Katy Perry appears on the cover of Sunday's Parade (Matt Jones)
"I think if people walked out of the theater and that was completely avoided, they would be like, 'Well, there's an elephant in the room that's still there,'" Perry, 27, tells Parade. "I like to go out there looking like a strong woman, because I am strong. But I am also a woman who goes through all kinds of problems and highs and lows. I wanted to show the complete spectrum."
Her divorce after only 14 months of marriage — which will be finalized on July 14 — isn't the only part of her personal life Perry is showing in the 3-D flick, which opens July 5. "There are a lot of things that are personally uncomfortable to show, especially me without makeup and completely bloated or crying. But I've realized that it's time for me to show my audience that you don't have to be perfect to achieve your dreams," she says. "Because nobody relates to being perfect ... I'm okay with having bad dance moves. I'm okay with having horrible lower teeth. That's what makes me me, and for some reason it's worked out all right."
Perry also sings about her heartbreak in hew new song, "Wide Awake," which is already being touted as the song of summer 2012. "With songs, I've always pledged to be honest. I write my songs because I've lived them," Perry says. Her musical collaborator Bonnie McKee adds, "Katy and I sat down, opened a bottle of wine, and I just said, 'What are you feeling? Let's get raw about it.' When we wrote 'Teenage Dream,' it was really about your first love and how magical that is. I think Russell made her feel that way again, and she felt she had found the person she was going to spend the rest of her life with. And when that didn't turn out to be what she'd hoped, it kind of made sense to talk about waking up."
For the Parade cover shoot, Perry also slips into a slinky red halter dress and poses with members of the military — after all, while she is celebrating her personal independence, the "California Gurls" singer, who is now dating Florence + the Machine guitarist Robert Ackroy, is aware that the upcoming holiday is much bigger than that. "Not to sound overly cheesy but I really appreciate the freedom we have in America — especially as a female," she says.
And, although she was raised conservative (her parents are Christian ministers), Perry says she was elated when President Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage. "I was really happy; I probably went down to West Hollywood and had a shot," she shares. "I came from a different mind-set growing up, and my mind has changed. My viewpoint on all these things — equality for women, the choice to love anyone you want — hopefully, we will look back at this moment and think like we do now concerning [other] civil rights issues. We'll just shake our heads in disbelief, saying, 'Thank God we've evolved.' That would be my prayer for the future."
Read Perry's full interview in Sunday's Parade magazine.
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