Why Did Lady Gaga Go To VMAs As Jo Calderone?

Creative director Laurieann Gibson takes MTV News behind Gaga's 'performance art.'

When Lady Gaga showed up at the 2011 Video Music Awards, she wasn’t Lady Gaga anymore; she was Jo Calderone.

Gaga’s creative director, Laurieann Gibson, spoke to MTV News days before the show went live, and she explained why Gaga wanted to stay in character all night long.

“The idea of her being a performance artist — and it’s starting the performance on the red carpet and the idea that the performance never ends for her — is the first time I’ve experienced this with an artist,” she said. “I love it. That’s something that is specific to her, and the whole night was the performance, and it was important that Jo was a part of the whole night.”

Gaga — or, rather, Calderone — opened the show with a lengthy monologue before launching into Gaga’s “Yoü and I.” Jo then hung out with Kanye West in the audience, paid tribute to Britney Spears and even shared a kiss with the pop star. Not once did Gaga break character. In Gibson’s eyes, this type of performance is groundbreaking.

“I hope that the Monsters and the music industry [connect to] the idea that as long as you execute to the highest level of your ability, that you make a statement, that you push your creative ability to the max, and it doesn’t mean one thing or another,” she said.

“It could mean standing under one spotlight, it could mean tons of camels and belly-dancing girls. I don’t know one is not necessarily better than the other,” she continued. “But it is about who’s the artist; it belongs to the artist, so in that one moment you have to take it and give all you can. And so I hope people take the fearlessness away [and] the creative notion that we constantly push boundaries, that we’re not followers.”

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