Katy Perry: Dark Angel (2009 Cover Story & Gallery)

Katy Perry: Dark Angel (2009 Cover Story & Gallery)Story By Joe La Puma; Photography by Gavin Bond; Styling by Kelly McCabe; Additional Credits

Katy Perry proves that pop is more than just cherries and bubble gum.

This feature originally appeared in Complex's June/July 2009 issue.

The crowd gathered outside Fenway Park is buzzing, just as you’d expect on an early spring night in Boston. But there’s not a Big Papi jersey in sight. Instead, the line snaking along the block is for Katy Perry’s concert at the House of Blues. The child of pastors and one-time gospel-rocker has parlayed infectious fruit-flavored hits like “I Kissed a Girl” and “Hot and Cold” into a sold-out 50-city concert tour. And somewhere along the way, her career became a blueprint for aspiring pop stars.

Everything is calculated: the bright red lipstick; the pin-up aesthetic; the irreverent titles and earworm hooks. But where it might seem cynical coming from anyone else, Katy makes it work. Hell, she makes it honest. At a time when pop music is losing custody battles and undergoing domestic abuse trials, her candor helps her connect to all types of people—including us. She’s so comfortable in her skin that we can’t help but co-sign as wifey material. Just to make sure, though, we settled in with Ms. Perry before her show to talk about her sense of humor, past relationships and her two biggest blessings from God. And we liked her answers as much as she likes kissing girls. Or so we like to think.

I gotta say, these photos are a bit of a switch-up from the clothes we’re used to seeing you in.
It’s a bit of a darker side of me, a little S&M. Though I did have to hang from a cage, which could have easily gone wrong with the five-inch heels I was wearing.

Kind of a departure.
Well, [One of the Boys] was a little young—I made it between [the ages of] 17 and 23. I’ll be 25 this year when I start making my [new] record, so naturally some of the subject matter will be a little more mature. Not like I’m trying to prove anything to anyone—I’ll always order Shirley Temples.

I feel lucky to actually see you dressed down right now.
This is like an exclusive sneak peek. I stopped trying to be like Posh when flying in an airplane ’cause it’s so uncomfortable, and that’s pretty much where I get most of my sleep. Or on the bus. But I dress up every single night, full-blown drag-queen style. Hair, makeup, everything. There’ll be a costume, there’ll be some hot pants, there’ll be some legs, but right now I’m just kind of in my chill-time zone.

You’re big into style—even your ex [Travis McCoy] had a Complex sense of style about him, which gives a lot of hope to…
Your Complex readers? People that have “swagger”?

Exactly. Would you say that he’s your type?

I'm not just some idiot, wasted pop starlet lost on an island somewhere.

Oh God, I don’t have a type. I guess one thing that’s the same with all of the men I’ve dated is that they’re all communicators and they’re all sensitive. I have a soft spot for musicians, a guy who can write a song or say how he feels and put it into a song, and is super poetic. Travis is really good at that, and he’s just so good at lyrics that I think that’s ultimately why I was so attracted to him. But I definitely do not have a type. You know, he’s artistic and he has that natural swagger. When he puts his hat on, that’s how he puts his hat on. He doesn’t stand in the mirror for like three hours, he just puts it on. So that’s sexy.

What about a rapper-ternt-rocker like Lil Wayne?
That might be too grindhouse for me. I think T.I.’s really cute, though. I like the guys that have this face about them, which is like…you know, adorable, and cute, and almost looks like a baby pit bull. A little pit bull is so cute, and all rappers love little pit bulls. They have to have two or three.

Or 10 if you’re DMX.
He doesn’t have dogs anymore now. He’s not allowed to. Busted!

He’s obsessed with dogs—is it fair to say that you’re obsessed with fruit?
I’m obsessed with things that are kitsch—funny and ultimately just stupid and gaggy.

Tags: katy-perry, complex-cover-stories
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