Another Grammys, Another Surprising Look By Madonna

It was an older-looking Madonna for sure, but viewers of the Grammy telecast were saying she was “unrecognisable”

She looked to us more recognisable than any video or image she has put out on TikTok or Instagram. This is Madonna looking 64 (with some work done, of course), although she did not dress like the average sexagenarian. The still-singing songstress was on stage at the latest Grammys to introduce Sam Smith and Kim Petras for their hellish performance of Unholy (another song with brand name-dropping). “Are you ready for a little controversy,” Madonna asked, whipping up just a hint of excitement. By now, Madonna and controversy are one. We need not be ready. The controversy, however, was not about how she was dressed or how she behaved on stage. Or, what she said. Viewers thought she looked “unrecognisable”, a phantom of someone who was once a high priestess of style. Madonna has aged. We know that. She probably did too, but for a while she did not want to look her physical age, which, to us, is strange for a performer who had always strived to be her very own self. Woe betide those who tried to tell her to appear in a certain way.

Yet, it is hard not to notice that this was not a familiar Madonna. It is true that she looked odd, moulded, unnatural. Her face was swollen; her cheeks tumid, and her lips puffier than what we remember them to be. Even the jaw and chin seemed augmented, not soft, but strong and protruding (on each side of her face, a ring of braids Princess Leia would approve). Every part of her face was pronounced, articulated by skills not her own. We won’t speculate what Madonna did to her face, but she clearly did something. And appearing at the Grammys, she probably didn’t mind that what she did would be seen or that the world, not just the Grammy audience, saw her in the current form, a tweaked facial composition she probably really wanted and probably really liked, including the near-browlessness. If so, let her be, let her bathe in the spotlight. That Madonna had to do so much to her face might also reflect how society view women in their sixties or expects of them. She was merely trying to meet expectations even if it was hard to. Youth is still a premium.

At the time of last year’s Grammy presentation, Madonna, a seven-time winner who did not attend, put out an odd video on social media that had many wondering what she did to herself. She had braids too that time, but they hung down the sides of her face, which, too, was not immediately recognisable. It appeared changed even when she had brows then. But the different face was not what was perturbing. It was her odd behaviour: she rocked towards and away from the camera, and then smooched right before the lens. Speculation was rife as to what could have caused her to conduct herself that unsexy way. But no revelation emerged after that. Was it an attention-seeking exercise? We won’t know. This time, in Los Angeles two nights ago—togged in a Mugler Archive ensemble of black coat, white shirt, and long skirt—she behaved acceptably, as well as defiantly, saying rather calmly, “All you trouble makers out there, you need to know that your fearlessness does not go unnoticed…” Similarly, hers too.

Photo: Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s