Mother monster might be gathering steam for a major media moment, but she’s steering clear of at least one spotlight for now. She was nowhere to be seen at Monday night’s Met Gala, which she has not attended since 2019, during which her Barbie-pink, Brandon Maxwell-designed “Notes on Camp” look quickly became one of the most iconic Met designs to grace the hallowed red carpet. Still, her unexplained absence tonight likely has a logical explanation: The pop icon is juggling a handful of projects. As of April, she’d only just wrapped filming of Joker: Folie à Deux after performing at the Oscars, and last week she shared a closer look at her latest Haus Labs beauty launch.
She’s also, perhaps, considering “more of a life of solitude,” as she shared with Wallpaper magazine in March 2023. “It’s really nice to just have time to be alone, and be expansive, and know that you’re enough,” she told the outlet, hinting that she might be spending less time at public-facing events. “I wish I could tell my younger self that. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time alone writing music. But the more successful I became, the more I felt like I needed other people to tell me I was great.”
Still, don’t expect her to disappear completely. The singer’s latest acting endeavor is set to become a major 2024 release as the follow-up to Todd Phillips’ much-discussed Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role. For the movie musical sequel Folie à Deux, Gaga has stepped into the role of Harley Quinn, for which she both sings and dances down the same stairs as her famous predecessor. (The title likely references the mental instability Quinn shares with Phoenix’s protagonist.)
In conclusion: Fret maybe for Harley Quinn, but not for Gaga. The star’s Met Gala absence is likely no more than a much-needed break following a busy few months, during which some reports claim the actress went “full method” for her role. If that turns out to be true, well—prepare for one hell of a take on one of DC Comics’ most infamous antagonists.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE.