This week, Lady Gaga released the third video in her Haus of Ü series of “art films,” which is a 5-part video series set to her latest single, Yoü and I. Each of the videos will feature a different one of Gaga’s alter egos. Tuesday’s installment featured mermaid Gaga, also known as Yüyi:
(As an aside, I think this one is my favorite out of the three that have been released. Yüyi seems like a badass bitch.)
Obviously, Lady Gaga is not the only artist to have utilized the alter ego. Eminem has Slim Shady. Beyonce had Sasha Fierce, until she killed her off two years later, anyway. And Nicki Minaj is just swimming in alter egos (although none of her alter egos has yet to develop a fish tail. I guess that’s typical Lady Gaga though. Just outdoing everyone in the Weird department) including Roman Zolanski, who has been described as a very naughty boy, and Roman’s mother, Martha, who can be seen as Nicki’s fairy godmother in the Moment 4 Life video:
(Another aside: why don’t I have a fairy godmother to gift me with sparkly heels?!)
So why do artists have this passion for creating alternate identities? I think the reason might be two-fold.
First, it allows artists to commit to one dimension, if they feel like it. What’s more, the dimension they commit to doesn’t have to make sense. If Nicki Minaj wants to go around talking in a British accent for no apparent reason, that’s okay, because that’s just Martha. Her audiences accept it. If Lady Gaga wants to play mermaid, that’s great. The Little Monsters will eat it up.
At the same time, though it seems contradictory, alter egos also allow artists to be multi-dimensional. They get to express whatever part of them they want to. Once Nicki tires of Martha, she can switch to Roman and express her wilder side (Roman is famously featured on Trey Songz’s track, “Bottoms Up.”) Or, if she’s feeling bubbly, she can switch to Barbie and get dolled up. But all of these personas still belong to the broad category of Nicki Minaj.
The same goes for Lady Gaga. She might be releasing five videos under five different alter egos, but because they are all technically different facets of Lady Gaga, it’s almost as if she’s putting her versatility on display.
What do you think of alter egos? Are they great, or are they stupid?
Clearly, my vote is great. Although that might be because I have a strange fascination with Lady Gaga’s male alter ego, Jo Calderone.
Can’t wait for that video to come out.