Before the days of outrageous hairdos and avant-garde ensembles, Grammy-nominated Lady Gaga — aka Stefani Germanotta — was just an Italian Catholic schoolgirl from New York. “I was a bit insecure in high school,” the 23-year-old star reveals. “I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down. I didn’t fit in, and I felt like a freak.” But once she started college at New York University, she says she began showing her true colors. “I really let the real me out,” the pop sensation reveals. And clearly the “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” performer hasn’t suppressed herself since. “I’m an outspoken and extreme dresser,” she admits. “I am inspired by photography and art, but mostly by New York.” She defends her quirkiness and explains she does it all for her fans, who can relate to feeling like an outsider. “This is really who I am, and it took a long time to be okay with that,” she says.

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