Before she was the Material Girl or Her Madgesty, the best-selling female artist of all time was just Madonna Louise Ciccone, a dancer from Bay City, Michigan who dreamed of making it big in New York City.
Madonna’s early days in the Big Apple weren’t easy. As she writes in a cover story for the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the city “did not welcome me with open arms.” In fact, the years between her 1978 flight from Michigan and her first record deal in 1982 were downright brutal: “The first year, I was held up at gunpoint,” the singer recalls. “Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don’t know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time.”