LONDON (Reuters) - If it is possible to be a hippie, modern day missionary, pop superstar and control freak all at once, then Lady Gaga is it.
The 25-year-old New Yorker was all of those things and more during a 90-minute guest editor stint at a London newspaper office on Monday which underlined the enigma that music writers and fans have been trying to unravel for the last three years.
Diminutive in stature yet larger-than-life in character and emotion, Gaga has shot to the very top of her industry, a global music phenomenon whose debut album “The Fame” appeared in 2008 and went on to sell over 12 million copies.
It helped make her the world’s most famous singer and arguably its biggest celebrity, with a little help from a series of outlandish outfits that have included a raw meat dress and turning up to the Grammy Awards in a giant egg.
On Monday her outfit was relatively demure -- pink-colored hair in a beehive, a black skirt, matching bra-style top, broad choker and high black heels.
She breezed into the offices of the international free newspaper network Metro and warmly shook hands with the staff, helping to relieve the tension that had been building up during the long wait for her arrival.
Watched by a small entourage of a record label representatives, make up artists, a PA and security guards, Gaga led the morning editorial meeting where she took immediate control and dominated proceedings throughout.
The lengthy session involved discussions about the Japan earthquake, transgender issues and bullying, and was punctuated by what may soon come to be known as “Gagaisms.”
“Know that you are a part of the mobilization of love in the world,” she said in the context of a chat about bullying.
”I‘m a little bit more of a hippie when it comes to change,“ Gaga went on. ”I‘m very peaceful. I don’t think it’s about violence. I do think it’s about ruckus, but peaceful ruckus.
“Love is sort of the answer to all this. It’s quite hippie of me, but I don’t give a shit.”
Whether or not such pronouncements are part of what one newspaper recently called a “Jesus complex,” Gaga takes her ideas of tolerance and inclusion seriously.
She spent more than 20 minutes typing an editorial lead for the newspaper, checking spellings and verb conjugations along the way, before reading her manifesto to the reporting team.
“Dear monsters, let your identity be your religion,” she wrote, using the affectionate term she has coined for her large and famously intense fan base.
They in turn refer to her as “Mother Monster,” leading some fans to liken the relationship to that of a cult.
“Little monsters are not a fan base,” Gaga continued in the editorial. “They are a culture that exists entirely outside of pop music. They are their own religion. They are a race within the race of humanity.”
Along with the big ideas came close attention to detail.
During a brief photoshoot, Gaga decided not to sit as the photographers had asked her but stood instead. Gaga checked the digital images on the backs of the cameras, was not happy and so posed for more -- image was paramount.
The multiple Grammy winner has used micro-blogging and the internet to good effect, recently surpassing 10 million Twitter followers, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s eight million.
Asked during her newspaper stint whether that made her more powerful than Obama, Gaga replied bluntly: “I think I‘m just very good at social media.”
In a strangely low-key event, away from the crowds of screaming fans and fashion stunts, Gaga still underlined the devotion she commands from fans.
Jeroen Engelen, a Dutch competition winner who was invited to help Gaga out during her time at the paper, read a letter to her expressing his adoration.
“Yes, I do think you have admirers from outer space,” he said, and by the end Gaga, who was being filmed by a Reuters television crew, was in tears.
Barely mentioned during the visit was her music.
Gaga releases her second full studio album “Born This Way” next week which will show whether she still has the appeal to sell as many records as she did in 2008 and 2009 when she first burst on to the scene.
But she did not forget about it altogether. Informed that some 25 million people would read her edition of the international Metro newspaper, she quipped: “Can we just get one twenty-fifth of them to buy the album?”
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato