What, exactly, was Lady Gaga like in her pre-fame [monster] days?

Glad you asked.

Gaga, who's earning rave reviews for her role in the new A Star Is Born, was once an underground New York City artist struggling to get the attention of record executives. But her friend Brendan Jay Sullivan tells People in a new interview that he always knew Gaga would make it big, even when she was seemingly down for the count.

“She was struggling a lot back then like Ally is in the movie, because she was not being taken seriously,” Sullivan said. “They’d say, ‘Oh you’re just downtown cool but I can’t sell you to mainstream America.’ We heard people say ‘You’re not pretty enough for a pop star.’ And not behind her back either, to her face. Which is crazy because she’s the most glamorous person there is.”

Sullivan added that the experience of watching Gaga get signed and dropped was especially tough. Still, he knew she had the resolve to power through and eventually hit it big.

"When you’re young, your wiring of who you are on the inside isn’t fully out there yet,” he says. “But the Gaga you see now with the hair and the Gucci dress on the red carpet, that’s who she really is. That’s who she was all along. I got to help watch the transformation in real time.”

Lady Gaga at 'A Star Is Born' Premiere

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