When I was a seven old year boy I remember I was watching our black & white TV, and suddenly I saw the video of Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” on MTV. I just sat there and watched it with my mouth open.
What a gorgeous woman! Such pale white skin, hot lips, and perfect body! I didn’t understand a word she was singing (hello; I was seven and I’m a Dutch boy) but she sang the song so strong that I was touched by it. I also wanted a “Italians Do It Better” T-shirt, so I made it with white paint on a black shirt by hand.
Didn’t have a clue what it meant, but I danced the night away on that T-shirt in my bedroom.
From that moment I was hooked on Madonna. Every little thing about Madonna I wanted to have, I wanted to listen to all her singles, watch all her videos. I was the first boy to impersonate Madonna at our local talent show. As an eight year old boy I won my first ever playback show as Madonna, with her hit single “Dress You Up” (so suitable). I think nobody in the audience knew I was a boy, I was playing her role with verve!
*Joey as Madonna 1986
Every week I went to the magazine store to spot all the new magazines she was in. When I got my first pocket-money I spent all my money on her. My bedroom walls were covered with her posters and photos, you couldn’t find a single open spot. Every month I changed the posters to make a new composition, and I invited my parents and brothers to watch it over and over again. My passion and feeling for creativity began to grow…
*One of my bedroomwalls
In 1991 (when I was 12 years old) I was allowed to watch the documentary “In Bed With Madonna”.
There it was! Her life, her romances, her live-performances, her dancers, her humor: it was everything I ever dreamed of! She also spoke about homosexuality as if it was the most normal thing in the world. It was such a revelation to watch the two male dancers French kiss each other during the game “Truth Or Dare”: this was what I wanted too! From that moment I knew I was gay.
In 1994 Madonna released her album “Bedtime Stories”. She promoted the album on radio and television. During one of these interviews one man asked Madonna if she had regrets about some decisions in her life. Her answer? “No. I have no regret. Regret is a waste of time.”
Boom! Such a good and simple answer, but oh so clear. From that moment I started living my life without regretting my decisions. I move on and try to learn from all the mistakes I make. I’m also not afraid to make one.
Madonna has been inspiring me from that day in 1986.
Because of her, I took dance lessons, studied Fashion Design in Arnhem, was a member of the boy band All Of us and recorded several singles, performed live many times for huge audiences, started to make fashion illustrations, cultivated my talent for images and composition, experienced homosexuality as normal thing in life, love music, became a perfectionist and always want to reinvent myself!
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*Singing in boyband All Of Us
In 2011 I started my own business Atelier Joey Holthaus. I create (fashion) illustrations for calendars, magazines, books, cards, websites, posters, baby clothing, t-shirts and bags. My first calendar was a tribute to astrology, women and big hair. Sometimes I shoot behind the scenes pictures at video clips, fashion shoots and large celebrations, trying to capture humor and happiness in every shot.
I live my life. I live it just the way I want to live it. Being happy, and married to the love of my life Mark.
So who inspires you? Who dares you to think differently? To challenge yourself every day? Share it!