Katy Perry: ‘Taylor and I don’t have a close relationship’
As Katy Perry prepares for a special performance alongside the Australian women's cricket team in Melbourne next Sunday, the singer, activist and self-proclaimed "punching bag" speaks exclusively with Stellar about her long-standing emotional connection with local fans, the plans she has in place for her upcoming wedding to actor Orlando Bloom, the truth about her friendship with Taylor Swift and why she's not afraid to own her bad day.
Your performance at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup cricket final next week coincides with an attempt to break the world record for highest attendance at a women's sporting event - and it will take place on International Women's Day. Is that why you wanted to be involved?
First of all, I love coming to Australia. I get to come down there, bring a larger-than-life show and play songs people want to hear.
But I'm also doing it to support International Women's Day and join the community of women's sport.
We live in a world where we can feel very alone, but when you go to something that has 90,000-plus people that sing along with the songs and you're sitting next to a stranger, you can connect with them because you're feeding off the same energy.
What is your response to those who ask if we still need an International Women's Day?
Yes, we do. Because there's so much work still to be done. We still have a discrepancy with pay and utilisation of women in job spaces.
I'm not one of those people that is solely about "the future is female". The future is both male and female. I believe in a more humanitarian future because I have a partner [Orlando Bloom] who is supportive, kind and a champion of women and children. He's sensitive and vulnerable - and still the hottest guy on the beach.
One of our biggest cricket stars is Ellyse Perry; will we see a Perry vs. Perry singing or cricket competition?
[Laughs.] Oh my gosh, I don't know how to play the sport! But I am open to any lessons with Ellyse. If she wants to come out and show me how it's done, I am down for that.
Australia had a devastating summer with the bushfire crisis. What was your response from afar?
It broke my heart. I sympathise because my hometown, Santa Barbara, had terrible fires where we lost members of the community. I remember my parents and brother evacuating several times, so I know what it's like not knowing when you wake up if your family home will be there.
When I'm in Australia, I'm definitely going to be giving back to firefighters, their communities and family.
You are a role model to so many young girls, and frequently bring them on stage when touring. When you started out, was that always part of your mission?
My parents, even though we've had our disagreements along the way, instilled such a good moral compass in me. Young people are so influential, I'm so influential and every interaction results in a feeling - and it really is how you use those feelings.
I have boundaries with adults, but when I'm out and kids want to come up and say hi, I will never say no. I'm conscious I might only meet them one time and it might have a huge effect on them.
I do try and live in a really kind, integrous way. And I'm not always that way - I have bad days as well, you know? Sometimes my fiancé would say, "OK... maybe not today." It's funny how your partner gets both the best and the worst of you.
Speaking of your fiancé, you are getting married this year .
I call myself a "bridechilla" as opposed to a bridezilla. Orlando and I are united with our approach. It's not about the party, it's about the coming together of people who will hold us accountable when things get really hard. Because it's really great and then it's really hard. Those are just the facts when you're with someone who challenges you to be your best self.
Last year you appeared in the music video for Taylor Swift's 'You Need To Calm Down'. The two of you were friends who became nemeses, and this marked a turning point. How would you characterise your friendship now?
Well, we don't have a very close relationship because we are very busy, but we text a lot. I was impressed by her documentary [Miss Americana] because I saw some self-awareness starting to happen and I saw a lot of vulnerability.
I was really excited for her to be able to show that to the world: that things aren't perfect, they don't have to be and it's more beautiful when they aren't. Even though it was difficult, it was important to make that appearance in the music video because people want people to look up to.
We wanted it to be an example of unity. Forgiveness is important. It's so powerful. If you can forgive your enemy, that's amazing. As difficult as it is!
Next year marks 20 years since you first released music. What has been the biggest change you've seen for female artists in the industry?
I actually haven't seen a whole lot of change for female artists. Although, there's more unity now - which has been great. We used to be in our corners wondering if any of us liked each other. But it's more of a safe place now.
And you are working on a new album. What can we expect?
With every album the songs talk about a certain time. My last album was the one that represented the most fluctuating part of my life, and was an emotional rollercoaster. With the next album there's a big focus on mental health, true happiness and how to get there.
Much of your life plays out in the public eye. How do you maintain some semblance of privacy?
I know how to be seen and how to not be seen. I've never had a super-challenging time with it because I figured out how to navigate it.
Sometimes I call myself "Perry Piñata" or "Perry Punching Bag" because of the way I'm written about on the internet, so I'm proud that I don't just hide away in isolation and drink alcohol!
I believe time is the best truth-teller. And if the internet doesn't get the story right, then that's all right. My story will come out eventually.
Katy Perry will be performing at the final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup on March 8. Tickets are available at t20worldcup.com.