On the day of the Oscars, Los Angeles is positively lousy with stars. And the Chateau Marmont—a storied West Hollywood hotel that’s sheltered everyone from Greta Garbo to Mary-Kate Olsen—is basically the epicenter of the outbreak. But even at the kind of establishment where one all but expects to encounter Zac Efron (for example) at the valet stand, Katy Perry still has the power to turn heads.Of course, going incognito isn’t exactly an option when your hair is the color of cobalt. But Katy, who’s had one song or another near the top of the charts for the better part of the past two years, does her best to blend in, tucking her bright blue locks under a headband and hiding her similarly toned eyes behind a pair of dark sunglasses. (The rest of her outfit is probably best described as “haute workout”—aside from a pop of pink lipstick, she looks as though she may have come straight from the gym.)
As all the barely con- cealed double-takes attest, Katy is already about as famous as a girl can get. But this summer, the newly single 27-year-old is going to become even more ubiquitous, thanks to the big-screen release of Katy Perry: Part of Me, a documentary that showcases the incredible performances—and behind-the-scenes drama—of her California Dreams tour. “One of my main reasons for doing this is that people think of me as though I’m Dorothy in the ruby slippers,” she says, implicitly likening her career to the plot of The Wizard of Oz. “I want them to see everything else that’s involved. Yes, I am her, but at the end of it all, I’m also the guy behind the curtain.” Indeed: While Katy, like Dorothy, was once a sweet, sheltered girl with a gorgeous singing voice, it didn’t take a tornado to drag her to the big city—she moved to L.A. at seventeen and cycled through no fewer than four record labels before breaking big with One of the Boys in 2008. “My life is crazy now,” she admits. “When you get to this level, there’s a lot that’s not real, but I really haven’t changed.”
TEEN VOGUE: Teenage Dream was a juggernaut—you matched Michael Jackson’s Hot 100 record for the most number one songs off a single album, and then “Part of Me,” a new song off the special edition, debuted at the top of the chart. Is it still exciting to get that kind of response?KATY PERRY: Of course! I’m not like, “Ugh, number one again.” It’s funny, though—my label gets so caught up in the statistics, just because they’re excited. But for me, I don’t need to grind it into anyone’s head that I’m popular. If you like my music, great, and if you don’t, whatever. I’m going to keep making it either way. This does feel a bit like the record that never ends. But I wanted to release The Complete Confection for the hard-core fan who wants everything: three new songs, the remixes, and it’s all in a cute little package.
TEEN VOGUE: Were you thinking along those same lines when you decided to make the movie?
KATY PERRY: I wanted to document the tour, because when we started to book these really big venues, I felt like I was going all in. And I figured that by the end of it I’d be bankrupt or else I’d look like the smartest music businesswoman of my age, and I thought either outcome would be interesting. More than that, though, I wanted to show people this parade that surrounds me … I wanted them to see the engine. I think sometimes they look at me and wonder, How is it possible that she continues to have this kind of success? Why are the stars so aligned for her? But, while that is a factor, it’s not the whole story. I also work my tail off! And, of course, I wanted people to be able to experience the tour and all the joy it brought, which is why we shot it in 3-D. And this is amazing 3-D.It’s definitely not just a marketing tool.
TEEN VOGUE: Were you inspired by other pop documentaries, like Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never or Madonna’s Truth or Dare?
KATY PERRY: A little.Madonna is everything to me, and that movie is amazing because it caught her at a time when she was a bit more vulnerable. I wanted to do that too, to capture a snapshot of who I am now so that I can remind myself what I’ve lost if I ever do become totally jaded. [Laughs]
TEEN VOGUE: I bet you’ll be able to keep it together.
KATY PERRY: I hope so. If not, I’m sure my sister and my brother and my best friends will kick my butt.TEEN VOGUE: That’s what friends are for, right?
KATY PERRY: My friends are so awesome and hilarious. They’re the same friends I’ve had since I first moved to L.A., and they can make anything fun. We could literally be in a padded room with no furniture and we’d be able to have a dance party, play games, and just have the best conversation ever.
TEEN VOGUE: You’re really close with actress Shannon Woodward, from Raising Hope. Was it her idea for you to appear on her show?
KATY PERRY: Yeah, she was like, If you ever want to do anything,let me know—we write for you all the time. I wanted to be unrecognizable. I love making people laugh, even if it means I’ll never get another date again. My heroes in film are women like Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler: They’re gorgeous, but they’re confident enough to be able to laugh at themselves.
TEEN VOGUE: It seems like acting is something that really interests you. Are you looking to make a movie anytime soon?
KATY PERRY: I would love to. There was a time when I was going to be involved in The Help—just a small part, I wasn’t going to be Emma Stone or anything—but I couldn’t because the shooting schedule conflicted with the release of my record(omg!!! i would have died tbh). And I was upset about that; I knew it was going to be an important film. Not that I need to do drama first, but I do want to do something that makes a strong impression. You don’t really get off the hook being a musician first … I feel like the stakes are really high.
TEEN VOGUE: You occasionally permit other artists to recordsongs that you co-wrote. Was it hard to watch Kelly Clarkson have a hit with “I Do Not Hook Up”?
KATY PERRY: No. Kelly is a fantastic person to interpret anyone’s work, and honestly,I consider myself a songwriter first and foremost. If I stay true to myself, I’m not going to run out of songs!
TEEN VOGUE: Yet you’re a little more glamorous than the average singer-songwriter….
KATY PERRY: I don’t like to take fashion too seriously. I love it, and I am so grateful when big brands want to associate with me, but mostly I just want to take chances and have fun and truly live. And sometimes that means wearing some ridiculous, cat-inspired outfit rather than whatever happens to be in this season.
TEEN VOGUE: You’ve worn a lot of vintage-pinup-type ensembles in the past. Are there particular women who are influencing your look now?
KATY PERRY: Definitely. I love Agyness Deyn, Chloë Sevigny, Daphne Guinness, Natalie Wood, Judy Jetson, and Wonder Woman.
TEEN VOGUE: That’s quite a list. What do you think they have in common?
KATY PERRY: Personal style, probably. And strength. They have the ability to adapt and evolve and change. Like, I’m still doing the pinup thing, but now when I do it, I want to be the pinup of the future, like Rachael in Blade Runner. But I’ve always been quirky—it probably started when I was nine years old, and my father used to wake me up at seven every Saturday morning to take me to garage sales. I couldn’t afford the clothes that the other girls at school were wearing, so instead I looked for things that were unique to me.
TEEN VOGUE: Your looks—and your life—have been the subject of so much scrutiny. Do you ever see yourself getting tired of being famous?
KATY PERRY: I’m tired of being famous already! But I’m not tired of creating. Fame is, I think, just a disgusting by-product of what I do. It’s quite a delicate creature— it’s a wild animal of sorts. It can love you, and then it can attack you. I still want to be as approachable and relatable as possible—when I meet fans and they’re crying, I’ll say, “Calm down, there’s nothing to cry about. I’m not going to bite you or attack you or grant you three wishes. Let’s just hang out and have a good time.” But really, I stopped focusing on what other people think a while ago (h8rs stay mad!!!). If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll only end up completely confused.
Source: Teen Vogue