There are fans. There are stans. And then there are Little Monsters, the name given to superfans of Lady Gaga.
Monsters are people whose lives have been fundamentally changed by Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Their worlds orbit around Gaga, a sun in makeup glitter who teaches her fans to embrace what makes them different, live fearlessly regardless of gender, race, or identity, and always keep their paws up.
To celebrate her uniquely dedicated fans, Haus Laboratories selected six out of nearly 6,000 people who commented on an Instagram post asking the most diehard Monsters to show themselves. Submissions touched on how Gaga helped them feel brave enough to transition, explore their own sexual identity, and for one of the winners, Kareem Rogers, not conform to societal norms based on race or gender. From there the chosen few were flown to L.A. to shoot the new campaign for Haus Laboratories.
“Growing up I was constantly torn apart online and in real life, and I wanted to live my truth as a proud black trans woman,” says Miah Crans, an aspiring musician and actress. In high school, Crans went viral on Twitter after transphobic high school students voted her Prom King. This is the type of adversity, Crans says, that Gaga helped her overcome. “My profile tells me that I have a life expectancy of 30 years, so Lady Gaga’s music has really inspired me to just live unapologetically and be who I am fearlessly.”
The other Monsters have had their lives reshaped by Gaga in similar ways. The fans speak of their idol the way most people speak about religion—as a light leading them through times of trouble. “She came into my life during a very impressionable and confusing time,” adds Catie Gudino, a 22-year old student who has been a Monster since she was 10. “She taught me literally everything about discovering my gender and sexual identity.” Gudino grew up in a very strict household where makeup wasn’t allowed and she struggled with feeling beautiful.
“I really felt like she was just the one that understood me and spoke to me,” says influencer Brendan Jordan. “She helped me pull out that queen energy that was always hidden within me all along due to obviously societal standards and what the world was telling people like me at the time.” Jordan first came into the spotlight for a viral dancing moment back in 2014, where he danced in the background of a live news broadcast.
Gaga’s mission behind the competition and campaign was to give a microphone to stories like Jordan’s, Gudino’s, and Crans’. “No matter what I do in my career, in the heart of it will always be my fans and their stories,” explains Gaga. “In many ways this line is because of them and what they have shown me of the world.”
Together, the Monsters' stories are meant to represent Gaga’s talent for seeing beauty in all. Guindo says she wouldn’t have been in college if it wasn’t for Gaga, while Rogers hopes this campaign will help other black men like him who are into beauty but don’t feel seen in the space. Unlike most celebrity beauty products, Lady Gaga’s isn’t just meant to toss a bone to the fans who want to look or smell like her; it’s for the fans who feel emboldened to be themselves because of their favorite artist.
Click the gallery below to meet all six Monsters and guests in the latest campaign and see what they have to say about representation in beauty through Haus Laboratories.
The Haus Guests
Take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the campaign:
Chloe Hall Beauty Director Chloe Hall oversees all beauty coverage at ELLE.com.