Some call her unoriginal, some call her crazy, but the one thing most everyone can agree upon is that Lady Gaga is powerful. So who better to grace the cover of Vogue‘s annual Power Issue than the pop star herself? Forsaking her m.o. of incomprehensible dresses and painful-looking headgear, Gaga is photographed in a breezy white gown and subdued pink wig that looks more colorfully roaring ’20s than her usual avant-garde fare. But it’s actually refreshing to see Gaga’s real — albeit heavily makeuped — face not hidden behind couture architecture.

In the article, Gaga talks about her highly anticipated single, which hits radio stations this Friday, David Bowie and rocking out to Beethoven as a child.

On her upcoming single “Born This Way”: “I wrote it in ten f—ing minutes, and it is a completely magical message song. And after I wrote it, the gates just opened, and the songs kept coming. It was like an immaculate conception.”

On her “little monsters” a.k.a ardent fans: “I see myself in them. I was this really bad, rebellious misfit of a person—I still am—sneaking out, going to clubs, drugs, alcohol, older men, younger men. You imagine it, I did it. I was just a bad kid. And I look at them, and every show there’s a little more eyeliner, a little more freedom, and a little more ‘I don’t give a fuck about the bullies at my school.’ For some reason, the fans didn’t become more Top 40. They become even more of this cult following. It’s very strange and exciting.”

On her inspirations: “It’s not a secret that I have been inspired by tons of people. David Bowie and Prince being the most paramount in terms of live performance. I could go on and on about all of the people I have been compared to—from Madonna to Grace Jones to Debbie Harry to Elton John to Marilyn Manson to Yoko Ono—but at a certain point you have to realize that what they are saying is that I am cut from the cloth of performer, that I am like all of those people in spirit.”

On her early experience with music: “I was a strange, loud little kid who could sit at the piano and kill a Beethoven piece. Speaking purely from a musical standpoint, I think I am a great performer. I am a talented entertainer. I consider myself to have one of the greatest voices in the industry. I consider myself to be one of the greatest songwriters. I wouldn’t say that I am one of the greatest dancers, but I am really quite good at what I do. I think it’s OK to be confident in yourself.”

What do you think about the cover photo and article? Do you think Lady G deserves to be the face of Vogue‘s most powerful?

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Photo: Mario Testino/VOGUE