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How Katy Perry Became America's Top Pop Export
“I like to dress up and be Katy Perry when it’s appropriate, when I’m promoting something,” she explains, leading me into a conference room alone and hopping onto a semi-circular white couch. “But I’m Katheryn Hudson on the business side.”

Hudson is her real name. Born in Santa Barbara, Calif., Perry later took her mother’s maiden name to avoid confusion with the actress Kate Hudson. Her parents, born-again Christian ministers who constantly relocated while preaching at different churches, had little money, and Perry recalls a stretch when the family ate exclusively from a food bank. Her parents’ religious fervor was such that mentioning “the forces of evil” at home was forbidden. That meant no Lucky Charms cereal or even deviled eggs. Today they fully support her career, even if they don’t love her songs or provocativeness. “There’s a real agree-to-disagree vibe,” says Perry.