Cynthia Germanotta on Raising Lady Gaga in a Household Built on Kindness

The #BeKind21 campaign is so inspiring

August 25, 2020

Lady Gaga and her inspiring mother, Cynthia Germanotta are about to embark on Born This Way Foundation’s second annual #BeKind21 Campaign. Gaga and Cynthia are counting on us to take kindness to a whole new level this year.

The sentiment behind the #BeKind21 mission is to be “inspired by the idea that habits are formed by repeating an activity for 21 consecutive days, #BeKind21 calls on participants to practice an act of kindness each day from September 1st to September 21st. Individuals are invited to take the pledge and share their experience on social media using the hashtag #BeKind21.”

The Mother to Mother Monster herself has made it her mission to incite positive change through good deeds, love, and most importantly… kindness. Cynthia is not only the co-founder of Born This Way Foundation but she is also a World Health Organization Good Will Ambassador for Mental Health.

We were so thrilled to have the opportunity to speak openly with the kindness creator and ultimate advocate for building a “kinder and braver world.” We hope you enjoy these uplifting words from “MomGerm” herself.

Cynthia Germanotta
Photo credit Cynthia Germanotta

One of the main pillars of Born This Way Foundation is to “make kindness cool.” In the nine years that you have run the foundation, what is one of the “coolest” ways you've seen kindness blossom?

"I am so moved by the many ways young people are showing kindness by leaning on one another. Whether it’s finding innovative ways to share mental health resources, establishing nonprofits to meet the needs of their communities, or bravely sharing their stories, each individual who chooses to be kind and compassionate is making a difference in this world. To me, supporting each other and our communities is one of the coolest things we can do and it’s been great to see young people blossom."

"Through the years, we’ve collected thousands of stories of kindness, bravery, and resilience and invite young people from all over the world to share theirs on our ChannelKindness.org. This program inspired our book, CHANNEL KINDNESS. The book is a collection of inspirational stories written by young people with personal notes of empowerment from my daughter. You can learn more about the book before its September 22nd release date at channelkindness.org/book.

How will <a href="https://941thesoundseattle.radio.com/%3Ca%20href%3D"https://bornthisway.foundation/current-programs/bekind21/">https://bornthisway.foundation/current-programs/bekind21/">#BeKind21</a> take on new forms this year amidst the challenges of the pandemic?

"In the news every day, you see stories of people coming together in the face of the pandemic. This year, #BeKind21 is taking on a whole new meaning. With the help of our partners, we’re responding to today’s movements and highlighting the many ways kindness is actionable – it is speaking up, prioritizing your mental health, and advocating for a world that values, validates, and respects all people. "

"Many acts of kindness will now take place virtually and while we may be physically distant from one another, that doesn’t mean the strength and bravery behind each action is diminished. It’s important to remain socially connected. Right now, we each have an opportunity to be even more creative in how we express kindness and connect with one another. It’s important to build a culture of kindness both online and offline."

How do you think your daughter’s music, particularly <em>Chromatica</em>, has served as a tool for practicing positive mental health rituals amongst listeners?

"As my daughter says, 'Kindness heals the world. Kindness heals people.' Even though some of the topics around loneliness and mental health issues aren’t easy to talk about, she explores them so bravely through her music. She is an inspiration for us at Born This Way Foundation and generally for people that are in need of healing through kindness. My daughter sees kindness as the antidote to a divisive world, as it is a powerful unifying force that can bring us all together."

What are some of the activities that you have already committed to for this year’s #BeKind21 campaign? Will you and your daughters partake in a shared activity?

"The mission of the campaign is to demonstrate the possibility of small actions to drive profound impact grounded in the transformative power of kindness. No act of kindness is too small, and while our world is different this year, our mission is as urgent as it ever was. Some of the kind acts I've already signed up for are to remind others to register to vote, always wear my mask when I'm out in public , and prioritize my mental health the same as my physical health and encourage those around me to do the same. My daughters will also be creating their lists of kind acts, and I can’t wait to share ideas with them. I’m so excited to see the acts of kindness multiply by the millions as our campaign grows."

How have you been practicing self-care during the pandemic?

"Practicing self-care can be a great way to support our mental health. For me, that’s practicing ballet, writing in my gratitude journal, and calling my daughters and extended family to hear how they’re doing. I also suggest trying mindfulness exercises on apps like Insight Timer or Calm, and viewing our self-care tips on bornthisway.foundation/self-care-tips."

"We also know that many people are struggling alone and at a time like this, one of the kindest things you can do is educate yourself on how to be there for your loved ones. Through our partnership with Jack.org, we invite everyone to visit bethere.org and learn how to help a peer who might be struggling and be kind by being there for a peer, a loved one, or yourself. If you need specific mental health support there are online therapy sites like TalkspaceBetterhelp, or 7 Cups or 2-1-1 for emergency support."

What is your favorite music to listen to when you’re having a difficult day?

"Music has such healing power and tremendous benefits for our well-being. In these challenging times, I like to listen to 'oldies,' things that bring back fun and fond memories and remind me I have the strength to power through the day. And of course, anything by Lady Gaga!"

Will any of your #BeKind21 activities be linked to this year’s election and the initiative to get out the vote?

"Voting is always important, which is why we are encouraging everyone in our community to register to vote. We’ll be sharing ideas on how our #BeKind21 participants can be active in this year’s voting process. Whether you’re advocating, signing a petition, donating or educating, you’re doing an act of kindness. Kindness is advocacy, and using your voice to vote, if you’re able, is just one of the ways to build a kinder and braver world."

As Lady Gaga and Natali were growing up what kinds of things did you teach them about showing kindness?

"I tried to pass everything I learned from my mother on to my girls. My mother was a role model who demonstrated kindness and compassion, not only to her children but to others. I think the greatest thing that we can do as parents is model the behavior that we want to impart on our children, and we must listen to them and try to understand where they are coming from. Validate their emotions."

"I’m so proud to be Stefani and Natali’s mom, and I’m most proud to have two daughters with huge hearts. Of course, I’m extraordinarily proud of their talent, but the most important thing, I believe, in this world is being a compassionate, kind, and honest human being, and I’m very proud of both of them for that."

As an ally, how can one apply the #BeKind21 campaign to the Black Lives Matter movement?

"It is always the right time to show our allyship to the Black community and advocate for a world in which Black lives matter. Kindness is action, and it is so important for us to take action. In my mind, respecting and advocating for others are some of the kindness things we can do. Whether that is making a donation to an organization that supports BIPOC communities, attending a peaceful protest, or speaking up when you see something is wrong, all are acts of kindness pushing us toward a more just future."

Which Lady Gaga song uplifts your spirit the most?

"Of course, I love all her songs! They each lift my spirit in a different way. Some of the songs that are most special to me are the very early ones that haven’t been released. But if I had to choose just one, it would have to be 'Born This Way.' It inspired our foundation name and is the anthem for love and acceptance, and is the basis for the work we do together to create a kinder and braver world."

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