We are stoked to announce the debut performance of a Milwaukee based Lady Gaga Tribute Act, featuring former Florentine Opera singer, Cynthia Starich, 26, as Lady Gaga in this year’s Milwaukee Fashion Week Gala Event. The Lady Gaga Tribute Act features live vocals, dancers, dramatic costumes and unapologetic self expression that will leave you with your #PAWSUP

Cover photo: Hair & Makeup by Rachel Beranich, Captured by Bryan Newkirk Northern Lights Photo Studio, Milwaukee

A self-proclaimed “Little Monster” since 2008, Cynthia Starich became a Lady Gaga fan while she was a student at Pewaukee High School, when Gaga’s hit singles like “Bad Romance” and “Poker Face” were all over the radio. Cynthia, who was known to be a bit unconventional in the way she spoke, dressed, and self-expressed, resonated with Gaga’s music as it empowered her on her quest to dare to be different.

In 2011, she fearlessly took the stage as Lady Gaga with her eight friends-turned-back-up-dancers to perform what is now known to be the LGBTQ’s Pride Anthem,“Born This Way”, at her high school’s “Pewaukee’s Got Talent” show.

Upon obtaining her B.A. in Vocal Performance from Carroll University, ‘15, she began singing professionally as a chorus Soprano with the Florentine Opera Company. She performed in many Operas at Milwaukee’s Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and was cast as Margot, a french cabaret singer and dancer, in the Florentine’s collaboration with the Milwaukee Ballet in the production of “The Merry Widow” in 2017.

After two seasons with the Florentine, Cynthia “retired” from opera singing to dedicate more time to her own song writing and performing. She performed her original jazz single, “Just In Time For Christmas” at last year’s Salvation Army’s sponsored event, “The Red Kettle Christmas Spectacular” at the Wisconsin Center. She also joined a Top 40 cover band, “Down 2 Dance” which kept her musical spirit fun, free, and not taken-too-seriously.

“I’m excited to start a Lady Gaga Tribute act that allows me to sing the same music that has inspired me and other “Little Monsters” for over 10 years.” the Milwaukee native says. The term “Little Monsters” was the name Lady Gaga began calling her fans back in 2008 to unite them to embrace human differences she believes that “society often negatively marginalizes.” Cynthia goes on to explain what the Lady Gaga Tribute Act, “Little Monster’s Tribute” means to her:

“In a world that is constantly trying to sell us an unattainable, universal beauty standard, I am now more than ever aligned with Lady Gaga’s empowering messages of authenticity, kindness, and the determination to stay true to what makes us each different and beautiful in our own unique ways.”

Cynthia explains why she decided to start up a Lady Gaga Tribute Act now in 2019. (It surprisingly has little to do with the noted resemblance between herself and the mega pop superstar.)

“Back in high school, my teachers, friends, and even co workers at McDonald’s said I looked like Lady Gaga way back then. But looking like her definitely wasn’t enough of a reason for me to start up a whole tribute act. It wasn’t until years after loving her music, embracing her message, and admiring her musicality did I ever consider starting up a tribute act.”It still didn’t seem to be the right time for the local singer to start up a tribute quite yet. Cynthia had been exploring a few career avenues, such as optical sales, blogging, and up until recently, working for a modeling agency.

“I was a talent agent for a couple years for an agency. And, while I learned a lot and worked with some wonderful people along the way, the shallowness of the industry was subtly starting to eat me alive from the inside out…I went into the industry thinking that I could make a positive change to it in my community, and I’d like to believe that I did. Even still, I felt like I wasn’t using enough of my talents and abilities to make an impact in causes that meant more to me than bust, waist, and hip measurements,” she says with a smile and a touch of lighthearted sarcasm.“What can I say, I’m far from the Shallow, now”, she laughs.

But the puns & parallels aren’t over as she expresses gratitude for her “real-life Bradley Cooper”:

“The only reason this dream began to manifest into reality is because of Bryan’s belief in me.” I’m so blessed to have my very own, real life Bradley Cooper. When I told Bryan I wanted to quit my corporate agency job to go be Lady Gaga, he wasn’t all that surprised, but he was completely supportive. I still get teary-eyed every time I here Lady Gaga’s speech at the Oscars, and this quote because of how much I relate to it:

“There can be 100 people in the room and 99 don’t believe in you. And you just need one to believe in you – and that was him.” –Lady Gaga

She continues to explain why the Little Monster’s Tribute is much more than just putting on a costume and impersonating Lady Gaga: “Now, it all feels right. This act goes far beyond just myself and my love of performing,” she continues:

“If I can use my talent and my voice to back this mission, you better believe I’m going to do it. Our message is simple: We need more people to realize that real internal beauty can’t be purchased or sold. True beauty can only be developed by our ability to accept our own vulnerabilities, as well as those of others. We want to empower as many individuals to realize this truth– to embody it with pride, and employ it with kindness.”

Starich makes it known that she’s already had so much help in making this dream a reality:

“This act embodies the true spirit of collaboration. I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful team of talented friends back me up each step of the way with everything that I’m doing, and I simply couldn’t be more grateful.”

Recalling a recent story, stemming back to her high-school-friend-turned-Ballroom- Instructor:

“I’ll never forget, just a few months ago one day after PrideFest, I texted one of my best friends from high school, Emily Bowlin, asking her if she’d be willing to help me choreograph some Lady Gaga songs, (just like how we did in my living room for our high school performances) and without any hesitation, she agreed to be a part of the project.”

Gearing up for her debut performance at Milwaukee Fashion Week’s Gala Event, there has been an outpouring of content on the new Instagram account, @little_monsters_tribute.

Omniverse Media has been my go-to team for photo shoots, video shoots, and fun behind- the-scenes content. I’ve been able to work out of amazing studios like Danceworks and Northern Lights Photo Studio, and this dream is turning into a reality right before my eyes.”

But she’s not quite done giving credit where it’s due:

“One of my good friends who is more like an older sister to me, Rachel Beranich, has been my hair/wig stylist, makeup artist, and even photographer at times–it’s pretty incredible! I’m so inspired by watching the people around me take on such dynamic roles to make this vision come together.”

Not to mention, the amazing official dancers of the act, The Little Monsters!

“I wanted to name the LG tribute act, “Little Monster’s Tribute”, because I am just ONE person by myself. It truly is the magic of this unique collection of individuals who make this act so special, real, and meaningful.”

The LMTA’s core dancers are a culmination of real local people who,–while they may not have too much in common with each other–are still able to find enough common ground in their genuine love of dance. Or, as Cynthia puts it:

“They are united in the celebration and empowerment of simply being alive–and being themselves.”

This year’s Milwaukee Fashion Week Gala will take place at The Garage inside of Milwaukee’s Harley Davidson Museum 400 W. Canal St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203. This black tie event will include dinner, a fashion show, and The Little Monster’s debut performance.

Tickets for the MFW Gala featuring The Little Monsters can be purchased on Eventbrite Stay up to date with the latest details on Instagram @Little_Monsters_Tribute