A couple of weeks before the release of her fifth album Witness, Katy Perry sat down with perhaps the only journalist who'll ever ask about her hula-hooping skills and favorite snacks. Her name is Poppy Browne, and she is a 7-year-old second grader at Village Community School in New York City. Other writers may have salacious questions about Perry's most recent break-up or all the bad blood with [Taylor Swift](Taylor Swift) or whatever it is that tabloids are interested in these days, but Poppy, the daughter of W's features director Alix Browne, just wants to know what Perry's favorite song was when she was 7—Poppy's favorite is "Firework," by the way—and how the singer picks her outfits when she's feeling blue. Also, can she roller skate? Take it away, Poppy!
Hi Poppy! Oh my goodness! Look at all these things in your hands! You look so cool! And I like the glitter on your eyes, and the lucky horseshoe, and the tie-dye. Oh, and the nails. Who did these nails?
Honey! The same girl who did my nails!
I know. Do you want a sticker?
Yeah, I’d love a sticker. Do you wanna put it on me? I want this one. I love a big star, you know. Makeup by Poppy! Credits on W Magazine! You’re so good. Oh, my goodness. I think this is definitely going to be one of my favorite interviews. I’m really nervous, actually because they might be like crazy questions. Or I won’t know which color to tell you that I like. What’s your favorite color?
Um, I have 3.
Okay, exactly! I have about three as well. So which ones are yours?
Pink, purple, and blue.
Mine are pink, a lavender, and a sky blue. So we’re basically twins. Okay Poppy, I want to hear everything you have to say.
So, here’s question one. How do you go about your outfits? Like, do you dress for how you feel or how the song is? Like if the song is sad you wear sort of blue-ish colors?
Actually, you’re pretty much right because whenever I wake up in the morning, I like to dress and represent exactly how I feel. So, sometimes I dress because I feel funny and I want to laugh a lot, sometimes I dress when I wanna flirt, you know, maybe with a boy or something like that. And then, sometimes I dress like I wanna fight, so I wanna look powerful, and sometimes I wanna dress like a very sophisticated lady. Do you know what I mean? And yes, it just depends on the song, so if the song is happy, or if it’s about food, for instance, I just put food all over my body.
Not like real food.
No, like, I’ve put real food over my body.
That is sort of crazy.
Yeah, I know, I’m kind of crazy. If you look up the word crazy in the dictionary, I’m like, kind of like to the left of it.
(Laughs) Okay. Next question. How do you get your inspiration for songs?
That’s a great question. I get my inspiration for songs from watching everybody else. So like, for instance, you know when you’re at school, and you go on the playground for recess, and all of your friends are doing all kinds of different things. One person is playing soccer, one person is playing tag, there’s a group of girls in the corner. Sometimes, I just sit back and I just watch all that go on, and make stories up about what’s happening in those different groups, or about those different people. I’ll make stories about people that I love, or I’ll make stories about people that’ve hurt my feelings, or I’ll make stories that are just for me. For instance, “Roar,” is because sometimes I get upset, right? And sometimes you need to like, cheer yourself up. How do you cheer yourself up?
I sort of just like hang out with my two little puppies?
Exactly! So I have a puppy that I love; her name is Nugget. And it’s just me and Nugget, and sometimes the way I cheer myself up is telling myself that it’s going to be Ok, I’m gonna get through whatever is going on, it’s all gonna be fine, right? And I sing a song about that.
Yeah! I like the video, too. Ok, third question. Why did you choose your puppy?
Well, I just, I love her so much, and she’s super tiny, and when I got her she was like the size of my hand, and for me, I like to have a puppy that I can just hold onto, you know, because I don’t have any kids yet, and I don’t have a boyfriend at the moment, and that’s all good and fine and that’ll all come in time, but for now, a really, really good companion is a little dog. Some people like really big dogs, but for me, I like little dogs so I can hold them like a baby, and then we can just cuddle all the time because I’m all about the cuddle.
My dogs are really crazy. They’re like pretty big.
Really? Do you pretend to ride them sometimes?
Sometimes. Yeah, maybe.
Just like, as a joke. Not really ride them, but you’re like (laughs) 'Let’s see!' You just put a saddle on them and then 'Yeehaw!'
Okay, fourth question. Were you a music lover since you were young?
Yeah. I started singing when I was nine years old because my older sister, she came home after a summer being with her godparents, who had a studio in their basement, and she recorded a song with them, and I was like 'Hold up, what?' And so I started practicing that song, and I showed it to my mom, and then she got me singing lessons. So I started singing at 9, and I’m just like, a little older than that now, so it just takes a lot of hard work, and a lot of time.
Do you like to have a lot of crazy stuff in the background when you perform?
Detail, dancers, costumes, fireworks, videos, displays, confetti, beautiful balloons! All these things? Yeah! Don’t you wanna see that?
