Katy Perry, the Cat’s Meow
Sweet, innocent, weird…and a lot like the rest of us
By Holly A. PhillipsPosted Jul 25, 2012
I saw Katy Perry’s documentary Part of Me on opening day.
I’m no “Katy Cat.” I haven’t been a fan since her days as a Christian singer, and I’m still bummed it didn’t work out with Russell Brand. However, I have always been a fan of pop music in general, and I love stories. Read: documentary geek. Plus, I got to wear “Katy Perry” 3D glasses, a fashionable red-framed pair with blue and white candy stripes on each side.
Much like Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, Perry’s film is packed with concert footage from her yearlong tour in 2011 – the same tour on which she set the record as the first artist ever to have five No. 1 singles from one album, and the same tour on which Brand filed for their divorce.
Between the song performances, the film tells Perry’s story. She was raised in the Pentecostal Church (her father was the pastor), moved to Los Angeles at 18, and heard mainstream music for the first time (her initiation was Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know”).
It’s easy to peg Perry as a pop artist who is just singing songs that were handed to her as a way to make it big. But Perry fought to write her own songs, getting dropped from two labels before releasing “I Kissed a Girl,” making a unique name for herself.
To most of us, lyrics like, “We went streaking in the park, skinny dipping in the dark,” or, “Sun-kissed skin so hot, we’ll melt your Popsicle,” are tame, but for someone who grew up unable to watch the oh-so-sinful Smurfs, it probably feels pretty bada*s.
The beginning of her story – the church choir part – seems like a tale we’ve all heard. But her road was never studded with drugs, teen pregnancy, or a set of pissed off parents. She just couldn’t get a record deal that would let her be herself. As it’s explained in the film, she wanted to be the first Katy Perry, not the second Avril Lavigne or Britney.
After getting over the initial hurdle of telling her parents about the first single, “I Kissed a Girl,” it was a fast track to stardom. I can imagine similar hurdles were jumped when she put on her first bra resembling a set of Hershey Kisses and shot whipped cream guns at Snoop Dogg.
For Perry, the Candy Land obsession isn’t a façade. She feels a real connection to fairytales and has a mission to make people smile. If it takes colorful wigs and peppermint dresses to do so, then that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
The only time she breaks down on screen and displays negative emotion is when her marriage fails. Despite rumors of drugs and sex (or a lack thereof) being the culprits of the divorce, the film claims it was a choice between career and love. Whether that’s the truth or not, Perry is heartbroken, crying before a sold out performance overseas.
The majority of us will never know what it’s like to live in the spotlight, but it’s easy to fantasize about the glamour, the money, and how fun it would be. On the downside, one bad hair day or a divorce and you’re the next tabloid cover.
Having recently survived a crappy week, losing a best friend and pissing off my hot neighbor, I am pretty glad there haven’t been photographers waiting outside of my apartment to document my lack of makeup or ill-fashioned choices.
Perry is the kid we’ve all been – the one who plays dress up and thanks the Academy with a hairbrush for a mic. Perhaps Perry is just a good reminder that life doesn’t have to be quite so serious all the time.
All of us want to be loved, whether it’s in the form of fame or a private relationship. We all want to be the girl that makes heads turn when we walk into the party, even if it takes a blue wig to get the mission accomplished. That’s the appeal of Perry: sweet and innocent but a little weird, and a lot like the rest of us.