Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Erin Bradley and Into the Groove and Madonna and Me.

photo by brian inatsuka
 Leading up to my 'Madonna and Me' talk at the Decatur Book Festival, I will be interviewing my fellow contributors.Today it's Erin Bradley. Erin's journal style essay 'A Borderline History of My Relationship with Madonna' melds the important events in Madonna's life with Erin's life. My favorite bit from Erin's funny essay: 'Spring 1987. Madonna's Spanish-inspired single 'La Isla Bonita' and its accompanying video had renewed my interest in Latin men, which lay dormant since CHips was cancelled and I had to abruptly end it with Eric Estrada. Knowing zero about race and ethnicity, I do the samba in from of the mirror and serenade my (what i thought were) "Hispanic" lovers: Ralph Macchio (Italian), Henry Winkler (Jewish), and Scott Baio (Asshole)'.

And here's Erin herself.

Favorite Madonna song and why?
Definitely "Into the Groove." The first time I heard it was when my parents took me to see Desperately Seeking Susan. Madonna was such a badass. I decided then and there that I wanted to be Italian and move to New York City. One out of two ain't bad, I suppose.

Favorite video and look?   
"Burning Up" is my favorite video. There's no subtlety, no coquettishness, no "I'm just an ingenue unaware of my sexuality" like a lot of the representations of women that seem to get the most favor now. She's like "Yeah, I'm hot for you. What are you gonna do about it?" Madonna is the anti-The Rules girl. Favorite look? Geez, that's hard. I'll go with snippets of looks: the floppy hat she wore in the 'Borderline' video, the lace book shirt from the 'Vogue' video, that Heidi dirndl skirt she wore in the her Ray of Light days. Not a huge fan of her cone bra Gaultier look, oddly enough, though I respect it and know it's iconic.

Madonna with Nickie Minaj and MIA: Ultra Diva or Desperate?
Ultra Diva. How could a woman with that much money and power ever be desperate? I hate that word. It's rarely used with men. Keith Richards could do a Superbowl show with Justin Bieber and no one would bat an eye. Madonna does one with a few younger stars and all of a sudden she's desperate. Why? Because she's a musician who wants to keep her name out there and continue doing what she loves? It's like people want women to hide in a closet once they get older than Taylor Swift. When Madge is on Hollywood Squares alongside Gallagher and Ray Romano, then we'll talk.

Can you tell us a little about your writing and revision process for 'A Borderline History of My Relationship with Madonna'? 
I went with a timeline because I wanted to do something fun and that wasn't straight prose. I vetted it with Laura first because I knew it was breaking the submission format. I didn't want to spin my wheels (or give her something she wasn't happy with) and she said it was cool. I revised by running it by my professional editing team, i.e. my sister and my husband, and then Laura. All in all, we probably went through 3 rounds. Not too bad. This, like almost everything I write, is based on my life. I find that makes writing a lot more fun. For me, anyway. Some people are private. I'm into emotional burlesque. 

What are you working on now? 
Actual work. As in, my day job - advertising. I plan on starting another book, though. A memoir. They're hard to pitch to editors but I wouldn't be a good Madonna fan if I took no for an answer.

Erin's Bio:
Erin Bradley is a writer and journalist living and working in New York City. She's written for and appeared in publications including The Daily Beast, Nerve, Playboy, The Morning News, and College Humor. Her book, Every Rose Has It's Thorn: A Rock 'n' Roll Guide to Guys is available on

Buy Madonna and Me

Tomorrow Q & A with Rebecca Traister

Read Q & A with  Jen Hazen
Read Q & A with Maria Raha
Read Q & A with Sarah Sweeney
Read Q & A with Joshunda Victoria Sanders
Read Q & A with editor of the anthology Laura Barcella
Read Q & A with Wendy Tokunaga  

Sept 1, 2012. Decatur Book Festival. Local Prose Stage. 3: 15.
Soniah Kamal will be talking about growing up Muslim with Madonna. She will also read from her essay 'Through the Wilderness'. Please join her.

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