A new album. A new fragrance. A new look. Has Katy Perry reinvented herself? Find out in our celebrity interview.
Perry laughs when I ask her where she’s at right now. “Right here! On this couch!” she says, kicking her feet out and cackling, before relenting. “I’m 28, and I don’t know how young you are, but, as you must know, when you’re at the end of your 20s, it’s a very important growing time. It’s called the Saturn return, if you like astrology—I know it’s important for me.” I don’t know much about planetary phases, but I looked it up. In fact, the Saturn return is described as a bracing cosmic wake-up call, when youth’s charms fall away to reveal adulthood’s sobering realities. “I think that it’s a very important time, when you kind of let go of childish things and accept the wisdom that comes with age,” she explains. “That’s exactly where I am now.”
Perry uses words like “cooler” and “sophisticated” to sum up her evolution. It seems important for this self-described control freak to keep pushing forward. “I’ve always been a sponge; I’ve always had a desire to learn,” she explains. “I didn’t grow up with a real education, but now I am kind of educated by life.” In fact, Perry got her GED during her freshman year of high school so she could pursue a music career. She recorded a gospel album inspired by the music she grew up with in her parents’ Pentecostal church. Then she fell in love with acts like Queen and Alanis Morissette.
The kid who wasn’t allowed to listen to “secular” music has certainly broadened her tastes. She smiles when she tells me that she went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway the night before. “I loved it. I was surprised that I was emotional about it. The message is so powerful.” The musical is based on the true story of a shoemaker who teams up with a drag queen to save his family business. It’s fun and glitzy and boasts a score by Cyndi Lauper. At its core, though, the story is about the characters’ search for commonality and struggle to stand up to their parents. No wonder Perry loved it. Her rebellious streak may be why she says she’s so inspired by strong women like Joan of Arc. She puts it more simply, though. “I always like to go the unique road less travelled.”
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Sometimes, however, Perry’s evolution seems a little raw around the edges. She talks a lot about luxury’s allure. “One of my favourite places in the whole world is Claridge’s for high tea,” she says. “It’s exquisite and royal.” She plays with her raven hair as she describes the importance of elegance, dropping one stray strand after another on the floor, seemingly without noticing. Then she looks down, surprised, and laughs with a touch of embarrassment. “All these extensions!”
We chat more with Katy Perry on the next page...