"I wanted to be that quirky girl who writes funny songs that still have meaning," said Katy Perry, looking back on her life before she became one of the world's most famous women.
It's safe to say the California dreamer achieved her goal...
Born Katheryn Hudson in Santa Barbara, California, Katy was raised by deeply religious – and strict – parents, and honed her musical talent while singing in church choirs as a youngster.
But for a girl whose mum and dad didn't allow her to watch MTV when she was growing up, she sure knows her way around a catchy, big-chorused pop song.
The brunette songstress burst into the big time in May 2008 with her cheeky anthem I Kissed A Girl
, and a kitsch, fun, girly image that the music world had been crying out for for years.
However, the song nearly didn't get released. "[My record company] said, ‘We don’t see it as a single; we don’t want it on the album’. And I was like, ‘You guys are idiots’," Katy has said. "I always try and make a lasting impression and I work very hard. My father has a saying, ‘You can’t be a flash in the pan’."
Thanks to the savvy singer's determination, the song became a worldwide smash hit. It was the same tactic she employed to land herself a record deal in the first place. She didn't hit the big time until she was 23.
"I had a very strong vision and some record companies didn’t like that, but I waited for the right one and took a chance. I was lucky because it doesn’t always pay off."
Katy had actually already recorded an album; a self-titled Gospel rock offering that flopped. After the experience she changed her surname to Perry – believing that Katy Hudson sounded too much like the Hollywood actress Kate Hudson – and set off for a career-making move to the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Her major-label debut album One Of The Boys
– which she described as her "baby" - followed suit, and singles Hot n Cold
and Waking Up In Vegas
stormed the charts.
She worked tirelessly promoting the record and touring, before releasing her follow-up album Teenage Dream
in 2010. The kooky star, as ever, had her personality stamped all over the CD. The cover art was a portrait of her lying naked on a candy floss cloud, and the disc itself was candy floss-scented. Lead single California Gurls
– on which she collaborated with West Coast rap mogul Snoop Dogg - was another summer anthem, which she followed with singles Teenage Dream
Katy's life had changed considerably in the time between her two albums, though, and this was apparent in her music. "My new songs are a little bit more mature," she revealed. "I know how to handle boys now. Actually, I don't even mess with boys anymore, I mess with men."
And not just any old men. She had got engaged to British bad boy comic Russell Brand. "When he was filming Get Him to the Greek
, I did a cameo with him," she has said. "My scene called for me to make out with him. And on the way down the stairs after the scene, I was hopping like a bunny. I hop like a bunny when I'm happy - I get a bit childlike."
The scene was cut from the final movie, but in September 2009 their onscreen passion bubbled over into real life, and the two embarked upon a relationship after their paths crossed once more at the MTV Video Music Awards.
It was no secret that notorious womanizer – and former heroin addict and alcoholic – Russell had a soft spot for Katy. "Katy Perry didn't win an award and she's staying at the same hotel as me, so she's going need a shoulder to cry on. So in a way, I'm the real winner tonight," he joked to the audience.
The couple began quietly dating, and got engaged just four months into their relationship after Russell staged a romantic, extravagant proposal in India over New Year.
On October 23, 2010, just two days before the bride's 26th birthday, the couple tied the knot in a sumptuous ceremony involving elephants, camels and horses in India - at the Aman-e-Khas resort outside the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary.
"The very private and spiritual ceremony, attended by the couple's closest family and friends, was performed by a Christian minister and long time friend of the Hudson Family," said a spokesman for the couple.
It certainly seems as if they are made for each other. "I have always been this character, but I kind of cartoon-ized myself a little bit," says Katy. "So when someone really likes me, it's like here comes a person! I wonder if you can handle this.
"There's got to be respect. For me, that's hard because it's easy for me to steamroll guys. I need a man who tells me the party's over, that it's time to go home, because [we] have to work in the morning.
"I'm excited to find a partner who can just be my teammate."
In Russell, it seems, the future Mrs Brand has found just that.