Lady Gaga Unearths Her Past: 'Do You Know How Much Dirt I Ate?'

The "Applause" singer opens up to Elle magazine about handling the pressure of fame and her upcoming album ARTPOP

Lady Gaga is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, admired for her fashion risks and beloved by millions, but getting to the top wasn't easy.

Mother Monster graces the cover of Elle magazine's October issue, and in it, she silences the doubters who question the hardships she has had overcome to be a successful artist.

"Everyone is so cynical — that I can't purely love my fans, or share an honest story about my past, without someone asking me if I really, truly struggled," Gaga said. "Do you know how much dirt I ate? Do you know the men I had to crawl through, the people that disrespected my body, my mind, my heart?"

Yet, it seems as a result from those struggles her public persona emerged transforming her from Stefani Germanotta to Lady Gaga.

"I am — Stefani is — a perpetually tortured artist. That's why I changed my name," she said. "I can't be her in public. She would be a mess!"

One would think juggling these two images plus being a pop icon would be taxing, but according to Gaga, she doesn't let the pressure faze her. "What are you talking about, pressure? I'm great under pressure. I'm a warrior. I'm Rocky, round 12," she said.

The "Applause" singer is now gearing up to release her fourth album, ARTPOP, on November 11, following a break from the spotlight that had her recovering from hip surgery, using that time to "go back to the core."

"I went to look back to myself being 19, with all my Warhol books and all my Yoko Ono and John Lennon CDs, my Rolling Stones CDs and my Bowie..., and I said, what would she want me to do right now?" Gaga said. "Well she'd want you to call Jeff Koons and Robert Wilson and Marina Abramović and Inez and Vinoodh... And that's what I did!"