In an industry notorious for overnight stardom and fleeting fame, Madonna has proven that she's here to stay. Over the past two decades, she's won three Grammy Awards, sold nearly 200 million albums worldwide, released more than 25 Top Ten singles, and received a Golden Globe award for her starring role in the musical film Evita.
As critics and fans alike have noted, a large part of the singer's staying power is due to her chameleon-like ability to repeatedly transform her image. The queen of reinvention first achieved fame in the eighties as a pop star and controversial sex symbol and has since gone through many incarnations. Now happily married to British screenwriter and director Guy Ritchie and the mother of two children, Lourdes, 8, and Rocco, who will be 5 this month, Madonna is a devoted follower of Kabbalah, a branch of Jewish mysticism, and a bestselling children's book author. Her fifth book, Lotsa de Casha -- the lighthearted story of a wealthy merchant who learns that money can't buy happiness -- was released in June.
The theme of Lotsa de Casha reflects Madonna's own journey from Material Girl to soul-searching mom. "There's an autobiographical aspect to all the children's books I've written," she says. "Hopefully, I've translated some of my experiences into tales that kids can understand." To an outsider, Madonna seems to have it all -- riches, fame, success -- but there came a time in her career when she sensed something was missing: "There was a turning point in my life when I realized that all the money in the world would not bring me lasting happiness and fulfillment," she says. "When I realized this, the next question was, 'What will?'" The performer's perspective shifted in that moment of self-discovery: "I found that sharing what I am blessed with is the road to feeling good. Now whenever I feel down, I ask myself if I'm being selfish in some area of my life."