or Dare – really was like the first stages of Reality movies, she let people in (apart from when she was talking business), and shared how hard she worked.  The Sex Book is now a really beautiful book of amazing photos, she took what was in the underground to the masses.   Nobody can sustain a 30 year career if there is not constant challenging and changing. 9.             She worked and worked... and worked ... and worked.  wpid-madonnanyrex_450x3005 It is quite weird to think that the person I idolized back then is still around all these years later.  (I clearly had good taste as my other 2 favourites were Prince and George Michael). photo-3 I am not sure if any of today’s poppets - Miley, T-Swizzle, Selena et al will be around, or even will want to be after so many years of over exposure. But it is clear that Madonna has worked to keep achieving.  Her dancing and her singing are not the best – and she admits it “I know I'm not the greatest singer or dancer, but that doesn't interest me, I'm interested in being provocative and pushing people's buttons”  But she has an innate intelligence and drive that has allowed to be standing all these years later. giphy (Postscript from Jen: If ever I really need my day started right, to this day I put on Vogue really loudly and have a dance around my sitting-room. Sometimes several times in a row. It makes life feel that much better and cheers and fires me up every.single.time - try it!)

About Jodie Rochetich

Jodie studied for a Health Science degree (naturopathy), finished her Masters of Business last year and works in marketing. She has two Westie dogs and hopes to marry Idris Elba or Jude Law. Jodie likes movies, books, all things pop culture and is obsessed with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
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8 Responses to Desperately Seeking A Role Model: Why Vintage Madonna Was An 80′s Teen’s Best friend

  1. Jen Paul says:

    Wild applause from me, Jodie. Thanks so much for this. I’d forgotten how MUCH I loved Madge back in the day. Like how forking brilliant was Desperately Seeking Susan? And I SO wanted that green jacket. I’m sure I’ve copied more than a few Madge dance moves. Well, tried and failed. We’re gonna get in trouble for saying she was chunky but I know exactly what you mean, she wasn’t a rail thin whippet back then, she looked like we all did. And she popped E and went out dancing all night and she didn’t always get the boy. But she worked hard and stuck by her guns. Yay for growing up with Madge. She’s lost her way a bit lately. She should watch Vogue, call William Orbit and go back to what she does best. <3

    • AlexP says:

      Madonna always looked healthy and she actually still does.
      I can’t think of a time when she didn’t. She showed you could have some muscle and still look feminine. Down to-Dancer’s discipline. Desire to Dance.
      She’s never looked like NicoleOVERTHINRitchieMadden.

  2. sarie says:

    She shopped in the East Village a lot, Trash and Vaudeville, Unique Clothing Warehouse and of course Canal Jean Company (Trash and Vaudeville is the only one still in business). Her early look was very downtown no money. The vintage pieces from the bins and the rubber bracelets, neon, the lace and lingerie pieces worn as ready-to-wear. …
    For me I wish she’d relax and realize she’s already done enough there is only one Madonna.
    When you think about it she really did a lot with no money and average looks…but I still think she was beautiful in the Like A Prayer video.

  3. Jameson says:

    I’ve said it before, I miss Madonna when she was still hungry for it all. And I love her focus.

    • Jodie says:

      She could so be cool again. She just needs to street it up again. I saw Carlos Leon in NYC. Man he was a fine looking dude.

  4. sassy says:

    who didn’t have rubber bracelets in the 80′s-90′s….girls looked up to Madonna cause she seemed to be what we were afraid to be – different …daring….sexual.

    LOVE her earliest works-still on my playlists

  5. Jodie says:

    she was just the best. So ballsy, so relatable, so cool.
    And she was by no means fat – but she was a little bit chunky and that made her more relatable. I miss the days of celebs being real.

  6. Blue Dog says:

    Oh thank God – my anti-Katy Perry tonic!

    Bless you Mads. Bless you Jodie!

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