Lady Gaga and How to Create A Persona

by Joe Bunting | 14 comments

There are two things that work, you can be overwhelmingly honest. Or you can create some kind of persona to write from.

It's the difference between Joni Mitchell (or Jewel or even someone like Colby Caillat) and Lady Gaga. Joni was being honest. Lady Gaga is a creation of  Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

Lady Gaga thewritepractice.comJoni Mitchell

Earlier this week, we talked about how vulnerability is the secret to getting over writer's block, not to mention the source of joy. However, the most successful artists have always joined vulnerability with disguise.

They create a persona.

A mask.

They stop thinking, how would Stefani act? They start thinking, how would Lady Gaga act?

Their personality itself becomes a work of art. Their whole person becomes a creation.

Writers have always done this, and the most famous examples in history are Lord Byron and Oscar Wilde. It makes sense that we would want to. We are already creating people and even whole worlds in our imagination.

Why not create ourselves?

It's not a healthy way to live, and I wouldn't recommend spending too much time “in” your persona (you have to take your mask off sometimes). However, today is Saturday, and on Saturdays at the Write Practice, we break rules.

Who is one of your favorite pop-culture figures who use a persona?

PRACTICE

Create your persona.

What does she wear? How does he act? Is she flamboyant? Or demure? Is he kind or slightly cruel? Or is she completely evil?

The most important characteristic of your persona is that they not care what other people think.

Describe your persona. Work on this for fifteen minutes. When you're finished, go ahead and post it in the comments.

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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14 Comments

    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks for the comment Seth. Yes, I remember your post–loved it. Dennis and I probably would fight about that one.

    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks for the comment Seth. Yes, I remember your post–loved it. Dennis and I probably would fight about that one.

  1. August McLaughlin

    Another insightful post! I’m with you on creating and stepping into personas and the importance of remaining authentic most of the time. I’m having trouble thinking of a celeb persona I dig…perhaps that’s because they’re so darn good at it! 😉

    Reply
    • August McLaughlin

      Okay… I just thought of one: Santa.

    • Joe Bunting

      Santa or Santana. Both are personas, although one doesn’t actually exist. You knew that right 😉

    • Joe Bunting

      Right, if the persona is good enough, you shouldn’t ever know it’s a persona. Some work harder at it than others, though: Jennifer Lopez becomes J Lo, Puff Daddy becomes P Diddy, Beyonce (already a persona) becomes Sasha McFearce, Marshall Mathers becomes Slim Shady and Eminem. Michael Bouble doesn’t need to change his name because he doesn’t feel the need to work at his persona as much.

  2. August McLaughlin

    Another insightful post! I’m with you on creating and stepping into personas and the importance of remaining authentic most of the time. I’m having trouble thinking of a celeb persona I dig…perhaps that’s because they’re so darn good at it! 😉

    Reply
    • August McLaughlin

      Okay… I just thought of one: Santa.

    • Joe Bunting

      Santa or Santana. Both are personas, although one doesn’t actually exist. You knew that right 😉

    • Joe Bunting

      Right, if the persona is good enough, you shouldn’t ever know it’s a persona. Some work harder at it than others, though: Jennifer Lopez becomes J Lo, Puff Daddy becomes P Diddy, Beyonce (already a persona) becomes Sasha McFearce, Marshall Mathers becomes Slim Shady and Eminem. Michael Bouble doesn’t need to change his name because he doesn’t feel the need to work at his persona as much.

  3. Lele Lele

    He’s at it again at the bench. Smiling, grinning to himself. Pointing to the clouds.

    “Look a cloud shaped cloud,” he said. He laughed again.

    A crinkle appeared on her forehead. She shook her head. Rushing her steps she approached.

    He was still looking at the clouds. He stopped smiling. His brows furrowed his mouth forming silent words.

    Her fingers slowly reached but pulled away. She took a deep breath. She tapped his back.

    “Hey dear,” she said. She was sneering.

    “You?” he said. A frowned appeared on his lips.

    “Yeah, me,” she said. She circled her fingers around her face. “Good ole’ beautiful me.”

    “Hardly.” He looked away. A rosy tinge appeared on his cheeks. She chuckled.

    She walked around the bench.

    “Scoot.”

    She felt him roll his eyes. The he moved a little farther right.

    “Dear, dear,” she said. “I know you want feel the soft comforts of my body, but please, give a woman her space.”

    He huffed. He moved farther right.

    She sat. A big empty space separated them.

    She laughed. “You’re too far.”

    He turned around glaring. “Y-you you woman,” he pointed a finger at her face. “Why are you? What are you?”

    She covered her mouth while continuing to laugh. “This will never stop being funny.”

    He wagged his finger at her. “You, you, – eh?”

    She fluttered her brows at him.

    He pouted. “You know, you never payed for my groceries.”

    She rolled her eyes. “Oh come on. Remember my bike you broke?”

    “That was an accident!” he said. “It was me or the bike. I had to choose.”

    “Or how about the time you my door potted orchid?”

    He sneered at her. “It’s your fault for putting your dumb orchids on dumb pots.”

    She took her phone. “Hello police, I’d like to report breaking and entering.”

    She eyed him by her side. He was looking at the clouds.

    “You’re not gonna stop me?”

    He turned to her and sighed. “You’d never call the police on me.”

    Her fingers paused at the screen. “And how’d you know that?”

    “You never ever did,” he said. He looked up the clouds again. “That’s for the food though.”

    She grinned. “Aren’t I great? I’m the prettiest and most delicious cook in town.”

    He chuckled. “Yeah sure.”

    She followed him in looking up. Her eyes darted back and forth between mindless shapes of fluffy floating cotton balls.

    “What do you see?” she said. “When you look at the sky?”

    “Nothing,” he said.

    “Nothing?” she said. “Why nothing?”

    “Nah,” he said shaking his head. “It’s uh, I just wanna clear my mind. The shapes the forms, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes they’re pretty, sometimes eh, sometimes on rare occasions, they’re really really beautiful.”

    She grinned. “Do you see me in those clouds?”

    “Yeah.” His brows raised. “Wait, no-”

    She wagged a finger at him. “No takebacks.”

    Reply
  4. Will

    He walks with his head held high against the world. Clutching his bag against his stomach, as if jealously guarding what is his from prying eyes. If he crosses people on the street, he pays them as little attention as they deserve. When he stops at the traffic lights, he stares at his wristwatch or cell phone – the ultimate excuse out of eye contact.

    Should he find himself trapped – say, on a bus – with one of those uncomfortable people who insist on chatting with strangers, he listens, nods, murmurs something of assent. There is no real, objectionable flaw in his behaviour; those who speak to him cannot notice how he stares at the bridge of their nose to avoid eye contact, or keeps his hands firmly on his lap to safeguard against unwanted touches.

    He finds himself making friends, accidentally, out of the blue. He is not ugly; rounded girlish features and heavy-browed, languid eyes which stare at nobody do not make him repellent. Acquaintances come up to him, and ask, “We’re friends, right?”. What can he do but hesitate? These events are as unexpected as a crashing meteorite. And just as unwelcome. “I don’t think so,” he murmurs in response. People think it’s a joke, and laugh. He never minds, as long as they leave him to his peace.

    Should he ever have to sit down for a cup of tea in a public place – say, a café – he takes his pleasure alone, without milk or sugar. His tongue has a bitter taste from the tea, and should an unwelcome acquaintance disturb him, it becomes as sharp as a double-edged sword. He never raises his voice. Yet people leave his presence in a flustered state.

    At night, he lies in a bed as cold as ice. It does not take long for him to fall asleep.

    Reply

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