Rags to Riches: The Madonna Story You Never Knew

By Jack Ripley | January 17, 2024

Madonna Was an Art Model to pay the bills, 1978

Welcome to a visual journey of the Material Girl! From her religious start in Michigan, to the gritty streets of New York City, to the dazzling heights of pop royalty, this electrifying photo gallery charts the meteoric rise and lasting legacy of the one and only Madonna. Prepare to be mesmerized as you witness the evolution of an icon who defied convention, broke boundaries, and redefined the world of music and fashion. Get ready to strike a pose and join us in celebrating the Queen of Pop's extraordinary journey.

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After moving to New York City on her own, money was tight for Madonna. She began posing for photography classes at Parsons School of Design as an additional source of income, along with working at Dunkin' Donuts. She was paid as little as $25 for each photography session. Unfortunately, in 1985 some racier magazines dug up and published these photos in order to create scandal. In response, Madonna bravely and simply said: 

"I'm not ashamed."  

Madonna Was A Straight-A Student, 1970's

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Throughout her school years, Madonna always got great grades! She attended St. Frederick's and St. Andrew's Catholic Elementary Schools, then West Middle School, and Rochester Adams High School, with straight A's all the way through. She said:

I wasn't rebellious in a certain way. I cared about being good at something. I didn't shave my underarms and I didn't wear make-up like normal girls do. But I studied and I got good grades... I wanted to be somebody.