Maxim Legends: Madonna

“I refuse to act the way someone expects me to.”

The name “Madonna” refers either to the chaste mother of Christ or the 20th century’s most provocative pop star and performance artist, a Michigan-born force of nature known as Madonna Ciccone. While working as a dancer in the downtown club scene in early-eighties New York, Madonna released her single “Everybody,” which became a huge national dance hit. From there, she leveraged her glamour-punk style, dynamism and sexuality to become one of America’s biggest stars and—amazingly—she hasn’t flagged since, constantly reinventing herself to stay ahead of whatever upstarts the industry produces. While she’s an adept singer and dancer and a stellar business woman, Madonna’s dominant identity will always be as provocateur—a woman who lives unbounded by expectations of her gender, age, or upbringing. To Madge, we give a 21 cone-bra salute and hearty, Kabbalah-approved mazel tov

Photos by Rex Images