Beyonce Knowles In Michael Costello 2014 Grammy Awards Press Room - Nina Ricci
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    Superstar Katy Perry stars as a cover girl for the March 2015 issue of Elle magazine, captured by Michael Thompson and styled by Lori Goldstein. aty Perry is the single most followed person on Twitter (she has 63.2 million followers). She has more followers than Obama (52.7 million). More than Oprah (26.3 million). More than Kim, Kanye, and the Dalai Lama combined (27.5 million + 11.1 mil-lion + 10.1 million). Yes, more than Taylor Swift (50.2 million). If all of Katy Perry's followers got together, they would practically equal the population of the United Kingdom (64.1 million). Perry is part of a scene of pop divas ("Can we call it an echelon?" she asks. "I'm just kidding! I love that word. I'm obsessed with it these days") — Miley, Beyonce, Gaga, Lorde, Swift, Ariana Grande, Kesha, Nicki, Britney, Iggy Azalea — that has become so populated over the past decade that we almost need a category for each star and her brand of music and celebrity. Perry has done some thinking about this: "It's like a soap opera. You've got to name someone the villain, name someone the hero; you've got to name someone the princess, someone the mom-, the dad-type — you know there always have to be characters. As pop figures, we're all char-acters. And the media uses that. Who is the sweetheart, who is the villain? You know. Taylor's the sweetheart. Kanye's the villain. That's the narrative." Where is Katy Perry in the echelon? When I see her for the first time, backstage at the Allphones Arena (the Meadow-lands of Sydney), where she's performing the 104th show of her 10-month, 80-some-city Prismatic World Tour, the scene is like an Aaron Sorkin walk-and-talk. Her raven hair is pulled into a high ponytail, and she's clad in an iridescent spandex two-piece that will serve as the underpinnings for a battery-powered light-up costume — think Christmas lights as piping — that she'll wear to perform her opening number, "Roar." She's trailed by probably 20 people. A camera crew is filming a se-quel to the documentary Part of Me ("This is for when we turn to dust, guys!"); a fleet of backup dancers wearing glow-in-the-dark loincloths and carrying spears trot along; her manager of almost a decade, Ngoc Hoang, hangs close, as do various walkie-talkie-wielding security personnel. Eventually, she di-rects her pool-blue, Margaret Keane — scale eyes at me. "Do you feel like you're upside down?" Perry asks, somehow attuned to the fact, in the midst of all this, that I've just landed in Australia from New York. I do. I nod. "I did that on purpose, so you couldn't ask tricky questions." She gives me a mischievous wink, the same one she gave mil-lions when she announced, "I kissed a girl and I liked it." In my three days with her, during which we tour a "Pop to Popism" exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, watch a screening of Into the Woods, eat fried shrimp puffs and sliders, and abort a visit to a water slide (on second thought, she didn't want to get her clothes wet), and she performs two concerts and a full rehearsal, Perry will prove to be (a) an elo-quent talker, (b) intensely likable (or intensely skilled at mak-ing me feel likable, which might actually be the same thing), (c) a strategic thinker, (d) a micromanaging businesswoman (don't get her started on the Super Bowl), and (e) smart. "However you see me is the way you're going to write me out," she says as we're parting ways one day. Write me out: It's a funny way to describe the process of profiling a personality, but also strangely acute. And that may not be the same way I see myself, or the way I presented the information." "Well, I hope it is," I respond. "But your editor has a caption, and that's going to be what sells the units of the magazine." Okay, yes, we do want to sell magazines. But we're about more than that. So here she is: Katy Perry, in her own words.
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