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How Katy Perry Became America's Top Pop Export
YOU PROBABLY SAW the moment when Katy Perry ascended to icon status: this past Feb. 1, when she rode into the middle of University of Phoenix Stadium on an audio-animatronic lion for a 12-minute, four-outfit performance that generated as much buzz as the Super Bowl itself, down to the “Left Shark” meme spawned by the lackadaisical performance of a dancer in a predator suit.

Perhaps the most surprising part about the show and its aftermath is the fact that Perry didn’t have a specific product to sell (though she tried trademarking Left Shark). Unlike many recent halftime headliners, there was no new album or U.S. concerts to push–she’d already wrapped up the North American leg of her tour, and most of her international dates were sold out.

What it was, Perry realized from the onset, was a branding moment. “It took her from being a big star to the stratosphere,” says Jensen. He reports that since the Super Bowl, Perry’s team has been receiving about two to three big-ticket business opportunities a week from endorsements to joint ventures to movie roles, nearly double what she was getting last year. She still turns down the vast majority of them, but occasionally one strikes her fancy and she takes the plunge. This fall she’ll debut an eponymous mobile app via Glu, the startup that created Kim Kardashian’s wildly successful game; for her efforts she’ll receive a seven-figure advance and share in the revenues. She also became the face of fashion brand Moschino’s new line, and filmed a commercial for Toyota in Thailand.

There are other perks to being in the stratosphere. “I don’t feel like my career is a ticking time bomb,” says Perry. “I don’t feel like I’ll always have to be feeding the meter of show business. I got my spot, yo.”

That means Perry, who has been striving endlessly since she was a teenager, can “park for a minute.” As her tour winds down, she’s building in some vacation time “to live life and have life experiences that influence my music.” And fittingly for this woman who hadn’t left North America until she was old enough to vote, that means trips to Peru (she wants to see Machu Picchu) and Cuba–the kind of places that should keep her on the Celebrity 100 for years to come.