On October 1 1983, Madonna appeared on her first magazine cover for Island magazine, shot by Curtis Knapp. The black & white cover image stands out from the many other Madonna photographs of the era due to its minimalist feel, focusing solely on Madonna’s facial features.
The magazine also featured an exclusive Q&A with Madonna:
Interviewer: Let’s go deep into your personal life.
Madonna: No way.
Interviewer: Come on. What do you like? Start with fashion. You’re a girl. You always wear all these great clothes on stage.
Madonna: No I don’t.
Interviewer: Everybody has the Madonna look now.
Madonna: I know. Crotchless jeans, (laughter). Most of the clothes I wear look the way they do because they’re so worn out.
Interviewer: Where’s that stage style from?
Madonna: It’s pseudo-Puerto Rican punk rock freak out. A Motorcycle baby. It’s a combination of my two oldest fantasies. One was to be Nancy Sinatra; the other was to be a nun.
Interviewer: Do you ever do that song “These Boots are Made for Walkin’”?
Madonna: I used to do it in front of the mirror in my uniform skirt.
Interviewer: You went to Catholic school?
Madonna: Uh-huh. The Sacred Heart Academy.
Interviewer: What do you want to achieve now?
Interviewer: Make lots of records, or make lots of money?
Madonna: I want to make a lot of love. (whistle in the background) I don’t think about money. It just gets there. Up until a year ago I was still broke and living on the street. But I still feel the same way. Money will never be a problem for me. If you worry about it, it’s a problem.
Interviewer: Did you draw when you were a kid?
Madonna: Phallic symbols. You know Catholics. I used to draw people naked all the time in my art class and my nun teachers used to tell me I had to put clothes on them. So I just drew lines around their bodies. See-through clothes.
Interviewer: Had you ever seen a naked body at that time?
Madonna: No. I never saw naked bodies. I never saw my parents naked. Gosh, when I was seventeen I hadn’t seen a penis.
Interviewer: So were you shocked when you saw the first one?
Madonna: Yeah. I thought it was really gross (laughter). And I’m not saying anymore.
Interviewer: Did you ever fall in love?
Madonna: I’m always falling in love. But I get in trouble because I think it’s love then I realize it’s not, but the other person is in love and then I have this problem til I think it’s love again and have the courage to get out of the last one.
Interviewer: Your songs are very fantasy. Maybe they help people think they’re in love when they’re not. Is that okay?
Madonna: Yeah. Fantasies are essential. Without fantasies I would have died of starvation.
Interviewer: In New York it’s difficult to be polite sometimes. Do you think being polite is a virtue? Or is it something you don’t have to think about?
Madonna: I think it’s a virtue. I’m sincere to people who are sincere.
Interviewer: What about people like the president of Warner Brothers Records?
Madonna: I’m just charming.
Interviewer: That makes sense. Your new manager is also Michael Jackson’s manager. And you’re planning you first tour with a band?
Madonna: Yeah I’m madly in love with my manager. And you can print that. I’m rehearsing now with singers and dancers, and I’ll have two guitarists, and two synthesizers, the drums and bass will be pre-recorded. We’re doing an American tour, and European track dates. Not til the beginning of the year.
Interviewer: You were talking before about reincarnation. What were your past lives like?
Madonna: I don’t really…I only have images and feelings, no specific chronological events or anything like that. I do feel really transient in a way. I feel like when I meet people I can absorb their character and be them. And I find that no matter what I’m doing I’m always doing the same thing. Basically. What ever it looks like on the outside. And it just makes me feel..I don’t know…I can’t really describe it verbally because no one’s ever asked me this before, no one really cares. Haha! People just want to hear me sing.
Interviewer: How come you do soul music…soul pop?
Madonna: Because I have soul. Because you can dance to it. Cause you can, you know. I grew up in an all black neighborhood and I wanted to be a black girl. I really did. There was something about me that was so much freer than the white kids I knew and they didn’t go to the Catholic schools I went to. They went to other schools and they wore short dresses and they didn’t have to take baths all the time and their knees were always dirty…I liked the fact that they could braid their hair and it would be sticking up…that’s not why I’m braiding my hair right now…First of all, all the black girls in my neighborhood had these dances in their yard where they had these little turntables with 45 records and they’d play all this Motown stuff and they would dance, just dance, all of them dancing together and none of the white kids I knew would ever do that. They were really boring and stiff. And I wanted to be part of the dancing. I didn’t like my friends. I had to be beaten up so many times by these little black girls before they would accept me and finally one day they whipped me with a rubber hose till I was like, lying on the ground crying. And then they just stopped doing it all of a sudden and let me be their friend, part of their group.