Lourdes: The new material girl
With a fashion label already under her belt, it seems there's no limit to the talents of Madonna's 15-year-old daughter Lourdes. Deirdre Reynolds reports
With her strikingly familiar face, daring dress sense and celebrity pals, it's not hard to figure out who this Material Girl's mum is. But as she celebrates her 15th birthday today, Lourdes Leon seems to have inherited more than just Madonna's looks.
With her own fashion range, blog and army of fans, celebri-teen Lourdes -- known as Lola -- has already displayed the same (not-so) blonde ambition that turned her mother into the greatest female artist of all time. And at an age when most girls are convinced they'll never turn into their mum, Madonna's Mini-Me revealed she's more than happy to be 'like mother, like daughter'.
"My mom definitely inspires me," says Lourdes, whose dad is personal trainer Carlos Leon.
"She inspires me to want to push myself and be the best that I can be. I love my mom's style. We both give each other fashion tips [and] sort of balance each other out."
High school student Lourdes and her famous mum have just celebrated the one year anniversary of their joint fashion range for teenagers, Material Girl -- fronted by Lola's BFF and fellow showbiz sprog Kelly Osbourne. And chummy mummy Madonna (53) returned the compliment by praising her daughter's "great style": "She's just beautiful. She can wear anything.
"I've achieved many things in my life, but I have to say that watching my daughter make her dreams come true is the most exciting thing I've ever done."
As the Queen of Pop's first-born child, it's perhaps only fitting that Lourdes is now heiress apparent to the throne.
At just six, crown princess Lola played a flower girl in the raunchy rendition of 'Like a Virgin' that saw Madonna lock lips with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 MTV Awards.
By the age of 12, she had starred in the music video for 'Celebration' -- this time recreating her mum's famous 1984 performance of 'Like a Virgin' in a wedding frock -- and joined Madonna on stage during her Sticky & Sweet world tour.
Now the 15-year-old could be about to take her own crack at chart domination, after recording a duet with her mother called 'It's So Cool'.
Star-in-the-making Lourdes already has a 10-year headstart on Madge, who found fame at 25 with her self-titled debut album. But it was only 13 years later that the original Material Girl discovered her true calling in life.
Married to her job but determined to become a mum, in 1994, Madonna -- who lost her own mother to breast cancer when she was six -- revealed how she planned to find a suitable candidate for "the fatherhood gig" by taking out a personal ad.
After meeting Cuban-born Carlos Leon while jogging in Central Park, however, she didn't have to.
The couple announced their pregnancy while Madonna was filming Evita in Budapest in 1996 -- with the singer denying she had become pregnant for "shock value" or used Leon as a "stud service".
And even before Lourdes entered the world on this day that year, the mum-of-four joked that her eldest showed star quality: "I was stunned when I saw on the ultrasound a tiny, living creature spinning around in my womb. Tap-dancing, I think. Waving its tiny arms around and trying to suck its thumb. I could have sworn I heard its laughing."
Although she's been accused of thrusting her teen daughter onto centre stage in make-up and clothing that's way beyond her years, Madonna certainly couldn't be accused of exploiting her pregnancy for publicity.
In fact, the woman who once bared all in her Sex book remained uncharacteristically camera-shy throughout -- with virtually no photos of Madonna with child.
Instead, as she traded her iconic Jean Paul Gaultier cones for a nursing bra at 38, there was a brief-but-ebullient press statement about the birth of Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon.
Contniued on p30
Contniued from p29
And the Mother of Reinvention reckons it was becoming a mum that inspired her biggest metamorphosis of all.
"I knew that having a child would be an incredible healing experience because I didn't have a mother," recalls Madonna, who subsequently changed musical direction with 'Ray of Light', joined Kabbalah and split from Lourdes' dad -- with whom she remains "best friends".
"I just knew my karma was to have a girl.
"Having a child has made me a lot more sensitive and responsible, a lot more aware of my actions and words. I've gone through all of my sexual rebellion and don't need to do it anymore.
"I've learned to be more relaxed and I'm less obsessive, less selfish. Should I get my nails done or go for a walk with my daughter? I know what I'd do."
After giving birth, Madonna told how she had considered naming the baby Lola after the musical comedy character who always got what she wanted, but plumped for the more Catholic Lourdes Maria instead.
Ultimately though, Lourdes has become Lola anyway -- in name and otherwise. But while undoubtedly born with a silver spoon in her mouth, showbiz royal Lola has gained respect for her style sense.
"You could say it's in the DNA -- but I could never tell her how to dress," says her proud mum. "If anything, I wish she'd dress more conservatively. How's that for irony?
"She also comes to my photo and video shoots, pulls outfits together and gives her input to a lot of my fashion designer friends. Whether it's Marc Jacobs or Stella McCartney, they always ask her what she thinks."
"She really is one of the coolest girls on earth," adds pal Kelly Osbourne (26) -- who covered Madonna's 'Papa Don't Preach'.
"[The first time I met her] I was a little bit starstruck. I always admired the way Lola dresses. I always think she looks so cute and really stays true to herself."
When your mum's Madonna though, how the hell are you ever supposed to compete?
"The teenage years are a time of searching for independence and individuality," says psychologist Dr David J Carey of Counsellor.ie.
"However, it's not at all uncommon for young teens to take a similar philosophical, religious or moral stance to that of their parents while they do this.
"In celeb families, the child may see an opportunity to gain fame and wealth by emulating their parents," he explains.
"But I doubt that Madonna's daughter views herself as just an extension of her mother.
"After all, Madonna is a stage persona. At home, she is just 'mum' -- so I'm confident that Lourdes has her own distinct personality and interests.
"Most children of stars go on to carve a unique niche for themselves as adults and lead productive and fulfilling lives."
As she blows out the candles on the her birthday cake today, that's all any modern material girl could wish for.