Madonna is a rebel at heart.
The Queen of pop, who was recently named Billboard's 2016 Woman of the Year, has more success to her name than most people could ever dream of. It's largely due to her free spirit guiding the material girl through the twists and turns of fame and fortune, but it hasn't been easy.
"I know a lot of people would go, 'Oh, that's ridiculous for you to say that. You're a successful, white, wealthy pop star,' but I've had the s--t kicked out of me for my entire career, and a large part of that is because I'm female and also because I refuse to live a conventional life," she says in the new issue of Harper's Bazaar.
She adds: "I've created a very unconventional family." Madonna has four kids — Lourdes, 20, Rocco, 16, David, 11, and Mercy, 10. "I have lovers who are three decades younger than me. This makes people very uncomfortable. I feel like everything I do makes people feel really uncomfortable."
Madonna says inspiring people keeps her going. "Wanting to touch people's hearts to get them to look at life in a different way. To be a part of evolution, because, for me, it's either you're part of creation or you're part of destruction. It's inexplicable; it's like breathing, and I can't imagine not doing it. That is one of the arguments I would get into with my ex-husband, who used to say to me, "But why do you have to do this again? Why do you have to make another record? Why do you have to go on tour? Why do you have to make a movie?" And I'm like, "Why do I have to explain myself?" I feel like that's a very sexist thing to say."
"Does somebody ask Steven Spielberg why he's still making movies? Hasn't he had enough success? Hasn't he made enough money? Hasn't he made a name for himself? Did somebody go to Pablo Picasso and say, "Okay, you're 80 years old. Haven't you painted enough paintings?" No. I'm so tired of that question. I just don't understand it. I'll stop doing everything that I do when I don't want to do it anymore. I'll stop when I run out of ideas. I'll stop when you fucking kill me. How about that?"
Madonna, who was an avid Hillary Clinton supporter, reflected on Donald Trump winning the election.
"I'm political. I believe in freedom of expression. I don't believe in censorship," she said. "I believe in equal rights for all people. And I believe women should own their sexuality and sexual expression. I don't believe there is a certain age where you can't say and feel who you want to be. All you have to do is look back at my career — from my Sex book to the songs I've written, kissing a black saint in my 'Like a Prayer' video, the themes I explored on my Erotica album. As I get older and I get better at writing and expressing myself, then you get into my American Life era, and I start talking about politics and government and how f--ked our country's politics are, and the illusion of fame and Hollywood and the beautiful people."
She recalls praying for it to not be real. "It was just like watching a horror show," she recalled. "I went to sleep, and since that night, I wake up every morning and it's like when you break up with somebody who has really broken your heart. ... That's how I feel every morning. I wake up and I go, 'Wait a second. Donald Trump is the president. It's not a bad dream. It really happened.'"
Madonna hopes more of Hollywood will become outspoken on the matter: "What I find really astonishing is how quiet everybody is in my industry," she revealed. "I mean, nobody in the entertainment business except for maybe a handful of people ever speak out about what's going on. Nobody takes a political stance or expresses an opinion."