Katy Perry: "I could never really dream this life up"

She may be one of the biggest superstars on the planet but, as Katy Perry will tell you, this wasn’t always the case.

If Katy Perry attended your school, what do you think she’d be like? Would she be the dorky teen with the braces like her character in her film clip “Last Friday Night”? Could she be known for daydreaming in lands filled with candy and fairy-floss? Or perhaps she’d win the end-of-year award for heading up the glitterati.

It may come as a surprise that none of those things are true. Katy (real name Katheryn Hudson) was just a regular, teenage girl like you. Yep, she went to parties, she had arguments with her friends; she certainly fell in and out of love and was teased.

"I was the class clown's assistant,” says Katy. "That's what I was in high school. I mean, they called me 'over-the-shoulder boulder holder,' and I wasn't that cute. I looked like a square ­– a rectangle, actually – because I was going through my teenage awkward phase." But, as the now-superstar puts it, all those growing-up experiences helped her become the strong confident woman she is today. “Sometimes you have to go through all this sh*t to get your grips on life,” says Katy. “You have to go through the mud in order to find that peaceful place.”

So, next time you think your whole world’s crashing down, think about teenage Katy and how she, too, (in between several different hairstyles) felt all of the feels. We spoke to her about some of them and her road to finding who she really was.

When you were 15-years-old, you were a normal teen, until a record label approached you...

“I was in Santa Barbara and started working at an antique store and then started making trips to Los Angeles because what happened was when I was still making the Christian records, I met a guy who was a producer. And you know how you just have to hustle every single time, like when you’re out with your friends and someone goes ‘I know this producer and he wants to meet you’ you just bounce, you just leave your friends and you just go. I ended up knocking on this producer’s door and told my father to stay in his car because I was a student driver. I was 17, and I brought my guitar in, that was my motivation at the time, and I played him a song that I had written.”

Did you ever think you were going to be this successful?

“I had no idea it was gonna have this type of run. I could never really dream this up but I was a consistent little girl.”

What advice do you offer to young songwriters when they’re struggling with who they are and staying true to yourself?

“Some people don’t know what they’re doing. I knew what I was doing. I was the head of my ship but I had an incredible crew of sailors around me who would help me day-in and day-out and would listen to [my] opinions. I think to have a team or a Board that can help you figure out if what you’re doing is good [is so important].”

For more from our interview with Katy Perry, grab our October issue on sale now!