How Katy Perry achieves it

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Getty Images/Yulia Reznikov

Katy Perry has been churning out hits since her debut single, “I kissed a girlhit #1 on Billboard in 2008. At the time, she was known for challenging her evangelical roots to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights and squirt whipped cream on her tits; Now 37 (she’ll be 38 tomorrow), she’s a multi-platinum performer and more successful than ever. She’s CEO of her eponymous shoe line, co-founder of soft drink company De Soi and mom to Daisy, her 2-year-old with Orlando Bloom.

However, growing up didn’t change Perry’s campy sense of humor. His one-month residency in Las Vegas, To playpresents a wild set that includes a giant toilet (with dancing piston and, yes, a human-sized turd), made even more trippy by L-Acoustics’ immersive surround sound technology. The series has been extended several times and resumed this month ahead of Perry’s next season (his sixth) as a judge on american idol.

As she drove to therapy in the car, Perry told us about dealing with political topics with conservative family members, spending time with her daughter, and dealing with bouts of anxiety and depression. Here’s how she does it.

On her morning routine:
No matter where I am, I make the same affirmation of gratitude every morning when I wake up for the first time. I say, “Thank you, my God, for today. I am grateful in every way. And I drink a large glass of water before going to have my coffee.

I’m not as in control of myself as I hope to be – or want to be in the future. But I am consistent with Transcendental Meditation, or TM, which has profoundly changed my life. It’s a 20-minute meditation, and you can learn it at any TM center nationwide. I learned it 14 or 15 years ago, and it gave me more of a compass, more of an anchor. I can be too head in the clouds, think too much about the future, and it helps me to be more present. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety in my life, and TM is a huge tool. I try to meditate in the morning if I haven’t had enough sleep or if my sleep felt like an Imax movie – which most of the time it is. I use it for jet lag, hangovers, creativity. Sometimes I slip away for 20 minutes in the middle of the day. I’ll be like, “I’ll be right back. I’m in a bad mood and I’ll be back soon in a better mood.

Then I exercise. I love hot yoga. I don’t do it every day, because I have a child and I want to spend every extra moment I have with her. Sometimes I’ll have all day to be with her, but sometimes I’ll only have a few hours. It depends on what I’m doing. Right now I’m doing residency in Vegas on and off, and I’m about to start the sixth season of American Idol – and all the other things in between. It’s a blur. I always say, “I’m going to eat this elephant one bite at a time.” It’s manageable when you have a great team and can communicate and rely on your emotional tools. Right now I’m literally in the car heading to therapy.

On the people who make his life go round:
Ngoc Hoang, my manager, is the glue that unites everyone in my team. She’s #1. She’s a superwoman and she’s a logistical powerhouse. She reminds me that there will always be a solution or an opportunity for growth or something positive that can come from any curve that is thrown at you. Tamra Natisin, my assistant, driving me to my appointment right now, is definitely #2 on the roll call. She is a beautiful, very centered human who has been with me for about 13 years. Then my sister keeps me in line. She is a straight shooter. She is a family-first woman and she is not influenced by twinkling lights. She is the redwood of the family. She helps run my foundation, the Firework Foundation, which helps kids in underserved communities access the arts, and we run two kids camps a year. She always reminds me of the real purpose of it all.

So those are my first three. And my mother. My mother is simply in love. My mom is in love and my mom loves pickleball. For years I fought her over it. I said, “If you say pickleball one more time, you’ll turn into pickleball,” because that’s all she was talking about. Then I started playing, and now I can’t stop either.

Being close to family despite political differences:
It has become more difficult over the past few years as everything has become more divisive and extreme. I am the Gumby family with my arms drawn right and left. My family is divided between two different political parties, so it’s not easy and I’m very tired. But I always try to have healthy speech, because if I can hear them, then maybe they can hear me. I just think your family relationships are at the core – the root of everything emotionally and developmentally for the rest of your life. And healing them is where you heal yourself. Then you can help out in your community. Because if things are not going well at home, how can you keep up? Of course, there are dynamics in other families where you have to cut people off and that’s the healthiest thing to do. But for me, it’s important to try to be the peacekeeper.

By setting limits:
I stopped googling myself a long time ago and I don’t read comments. So if I’m on social media, I post and I ghost. I’m not going to open the door and invite the whole world to comment on how they think I should live my life. I have a good group of trusted friends, I have a therapist, and we have a couples therapist, which is really helpful. I am therefore very careful to let in the energy of others.

At the end :
I really try not to stay up after 10 p.m. because I know my baby will be up at 6 a.m. Whether I put him to bed at seven, eight or nine o’clock, at 6 o’clock in the morning, she is up. So I have to count down the hours from there. The clock is turning.

By being recognized while she was going out with her daughter:
We do a lot of lessons mom and I. This morning I was with her at a ballet class, and this woman said, “Oh my God, you look so much like Katy Perry.” And I was like, “Hey, nice to meet you. I care about my child and take him to class. I became a member of all the museums — we go to the zoo, the natural history museum, the children’s museum. It’s my new club.

During his residency in Vegas, To play:
I wanted to do a show that could only be seen in one place, this state-of-the-art theater in Las Vegas. And it gave me more creative advantages than ever before. I had to use new technologies and different accessories that I couldn’t take on tour. You couldn’t ship a 20ft toilet on a bus, boat or plane.

The show was inspired by a few movies I watched with my nieces. During quarantine, we did outdoor movie nights with my family, and we stapled a sheet and screened movies and TV shows and took turns choosing what to watch. I have chosen Honey, I reduced the children and Peewee Playhouse. It made me think of larger than life objects and inanimate objects that come to life. I always like to play. I like my show to make people happy, joyful and nostalgic, and it’s kind of a journey. You feel like you’re on mushrooms when you see it. A lot of people think, “Next time, I’m going to microdose. And I’m like, “You don’t even need to, but you do.”

Take time for yourself:
I love massages that hurt you so well, where you’re in pain for two days afterwards. I do intense physiotherapy after shows. The way I treat myself is just spending time alone, which is rare when you have young children and a career. Sometimes I go for a drive. I also like to ride a bike. Even when I’m touring around the world, I often get to places on my bike. The best way to see a city is by bike. All your senses come alive. You feel, you hear, you can stop at any time. I like to have a coffee and an empanada and just drink my coffee and eat my empanada while I’m on my bike. People recognize me, but the moment they say to themselves, “Is that…? Who was…?” I’ve already left.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

About Maria Hunter

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