Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, even if you’re not a huge fan of pop music, you probably know exactly who Katy Perry is. I mean, given the amount of hit songs she’s released, it’s a bit hard to avoid her! The pop superstar burst onto the scene with her cherry chapstick filled hit “I Kissed A Girl,” and was soon releasing chart-topping hit after chart-topping hit in her rise to the top. She’s kept things interesting with her quirky sense of style and her fans absolutely adore her. Plus, let’s be honest – it doesn’t hurt that she’s absolutely gorgeous and has become known for her, ahem, assets. Even a guy who absolutely hates pop music might just have a soft spot for this bombshell.
However, while you’ve certainly drooled over pictures of the pop star, chances are you might not know that much about how she got to where she is today – and where she comes from. For instance, would you believe that the pop star who struts her stuff on stage in cheeky yet skimpy costumes and got her start with a song about lesbian love was actually raised in an ultra-religious household?
Here are 15 things you might not know about Katy Perry.
15. Her real name isn’t Katy Perry
There are quite a few stars that use stage names to stand out from the crowd and avoid confusing the public with a difficult to pronounce name (or, worse, having to resign themselves to the fact that any award they win will be preceded by a butchering of their name). However, Katy Perry initially changed her name to avoid confusion with a particular rising actress – Miss Kate Hudson. Perry’s actual name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, and she was planning to go by her real name in her music career. However, given Kate Hudson’s presence in the entertainment industry, she decided to avoid any potential confusion and use her mother’s maiden name on stage.
14. She grew up as the pastor’s daughter
Katy Perry’s on-stage personality is quirky, loud, and sexual. So, it might come as a surprise to find out exactly how she got her start in the music industry – in church. Her parents are both pastors, and a young Katy starting singing at church when she was 9 and continued for years, until she was about 17. The lyrics in choir songs and hymns are a bit different than the lyrics in her pop hits, but the simple act of getting up in front of a big crowd and practicing singing in public likely prepared her well for a career in show businesses. Though it may seem like her parents might disapprove of her current pop identity, Perry herself has said that they’re nothing but supportive of their daughter.
13. She started out as a Christian musician
If you know much about Katy Perry’s ultra-religious upbringing, it’s easy to assume that she instantly rebelled and began putting out loud, rebellious hits before settling upon her pop voice. However, that’s definitely not the case – her first taste of the music industry was in the Christian music world, when she put out a Christian pop album under the name Katy Hudson at only 16 years old. It wasn’t exactly a runaway success – Perry herself has said that it sold maybe 100 copies – but it gave Perry a taste of what was to come.
12. She has a tattoo for each of her albums
While her songs are obviously incredibly catchy, Katy Perry’s identity as a pop star is very much wrapped up in her image as well. From the feline vibe of “Roar” to the ultra-bright cartoonish “California Gurls,” she definitely knows how to change things up visually to keep her audiences interested. What you might not know, though, is that she has gotten a tattoo in honour of every one of her successful albums – a strawberry for “One Of The Boys,” a peppermint for “Teenage Dream,” and a rainbow triangle for “Prism.” We have to admit, it’s kind of a cool way to mark such memorable moments in your musical career.
11. She doesn’t really like to read
While there are certainly plenty of celebrity bookworms who are lugging mini libraries onto their private jets on longer trips, Katy Perry might not be one of them – and it’s because of her childhood, not because of any learning difficulties. As she explained to Vanity Fair in 2011, when she was growing up, her ultra-religious parents would read her the Bible instead of bedtime stories. So, rather than falling in love with the magical worlds of Narnia and Hogwarts, she was learning about the Apostles. While she has confessed to enjoying a few books, like The Help, she’s never going to be much of a bookworm.
10. She runs her own social media accounts
In this day and age, social media is a huge part of any celebrity’s public persona. After all, fans can’t exactly all hang out in their favorite starlet’s living room chatting, so it gives celebs a chance to include their fans and give them a behind the scenes peek at their lives. However, many celebrities decide to farm out their social media responsibilities to members of their PR team – but not Katy Perry. Sure, her grammar isn’t always the greatest, and she’s not exactly posting world-changing commentary, but she takes that part of her career as seriously as performing on stage, and her enormous amount of followers proves that.
