Katy Perry is on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue, and inside, the pop star opens up about her conservative Christian upbringing, saying her first experience with her music idols was when her family would protest their concerts.

While the 32-year-old burst onto the scene with the suggestive hit I Kissed A Girl in 2008, her early years were spent living with born again Christian parents, and her exposure to pop culture was limited.

"My house was church on Sunday morning, church on Sunday night, church on Wednesday evening; you don't celebrate Halloween; Jesus gives you your Christmas presents; we watch Bill O'Reilly on TV. That was my whole childhood and youth and early teens," she tells Vogue .

"The schools were really makeshift. Education was not the first priority. My education started in my 20s, and there is so much to learn still."


Perry's upbringing saw her banned from interacting with gay people and living under what she calls "generational racism".

"But I came out of the womb asking questions, curious from day one, and I am really grateful for that: My curiosity has led me here. Anything I don't understand, I will just ask questions about. I still have conditioned layers dropping off of me by the day," she says.

Katy Hudson a.k.a Katy Perry poses during a portrait session in 2002. Photo / Getty
Katy Hudson a.k.a Katy Perry poses during a portrait session in 2002. Photo / Getty

Incredibly, for a woman who now counts Madonna as a friend, her first exposure to the Queen of Pop came when she protested her concerts. Instead, Christian singer Amy Grant was her favourite singer as a child.

"I miss references all the time. [Christian singer] Amy Grant was our Madonna. We knew about Madonna and Marilyn Manson in my family because we picketed their concerts," she says.

Perry was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton's election campaign, and elsewhere in the interview she appears to throw some subtle shade at her pop enemy Taylor Swift, who posed for a remarkably similar Vogue cover of her own exactly one year before.

Swift has copped a backlash in recent months for her refusal to publicly support a Presidential candidate - and for not participating in the Women's Marches in the wake of the US election result.

"I don't think you have to shout it from the rooftops but I think you have to stand for something, and if you're not standing for anything, you're really just serving yourself, period, end of story."

"Fluffy stuff would be completely inauthentic to who I am now and what I've learned. We need a little escapism, but I think that it can't all be that. If you have a voice you have a responsibility to use it now, more than ever," she says.