This Is Why Katy Perry Doesn't Surround Herself With "Yes" People
The superstar drops a new fragrance, Mad Potion, and dishes on what makes her team so slick.
Katy Perry has a formula for success ... and fragrances.
The global pop music and fashion phenom — recently ranked by Forbes as No. 3 on this year’s Celebrity 100 list (behind prize fighters Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio) for jaw-dropping pretax earnings of $135 million over 12 months — has applied her custom blueprints to every aspect of her decade-long career. And she’s not shy about distributing credit where it’s due.
We caught up with the 30-year-old in a corner room in the basement of Hollywood’s iconic Magic Castle which hosted a press event on Wednesday night for the release of Perry’s latest fragrance, Mad Potion (more on that later). Quizzed about her wildly successful year (Prismatic World Tour, Super Bowl performance, Moschino and H&M campaigns, and on and on), Miss Katherine Elizabeth "Katy" Hudson cites her longtime management team.
"They are a group of people with varying opinions that are not 'yes' people and are strong in their certain fields that maybe I’m not strong in, which is great because if you are going to build a team, build a team with people who are smarter in other areas than you’re smart in," Perry tells THR, dressed in a lacy Libertine dress that complemented the magical setting and her Mad Potion-vibe perfectly. "We’re a real collaborative team and they’re not afraid of voicing their opinions."
Not all artists — or human beings for that matter — are as fortunate to be surrounded by a team of trusted individuals. No need to mention that to Perry though, because she makes the point first. "I don’t even want to compare myself but I just saw the Amy documentary," she says, referencing the heartbreaking Asif Kapadia film about the rise and tragic fall of Amy Winehouse, a singular talent who got lost in addiction due in part to what many have argued was a sea of enablers and opportunists. "The people you place around you are so integral in surviving and having a great career."
There’s another group crucial to Perry's longevity in the biz — her ride-or-die devotees, the self-described KatyCats. The fans are frenetic on Twitter and have helped Perry rack up 73 million followers. So it’s not shocking to see Perry’s perfume partner Coty wisely team up with Twitter to be the first fragrance to sell directly to fans on the platform through a Twitter pop-up shop.
"(KatyCats) are so honest on (Twitter) because they think most of the time I’m not seeing it," Perry explains. "They think they are anons, in a way, but really I’m seeing it and I’m absorbing that and taking that in mind, especially with products. I like to take the temperature of what’s going on in the world and social media is so great for that."
For better or worse, it’s also a place for feuds. However, for fear of steering too far away from Perry’s Mad Potion promotion, we opted not to ask her about the current Taylor Swift drama. Instead, we offered a quick question about another news story involving her bid to buy a convent in Los Feliz from the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart, but she didn't bite. "It's not an appropriate subject to talk about for a beauty story," she says. Fair enough.
How about these other fragrance fun facts instead? Perry’s first boyfriend wore the delicious Acqua di Gio; her first memory of smell was a powder fresh diaper; she’ll never put on a lab coat in a perfume lab ("I’m not going to do that unless I’m a chemist"); and she never puts her name on anything without a personal touch ("I’m highly and annoyingly involved in everything I do").
The latter obviously applies to Mad Potion ($30), described as a "spellbinding" mix of vanilla and musk. Perry says she knew the latest edition to her fragrance empire had to be that scent combo "from the get" and that she wanted the bottle to be a keepsake. "I remember going to the mall and seeing the Jean-Paul Gaulthier bottles,” she recalls. “I want to keep them after the juice is gone."
Speaking of juice, Perry concludes that she's currently in her personal "research and development phase," during which time she gets real, escaping to the shadows of the limelight in an effort to recharge her creative batteries by living life. Lather, rinse, repeat.
"Before (signing) a contract, I ask myself, 'Can I continue in this creative way?' " she details, before declaring something that will certainly please those KatyCats. "That’s what it is about a creative person — their faucet is always flowing and you can never really turn that off. I enjoy doing different branches of my career like this or having a say in that or being an ambassador to that. None of that would really exist well if there weren’t the root of the music, but as long as I’m creative and my creative faucet is continually flowing then I will continue to do stuff like this."
And, of course, continue to inspire the world with her colorful ways. "I do whatever," Perry laughs about her wild style. "I hope it's always fun. I'm never bored."
It's a formula that's obviously working.