9. She’s a high school dropout
When you have a dream, it can be tough to wait around until you’re able to go out and make it happen – just ask Katy Perry. The young superstar knew what she wanted to do at an early age, and consequently made the decision to drop out of high school in order to focus on her music career. She dropped out at 15, quickly completing her GED, and ended up signing her first record deal at 16, so her risk paid off pretty quickly.
8. She learned about her divorce via text message
Any type of relationship trouble is tough to deal with when you’re a public figure, because you’re constantly under the paparazzi’s watchful gaze. However, something as major as a divorce is even tougher to deal with – but Katy Perry might have one of the worst stories ever. As many know, Perry had a whirlwind romance with comedian Russell Brand and the two married. After a little over a year, things weren’t really working out, and Brand decided to move things along by telling her he intended to file for divorce – via text message. I mean, that’s low, even for someone like Russell Brand.
7. She’s in touch with her zen side
With such ultra-religious parents, you might assume that Katy Perry would find some quiet time for reflection and relaxation during prayer. However, she actually prefers a different kind of zen practice – transcendental meditation. This type of meditation is designed to replace the meditator’s regular thought process with a state of pure consciousness, a moment of balance where everything is still and at rest. With such a whirlwind career and constantly packed schedule, it’s not surprising that Perry would need a way to relax and find a little peace and quiet every now and then.
6. Her album, Prism, was declared a biohazard
Okay, this one sounds a little bit weirder than it actually is, but it’s quite a claim to be able to make! In the deluxe edition of her album Prism, Perry included seeds that her fans could then plant, grow, and enjoy for themselves. However, the Department of Agriculture in Australia decided that the Swan River daisy seeds in Perry’s latest albums were a biohazard, as they were of international origin. Even though the record label said that all albums sold in Australia had locally sourced seeds, the Department of Agriculture didn’t like it, and Aussie fans found themselves buying cheaper import copies to get around all the fuss.
5. She shares a record with the King of Pop
Katy Perry might be known for her fluffy, catchy pop tunes, but she actually shares a record with the King Of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. In 1987, Michael Jackson made a new record by having five singles from the same album hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Over twenty years later, pop star Katy Perry did the same in 2011 with her popular album “Teenage Dream,” which spawned the hits “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.,” and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).” Those are certainly some big shoes to fill, so Perry must be honoured to share a record with such a pop icon.
4. She has locks of two pop stars’ hair
It’s no secret that Katy Perry is a bit more unique than your average pop star, but this fact takes things to an entirely different level. Perry apparently has a lock of hair from pop stars Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift – she confessed so herself during a Q&A where she was interviewed by Mario Lopez. The hair situation came from a moment when Perry shared a dressing room with the two ladies at the Grammys, and wanted to remember that time. Given the beef that Perry has had with Taylor Swift, it seems like a strange token to carry around, but who are we to judge.
3. She was in a big music video before any of her hits were on the charts
Katy Perry has had a string of successful music videos that have thrilled fans with their ingenuity and sheer entertainment value, but one of her first appearances in the mainstream pop world came when she snagged a role in Gym Class Heroes’ music video for their hit “Cupid’s Chokehold.” Perry dated Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travie McCoy for several years, and she was the one chosen to be the final girl that the character McCoy is portraying in the video falls for. The two have since split, but if you re-watch the video, you’ll get a glimpse of a younger Perry.
2. She sang backup for a big star
While she was trying to get her foot in the door of the music industry, Katy Perry took on gigs like providing backup vocals on other artist’s songs. For example, she can be heard in the background of P.O.D.’s “Goodbye For Now” (and spotted in the music video for the same song). The biggest name she backed up, however, has to be Mick Jagger himself – she sang backup on his song “Old Habits Die Hard,” which won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 2005. Nowadays, any aspiring pop star would kill to sing backup for someone as big as Katy Perry, so things have really come full circle.
1. Her wardrobe is downright dangerous
Katy Perry is known for her larger-than-life stage costumes. Forget the simple bodysuits that so many pop stars wear on stage – she wants bright colours, fun silhouettes, things that move and light up and entertain. However, this desire for crazy costumes has gotten her into trouble before. Apparently, there was a particular peppermint bra that Perry wore on her California Dreams tour that her insurance company wasn’t too fond of. Why, you ask? Well, the bra spun, and at one point during a performance Perry’s hair got caught in the spinning bra and it almost ended in disaster. The insurance company allegedly feared Perry would injure her neck through another peppermint twist situation, and her costume team had to design something new.