Okay, question Poppy. What if you went to my show and it was just me on a stage and that’s it?
That would be really, really awkward!
Awkward. 'Uh, is anything happening? I mean, can something just happen?' You’d be like, 'What?' Where’s the frosting? Right?
Yeah. It’s basically like cake, but with no yummy frosting with a cherry on top!
I mean, where’s the cherry? Where’s the frosting? You’re not gonna just the bread. Of course, so I’m gonna bring all the icing, all the cherries, all of the confetti, all all all! Because I like to have fun and basically I feel like I’m 7 as well too.
Do you ever time to ever hang out in your house and be yourself?
Oh, my gosh. All the time. Sometimes it’s crazier times than others. Like for instance, right now, before I’m supposed to put out my next record, I'm preparing to release all these songs that I’ve been working on for years now. So it’s very exciting, very busy. But I love staying at home. I love watching documentaries. I love—by the way—my sister—she lives right next door to me and she has two little girls. One’s 3 and one’s like 8 months but I basically go over there and just hang out and we eat food. I guess I can say this now, for the first time, I’m always myself. I’m never not myself. Just because I can wear all these crazy costumes and I’ve got all this makeup and blah blah blah, I’m still me.
Ok. 7th question. Do you know how to hula-hoop?
I mean, basically. I kind of do. I’m not that great at it. But, are you?
I’m pretty good. I can hula-hoop on my arms and throw it up in the air and catch it with the other arm and still be hula-hooping.
Why don’t you go and join a circus then? Maybe someone needs to ask Poppy to join the circus. Are you ready Poppy?
Maybe not because I sort of have a bit of stage fright. It’s a bit hard for me to perform because sometimes I get really nervous. All the people are like watching you and I—
You know why they’re watching you? Because they’ve never seen someone so cool looking hula-hoop like that. Just like when you see something like at the zoo or like a parrot or like. It’s not like they’re looking at you for any other reason than like 'Oh my gosh, I’m seeing this for the first time.' You have to keep that in mind. If you wanted to hula-hoop for me, or sing or anything like that afterwards, I can turn around and just listen too. I love doing that.
Do you ever get nervous before you go on the stage?
Sure do. I still do. After all this time! I’m usually pretty prepared for all of my performances but sometimes I still get butterflies. I do get a little nervous just like you, especially when you’re trying to do something you’ve never done, like put out a new record that means a lot to you, you can get nervous. But you know how you’ve hula-hooped so many times and you’re like I’ve got this I can do this with my eyes closed. I have that same feeling
I can’t really do it with my eyes closed. So, can you roller-skate?
Holy skate, yeah! I can roller-skate backwards! Can you roller-skate backwards?
I can roller-skate backwards slow, and then I can also crouch down, then I can put one foot in front of me. I love roller-skating. I actually used to go roller-skating on Tuesday nights for Christian Skate night when I was your age. But it was different. Like I would go there to meet up with friends and like—like—like—talk to a boy, but not at your age. Probably I was like 13. 13 or 14. I was like 17. I love roller-skating. It’s a great workout. It’s a great way to like hang with your friends but still be moving and shaking.
It’s not like you’re just playing video games on the computer. Like really just like toot-toot ya-ya-ya-ya. I’ve got this, I’ve got this.
I get it. I like video games as well but roller-skating is much more fun.
You can just set your backpack down with all the things you need, a few snacks.
What kind of snacks are your favorite snacks though?
I sort of like cheese sticks with chips on top.
Cheese sticks with chips on top? Yeah. I love that. Cheese like you can scoop it. That’s bomb. That’s awesome.
Do you like gardening?
Do I like gardening?! Oh my goodness. I do like planting things. And you know what’s really fun at my house? I have a really big garden and then I get to eat the vegetables. And you know when you garden and you grow something like a flower it just looks so much prettier than just all the other flowers, because it feels like you did it yourself, or like if you grow a tomato it tastes so much more delicious. If you can make a salad from your own backyard that’s the coolest thing in the world.
I literally have a deck and an area where there’s nature on the other side.
And you’re not scared of worms?
I’m sort of freaked out by them. They’re still a bit freaky. They’re sorta freaky. I might touch them but they’re really slimy and they sort of freak me out. It’s not like they’re a butterfly just that—
Well you never know! Sometimes those worms they turn into butterflies. Basically.
Oh. Cool. Thanks.
Ok. Eleven. What was your favorite song when you were 7.
Oh, that’s a great question! My favorite song when I was seven was probably something from church like "Oh Happy Day!" [sings] Do you know that one? It’s different. It’s ok.
But it’s pretty. Well, I have a few favorite songs, but one of them is by you.
No way. Will you sing it? I’ll join you if you want me to. But you sing it first.
[Both sing "Firework"]
You did it! Thank you, Poppy. You sound great. That was awesome. I hope to see you on stage.