Madonna in Harper's Bazaar November 2013: I Was Raped at Knifepoint
During her revealing Q&A session with the publication, the "Material Girl" singer shared her horrible experience during her first year in New York City and her Kabbalah studies.
Check out a few highlights from Madonna's interview below. For more, be sure to visit Harper's Bazaar!
On her childhood:
"That may sound rather extremist, but growing up in a suburb in the Midwest was all I needed to understand that the world was divided into two categories: people who followed the status quo and played it safe, and people who threw convention out the window and danced to the beat of a different drum. I hurled myself into the second category, and soon discovered that being a rebel and not conforming doesn't make you very popular. In fact, it does the opposite. You are viewed as a suspicious character. A troublemaker. Someone dangerous."
On her first experiences in NYC:
"New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time. The tall buildings and the massive scale of New York took my breath away. The sizzling-hot sidewalks and the noise of the traffic and the electricity of the people rushing by me on the streets was a shock to my neurotransmitters. I felt like I had plugged into another universe. I felt like a warrior plunging my way through the crowds to survive. Blood pumping through my veins, I was poised for survival. I felt alive.
On her studies in Kabbalah:
"When the world discovered I was studying Kabbalah, I was accused of joining a cult. I was accused of being brainwashed. Of giving away all my money. I was accused of all sorts of crazy things. If I became a Buddhist—put an altar in my house and started chanting "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo"—no one would have bothered me at all. I mean no disrespect to Buddhists, but Kabbalah really freaked people out. It still does. Now, you would think that studying the mystical interpretation of the Old Testament and trying to understand the secrets of the universe was a harmless thing to do. I wasn't hurting anybody. Just going to class, taking notes in my spiral notebook, contemplating my future. I was actually trying to become a better person."
On her life as of now:
"I have been blessed with four amazing children. I try to teach them to think outside the box. To be daring. To choose to do things because they are the right thing to do, not because everybody else is doing them. I have started making films, which is probably the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done. I am building schools for girls in Islamic countries and studying the Qur'an. I think it is important to study all the holy books. As my friend Yaman always tells me, a good Muslim is a good Jew, and a good Jew is a good Christian, and so forth. I couldn't agree more. To some people this is a very daring thought."
Photo Credit: Terry Richardson for Harper's Bazaar UK