How Lady Gaga’s Mother and the Head of Her Foundation Spends Sundays
Born This Way Foundation, founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, who is its president, focuses on mental health initiatives for …
Born This Way Foundation, founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, who is its president, focuses on mental health initiatives for young people. Its annual #BeKind21 campaign, which encourages participants to perform a daily act of kindness, either toward themselves or to others, started on the first of the month and is running through Sept. 21. “One young woman wrote in and thanked us because she chose those 21 days not to harm herself,” Ms. Germanotta said. “That was courageous and amazing.”
As for Ms. Germanotta, one of her favorite acts is to pay anonymously for the person behind her at coffee shops. “It’s like being the kindness fairy,” she said. Ms. Germanotta, 67, lives with her husband, Joe Germanotta, 64, in a condo on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Together, they own the nearby Italian restaurant Joanne Trattoria.
GROUNDED I happen to love the morning. I always start my day with two things that really ground me. One is a book of daily inspirational readings called “The Book of Awakening.” Basically, it talks about having the life you want and being present in the life you have. I also write three things I’m grateful for in a gratitude journal. This morning one of the things was celebrating Tony Bennett’s 95th birthday. I’m so grateful for that family and grateful to know them.
ANCHORED If it’s nice weather, I love to sit on my terrace with tea. I’ll check one of the foundation sites, channelkindness.org. It’s a digital platform for people to tell stories of kindness in their communities. I might follow breakfast with a walk in Central Park, which is a place I cherish, or a ballet class at Steps on Broadway. There are a couple of other things I turn to on a Sunday that anchor me: One is I’ll do a centering prayer, which is a type of meditation that integrates prayer. We have a partner at the foundation called Find Your Anchor, which is a resource for suicide prevention. An anchor is something that keeps you here and happy and grounded. I have several.
GRANDMA GAGA One thing I do religiously is check in with my mom. She’s 93 and lives in West Virginia. When you’re that age, you always have something. But she takes care of herself physically and emotionally, and she has a lot of friends and family. Both my daughters are very close with her.
FAMILY FIRST At some point I stop at the Muffins Cafe. It’s a wonderful neighborhood coffee shop with lots of friendly faces. It’s uplifting to be there. But I like to have breakfast at home. My kids once asked me, “What’s your favorite day of the week?” I said Sunday, because it was always a true family day at home, doing homework and cooking dinner together. Sometimes that still happens if both my girls are in town. We’ll go shopping at Gourmet Garage or Fairway and cook together, usually something Italian. I call family dinner “safe space,” where you can have healthy conversations about anything, including mental health. My daughter developed issues in middle school, and the dinner table was a wonderful, helpful environment to address them.
SECRET SAUCE The last couple of Sundays I’ve gone out to visit my friend on Long Island who recently lost her mom. All four of us, including my husband and her husband, spend time together. Her back yard in Valley Stream is where we make our own pasta sauce every year, in August. It takes a full day, and there are four couples, and we each go home with 50 jars. The recipe is my friend’s mother’s, and she was kind enough to pass it on. We taught our children how to make it.
PARTNER CHECK-IN Another thing that can happen on a Sunday, especially this time of year, is work. We’re preparing our own list of 21 things we’re going to do. And I might go visit one of our partner youth organizations in #BeKind21, like the Ali Forney Center, which is a homeless youth center right here on the Upper West Side. One of my favorite things, in terms of what I do, is being with young people. It’s a privilege and a joy to work with them. I’ll stop by and we’ll talk.
MUG, MEDITATION, TEXT I end my day with tea, just as I start it with tea, and some winding down. I’m not a huge TV person, though I have to say I really enjoyed the Olympics. I love the courage of the gymnasts. I’m usually tucked in by 10, and I’ll do some more reading or meditation. Somewhere between 10 and 11, I’ll send my girls a good-night text.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Ms. Germanotta on Twitter or Instagram @momgerm.