06/22/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT
Behind the crazy getups and No. 1 hits, Lady Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta), 22—who's dating a male model named Speedy—says she's just a dork with a thing for tea and Donnie Wahlberg.
HER OUTFITS ARE HER CREATIONS
I go onstage in origami dresses. I'm inspired by that '70s glamour and decadence.
SHE WENT TO AN ALL-GIRLS SCHOOL IN NEW YORK CITY WITH NICKY HILTON
We didn't chat back then. I was the nerdball in theater and chorus—the girl other girls would call "slut." I don't want to relive high school!
THERE'S A REASON SHE'S BLONDE
Once an interviewer thought I was Amy Winehouse for the first five minutes. Amy is badass, but I want to be known for my own look.
SHE PENNED SONGS FOR BRITNEY AND NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
I wrote for Britney's Circus. She's a class act. You never hear her say anything bad about anyone. [The New Kids] are the sweetest. I was cool in the studio, but I get crazy when they perform, like, "Donnie looked at me—oh my God!"
CHICAGO COPS CITED HER FOR INDECENT EXPOSURE
I was on my way to perform and I had on hot pants. The cop said, "You look totally inappropriate. There are children here." I was like, "It's fashion." I was full-out drama.