Rags to Riches: The Madonna Story You Never Knew

By Jack Ripley | October 2, 2023

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 Is Her Real Name!

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Born Madonna Louise Ciccone in 1978, Madonna was the third of six children to Madonna Louise and Silvio Anthony "Tony" Ciccone. She was nicknamed  "Little Nonnie" by family members. As a middle child, Madonna often found herself feeling overlooked and craving attention:

You want your parents' attention ... You don't want the hand-me-down clothes ... You want to stand out. You want to be treated special.