Before Lady Gaga was dressing in meat and floating around in an egg costume, she was a brown-haired waitress in the West Village named Stefani Germanotta. Now, a never-before-seen photo shoot posted online offers a glimpse at an aspiring young woman on the cusp of becoming the global celebrity we know as Lady Gaga.
Her former coworker, bartender and Poland native Malgorzata Saniewska, was an an aspiring photographer when she met Gaga in 2005, according to CNN. The two young women weren’t close friends, but Saniewska remembers the 19-year-old Gaga saying that she studied music.
“At that time, she gave me a CD of her first single, and I listened to it and I was really impressed. And she’s a beautiful girl. Based on her looks and her personality I thought (a photo shoot) would be great fun,” Saniewska said. “I offered her the photo shoot, and she said yes right away.”
Gaga suggested they use her parent’s Upper East Side apartment for the backdrop of the photo shoot. They took the subway there and Saniewska posed Gaga on the piano she grew up playing.
“We had no plan,” she said. “We basically walked into her house, she did hair and makeup, picked out the clothes and we started. No strobe lights, nothing special, no tripods. It was hand-held.”
Saniewska had no idea she was photographing a woman who was soon to be an international superstar. As Gaga rose to fame, Saniewska kept the photos to herself out of respect. Then, in 2010, she bumped into Gaga in NYC’s East Village.
“She was already Lady Gaga, and we spoke a little, and she leaned on me, and she said in my ear, ‘Did you know that this was my first photo shoot?’ I had no idea,” Saniewska said. “She was really excited. From that moment on I figured I could do something about it. And she’s OK with it.”
Saniewska, now an established photographer who shoots fashion, has released the images. Gaga is almost unrecognizable in the photos when compared to her current looks, though she is truly stunning in her natural state. Which side of Gaga do you prefer?