Following the arguably disappointing release of Katy Perry’s fourth pop album Witness, the “woke” pop star took to YouTube for a four-day livestream event where fans can witness the the lesser seen side of her life. One highlight of the stream so far: Perry crying while confessing she changed her appearance because she doesn’t want to be Katy Perry any more.
It’s a twisted scene to watch and reminiscent of other pop stars’ mental health moments: from Lady Gaga revealing she has PTSD and insisting that she just wants to be her father’s daughter to Britney Spears literally snatching her own weave right off her head in 2007 to escape the on-camera life.
“I guess I’m really strong as Katy Perry,” she told Viceland’s Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh from The Therapist on Saturday. “Sometimes I’m not as strong as Katheryn Hudson.” Katheryn Hudson is the name she grew up with before taking a stage name.
“People talk about my hair, right? And they don’t like it or they wish that it was longer. I so badly want to be Katheryn Hudson that I don’t even want to look like Katy Perry sometimes, and that is a little bit of why I cut my hair.”
Katy Perry — or Katheryn, rather — goes on to admit that she’s had suicidal thoughts and been haunted by personal demons, which she knows her alter ego, Katy the character, would never have.
“It’s hard because I’m ashamed, because of course Katy Perry’s so strong. But it’s hard because I’m ashamed that I would even have those thoughts or feel that low or that depressed,” she told the doctor.
The sudden change of character may be just that: a change of character.
It’s not surprising that the next day, Sunday, The Guardian released an interview with the star that aligns perfectly with this image: Katy Perry is tired and real and not really Katy Perry. She even pulls a line from Lady Gaga’s viral Born This Way Foundation speech, saying she created this character for protection.
“A lot of people are living in fear from something that happened in their childhood, or some form of PTSD they picked up along the way, and I created this wonderful character called Katy Perry that I very much am, and can step into all the time, but I created that character out of protection,” she told The Guardian.
“I was scared that if you saw me, Katheryn Hudson, the girl wearing the Bioré strip on my nose, you’d be like, ‘that’s not glamorous’. It was me going, ‘OK, I’ve been upset my whole childhood so I’m going to show the world I am something, that I am going to do something and that I am enough’. I didn’t want to be Katheryn Hudson. I hated that, it was too scary for me, so I decided to be someone else.”
Watch: Lady Gaga says she invented her own character to express her pain and overcome depression
Katy’s recent remarks about Britney Spears and her infamous breakdown, her attempt to promote “woke pop” before releasing just pop, and her ongoing discussion of the previously dormant Taylor Swift feud might make it hard to believe she’s being genuine, but let’s look at the facts:
One out of five people reading this, including kids, struggles or has struggled with a mental health disorder.
Whether this is another industry marketing trick or Katheryn Hudson introducing her true self to her audience for the first time, the message is impactful. Mental health affects at least 18% of adults and 22% of teenagers in America, and that’s not including those who have yet to have an assessment or receive a diagnosis. When left untreated or undiagnosed, adults suffering from a serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than those who are “healthy” or are in treatment.
An increase in mental health spokespeople, especially celebrities, is necessary to help educate more people who may be unknowingly suffering from a mental illness. Oftentimes, we may label ourselves as pessimistic or as having an anger problem, etc., when the underlying issue is much bigger than a negative personality trait. By sharing her own experiences with such a large audience varying in age, gender, and location, Katy Perry (and others) may actually be contributing to a percentage of the world population living longer, happier, and more productive lives.
Even if she’s putting on a show, the takeaway is important: life is hard, you never know what someone might be going through, and a little compassion goes a long way.
What do you think about Katy Perry’s recent confessions? Can you relate to the singer’s struggles? Do you think she’s truly suffering, or could she be pandering? Let us know in the comments below.