…Before the world tours, “The Fame” or even the dress made of meat, photographer Malgorzata Saniewska knew her simply as her restaurant co-worker, Stefani Germanotta.
In the summer of 2005, Saniewska, who goes by Maggie, happened to be tending bar at the same West Village restaurant where the 19-year-old soon-to-be star worked as a waitress.
Just 24 at the time, Saniewska had moved from her native Poland to the United States two years prior with dreams of becoming a photographer.
But to support herself, “I started working as a bartender,” she recalled. “It was definitely a money thing. I did want to go to school, but I didn’t do research on photography, my focus was to make better money…”
“We were colleagues, we didn’t hang out really heavily, but she’s the nicest girl ever. … She’s down-to-earth,” Saniewska said. “At that time, she gave me a CD of her first single, and I listened to it and I was really impressed. And she’s a beautiful girl. Based on her looks and her personality I thought (a photo shoot) would be great fun.”
Gaga had the perfect location in mind: Her parents’ place on the Upper East Side…
The two young women hopped on a train and headed over there, and set to work creating what Saniewska says became Lady Gaga’s first photo shoot, although Saniewska didn’t know that at the time.
Good photographer’s eye for a subject. Her technique was rough in spots; but, cripes, she was just starting out, too.