During a sit down for Interview Magazine with family friend, actress Debi Mazar, Lourdes Leon opened up about her relationship with a pop icon and legend for a mother. The fashion model didn’t mince words about living under the shadow of Madonna. At times almost resentful, and at times fiercely protective, Lourdes paints a complicated parent-child picture that most of us can immediately recognize.
“We don’t get any handouts in my family. Obviously, I grew up with extreme privilege. There’s no denying that. I think my mom saw all these other kids of famous people, and she was like, ‘My kids are not going to be like this,'” Leon told Mazar. “Also, I feel like if your parents pay for things, then it gives them leverage over you. My mom is such a control freak, and she has controlled me my whole life. I needed to be completely independent from her as soon as I graduated high school.”
As Madonnas’s firstborn, Lourdes Leon felt pressure to branch out on her own. And that example was set by her own mother. “I didn’t fully comprehend that until I realized the importance of empowerment and what it means to be a woman,” Leon said, adding that Madonna was “ahead of time” and empowered other women over four generations.
One thing she could control, however, was the public’s access to her private life. “It’s kind of a nightmare, but I think that privacy is the reason why I was able to keep my wits about me and not find myself in a mental asylum,” Leon said. “I want to figure out who the fuck I am before I let anyone else try to tell me who I am, you know?
Another issue she faced was hearing taunts at a young age about her mother’s famous persona. Mazar recalled a story where a person asked Leon at a young age of she was Madonna’s daughter, and Leon replied, ““What’s your mother’s name?” Leon then explained why she uses that tactic. “It’s really funny to me. People are always really taken aback when I say that, because it’s like, ‘B***h, don’t talk about my mom if you don’t want me to talk about your mom. You want to call my mom a whore? Okay, your mom is a whore,'” she said. “If you feel like you have the right to comment on my mother, then I’m going to do the same to you.”
Despite their sometimes turbulent relationship, Lourdes Leon is grateful to have a mother who has faced the public spotlight and has wisdom on how to navigate life – and advice that sticks with Leon. “I’ve been so concerned with making a decent living, and wanting to live more luxuriously than I was when I first graduated and wasn’t earning a lot of money. She was like, ‘Remember, this s**t is not real. It’s not about the money or your face or how hot you look. It’s about what you’re bringing into the world and what you’re going to leave behind,'” she revealed. “That always shakes me awake when I get too caught up in everything.”