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The pop singer kicked off the show dressed in drag as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone. She performed in character and kept up the act throughout the whole telecast, including while presenting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award to Britney Spears, while accepting her award for best female video for “Born This Way” and while talking to reporters backstage in the pressroom.
And in an apparent attempt to make the whole thing more believable, she also wore a prosthetic penis under her suit, according to Us Weekly.
But at least one brand and image consultant thinks Gaga took the gender-bending act too far.
“What Lady Gaga did left people confused as to who she is,” Amanda Guralski told E! Online. “She has developed a brand of outlandish clothing and outspokenness, being comfortable born the way you are, but the VMAs was a brand destroyer.”
For Gaga, known for her outrageous costumes, the outfit was perhaps a disappointment to fans expecting her to top the meat dress she wore to last year’s VMAs and the egg she “hatched” out of at February’s Grammys.
But Guralski said Gaga may have actually hurt her image with the Jo Calderone act.
“The night was embarrassing for Lady Gaga,” she said. “If I were her image and branding ?consultant, I would definitely have my work cut out for me. It only takes one appearance to make people question everything.”
In addition to best female video, Gaga’s “Born This Way” also was named best video with a message.
In her acceptance speech, she referred to herself in the third person: “I’m so happy to accept the award tonight because Gaga’s not here. … I know if she was here tonight she’d want me to thank her little monsters.”
Jo Calderone, supposedly a mechanic from Sicily, first appeared on the September 2010 cover of Japanese Men’s Vogue.
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