A letter to my real mum, Madonna by Em Rusciano


Google Alert - madonna / 2015-05-13 01:44

Em Rusciano is convinced Madonna is her real mother.

Em Rusciano is convinced Madonna is her real mother. Source: Getty Images

TO MY real Mother,

Even though we've never met, your influence has permeated and directed my every move since I became aware that you were, in fact, my mum. When I saw you standing naked except for a pair of sky high stilettos and a cigarette dangling between your crimson lips on your Girlie show tour poster — the day I realised who you truly were, I knew that from afar you would ensure my path in life by setting a sterling example in your own.

Madonna during her 1993 'Girlie Show' world tour.

Madonna during her 1993 'Girlie Show' world tour. Source: News Corp Australia

Today I wish to thank you, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, for helping me to become the woman I am today.

Darling Mother while there is no biological proof of our connection, in my heart I know that in 1978 you made a secret trip to Australia where you met and fell in love with a small, wiry, Italian guitarist named Vincenzo. You had a wild one night stand in a seedy motel room and then 9 months later gave birth to me in a public toilet.

Not knowing what to do, and with no-one to turn to you left me wrapped in a studded, fringed leather jacket on Dad's doorstep. You then ran away to New York to pursue your dreams, never to be heard from again.

Dad and I have never actually spoken about this however I can tell by looking into his eyes that that's EXACTLY what happened. In 1980 you joined a punk rock band called "Emmy", which is what my family call me. In my mind that is proof enough.

Mother Madonna you were the first outspoken, short haired, muscular Italian woman that I had ever encountered. You were just like me, only you touched your vagina in public way more than I did. You were fierce, unapologetic and didn't give a f*** about what other people thought of you.

When I was 10 years old you released Like a Prayer and that song changed everything. It also resulted in me setting fire to the lounge room when I attempted to recreate your burning crucifix scene from the video clip, my other Mother was extremely upset with me but I knew that you would've approved of the green shag pile carpet being sacrificed for art.

Em Rusciano, clearly separated from Madonna at birth.

Em Rusciano, clearly separated from Madonna at birth. Source: Supplied


Madonna. Source: News Limited

As an 11 year old you were the reason I bonded with the AIDS patients at the infectious disease hospital my other Mother worked at. I would hang out with them in the hospice talking only of you. These glorious men of course believed me and once I told them that you were my real Mother they would immediately tell me how much we looked alike.

Mother we also share that in common, the gay community continue to lie to me, love me and hold my career up as well.

Now at 36, but still looking 29, I too find myself somewhat in the public eye. I'm Australia's Madonna. Don't google it, just trust me.

They may not know it yet but I have enough belief for everyone. I have two daughters and I am also in show business, that gene runs strong with us. I'm a singer, a writer and a stand-up comedian. We are exactly the same except for the millions of dollars, world wide fame and 20 year old back up dancer/lovers.

Madonna: Just like Em, except with sweet back up dancers. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

Madonna: Just like Em, except with sweet back up dancers. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY Source: AFP

Much like you I have spent my career being told I am too everything. Too loud, too opinionated, too scary, too strong, too much. I did a soul destroying stint on Breakfast radio in Perth, and my first month there I was subjected to a 'listener advisory board meeting'. This involved inviting listeners in, putting them in a small room, putting me in another room where I could hear everything that was being said, stuffing them with free pizza and asking them to verbalise all the things they didn't like about the on air team. In this case it was just me. I was made to listen to people say things like "Her voice is so annoying," "She seems like a complete bitch," "She is SO opinionated".

During my time on air I received various threats, battled against both my co-hosts and my boss to attempt to maintain some sort of dignity on air and had things written about me in online forums that I felt only I had thought about myself in my darkest moments.

I was constantly told that who I was wasn't right, that I needed to change in order for people to like me. That I was a diva and impossible to work with. To be fair, I probably was a lot of the time.

It wasn't all bad, but I was lost in the wilderness, questioning all that I am for most of it. I hit rock bottom less than a year in when I found out I was expecting my second child and knew that could mean certain death for my career.

Then, in late 2005 you came back to me, you showed yourself again, resplendent in a pink leotard releasing "Hung Up." It was yet another brilliant reinvention an up yours to anyone who dared call you irrelevant.

Madonna in 'Hung Up'.

Madonna in 'Hung Up'. Source: News Limited

I felt reborn, powerful and sure-footed once more. I ended up quitting that radio job, moving back in with my parents and writing my first ever one woman stand-up show. I haven't looked back since. I, like you, prefer to perform sans pants.

Thank you for showing me that it is OK to be both a devoted Mother and on a podium drenched in glitter. That I can remain fiercely myself and still raise impressive offspring. I am so sorry that recently you have been heavily criticised for daring to still have a career. I'm sorry that it is mainly women tearing at you, the same women who probably wore lace fingerless gloves, multiple cross necklaces and belted Cherish into their hairbrushes.

Thank you for maintaining the rage you magnificent bitch, here is to the next 30 years and our eventual emotional reunion.

Yours in loyalty, Lycra and love,


Em Rusciano is a comedian, writer, singer and regular news.com.au columnist. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This letter was originally read out at Women of Letters in Sydney, with the theme 'A letter to the person I never thanked.'


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