Lady Gaga has joined TikTok’s “Teenage Dirtbag” challenge, giving fans a glimpse into her club kid days on the streets of New York City. Along with the throwback, she commented “Just Stefani,” paying homage to her life and name before her larger than life persona, Lady Gaga.
I had to 🤣🖤🕶🔥 #teenagedirtbag
Referencing the 2000 song by Wheatus, the “Teenage Dirtbag” challenge has TikTok users sharing photos of themselves from their teenage years in a video set to a sped-up version of the song. The trend began last year, mostly as a way to laugh at cringe fashion choices from the early 00s, but recently it has taken on a more nostalgic tint. The trend’s resurgence is largely a result of celebrities sharing their pre-fame photos, including Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, Terry Crews, Victoria Beckham, and Alicia Silverstone.
Lady Gaga’s own entry began with her singing along to the song while showing off her current look: bleach blonde hair and eyebrows. The video transitions into a stream of teenage photos from back when she sported dark brown hair and outfits that ranged from leotards to tights and fishnets. “I had to”, she wrote in the caption.
Fans responded in outpourings of glee, with several declaring Lady Gaga the unquestioned winner of the challenge. “talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique,” commented user angel muiri. “Born this slay. I love you!” said TikToker The Zoe Roe Show.
Wheatus’ official account even commented on the post, saying, “SOS. Lady Gaga shattered us into a million pieces. We will never recover from this. Who knew there was such a thing as too much happy?”
After attending New York University in the early 00s, Lady Gaga withdrew during her second semester to pursue her dream in music. She spent years playing small gigs and becoming entrenched in New York’s Lower East Side club scene before relocating to Los Angeles for the release of her hit debut album The Fame.
In an interview with People Magazine ahead of her role A Star is Born, Lady Gaga looked back on these years and her ambition to stardom. “When I wanted to become a singer and decided that I was going to really hit the pavement and try to make it, I really believed in myself.” At the same time, she added, “I was bullied and made fun of for having big dreams”.