The Unbreakable Katy Perry: Inside Rolling Stone's New Issue

Pop's most tireless hitmaker talks her awkward phase, motherhood and more in our new cover story

Katy Perry
Peggy Sirota
Katy Perry on the cover of Rolling Stone.
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"I'm not, like, a crazy 'I'm gonna die for my fans' type," Katy Perry says in her new Rolling Stone cover story, which hits stands on Friday. "Some people are so dramatic about it, and you're like, 'Honestly, you're not the Second Coming. You're just an entertainer!'… I'm very grateful for fans' support, but I'm not thirsty or desperate." But Perry is the most consistent hitmaker of the last half-decade or so, and in her third appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone (photographed by Peggy Sirota), she offers a generous peek at what's going on inside her head.

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Senior writer Brian Hiatt followed Perry from city to city on her current Prism tour, witnessing just how hard she has to work. "Every show day, from the moment I wake up, it's just prep for that night," she says. "It's like I'm a Kobe beef cow." Here's an advance look at the wide-ranging, revealing interviews, which took place in New York, New Jersey and Montreal:

After coming under fire for alleged cultural insensitivity (largely for having big-bootied mummies dance in her tour and dressing up as a geisha at the American Music Awards), Perry offers a passionate defense of her intentions. 
"As far as the mummy thing, I based it on plastic surgery," she says. "Look at someone like Kim Kardashian or Ice-T's wife, Coco. Those girls aren't African-American. But it's actually a representation of our culture wanting to be plastic, and that's why there's bandages and it's mummies. I thought that would really correlate well together… It came from an honest place. If there was any inkling of anything bad, then it wouldn't be there, because I'm very sensitive to people."

She knows the rules are changing, that "cultural appropriation" is increasingly uncool, but she's not thrilled about it. "I guess I'll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that's it," she says. "I know that's a quote that's gonna come to fuck me in the ass, but can't you appreciate a culture? I guess, like, everybody has to stay in their lane? I don't know."

Perry would like to have a baby someday – and she doesn't "need a dude" for that.
"I want to be doing that in the right time," she says. "And that's not in the next two years, you know? Maybe it's in a five-year plan, but I need to really be able to focus 100 percent of my attention on it. I don't really want to take the child on tour. Not until, like, birth through five is over." And there doesn't necessarily have to be a man in the picture, she adds, mentioning her friends Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka.  "I don't need a dude. I mean, Neil and David, their twins are beautiful. It's 2014! We are living in the future; we don't need anything. I don't think I'll have to, but we'll see. I'm not anti-men. I love men. But there is an option if someone doesn't present himself."

Perry was teased in school.
"I'm the class clown's assistant," she says. "That's what I was in high school. I mean, they called me 'over-the-shoulder boulder holder,' and I wasn't that cute. I looked like a square ­– a rectangle, actually – because I was going through my teenage awkward phase."

Also in this issue: Former Obama spokesperson Reid Cherlin on the bad blood between the White House and reporters, David Fricke in conversation with Tom Petty, Sabrina Rubin Erderly on how CeCe McDonald became a trans hero after facing murder charges for defending herself, plus Jon Dolan on Spoon's new album, along with interviews with "Weird Al" Yankovic, Hayley Williams and more.

Look for the issue on stands and in the iTunes App Store this Friday, August 1st.