Lots of people—including, most recently, her ex-boyfriend via a lawsuit—take credit for making Lady Gaga who she is today, including Lady Gaga. In New York, Vanessa Grigoriadis recalls her first meeting with the soon-to-be-huge musician one year ago, where she found herself surprised that Gaga refused to be called by her given name, spoke in a strange accent, and said things like, “I cannot bear the cameras.” At that time, she was already a hit abroad; she's gone on to become America’s biggest pop star.
Old friends and former colleagues paint a picture of Gaga before she was Gaga: None of them remember her being bisexual; no one ever saw her do cocaine. After finally getting a break in 2006, Gaga still had to learn how to be a pop star (before going pantsless, she used to be a big fan of sweats). She went through many incarnations before hitting on one that stuck, and a lot of people helped her along. Says one producer, who easily convinced her to dye her hair blonde: “God bless that girl, she really does listen.”