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Katy Perry Is Happy to Be in Her 30s, Having Learned ‘Everything Doesn’t Have to End in Marriage’

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With the Met Gala now less than three weeks away, we know you’re anxious to see the A-list guests, the over-the-top dresses and all the super avant-garde Comme des Garçons ensembles populating the much-anticipated exhibit honoring the brand’s designer, Rei Kawakubo. Well, Vogue‘s May issue is just the thing you need to hold you over until May 1. This year’s co-chair, Katy Perry, graces the cover wearing Comme des Garçons’ architectural, artistic and yes, sometimes wacky runway looks throughout the entire spread.

Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott/Vogue

Styled by the legendary Grace Coddington, Perry models pieces from Comme des Garçons’ runway collections spanning from 2005 to 2017 each more eye-catching than the next. (Which has us imagining what she’ll wear for her big moment on May 1 – and wondering how she’ll possibly get up the grand staircase in these restricting designs.)

“Let me know when Zoolander 3 starts shooting,” Perry joked on the set of the shoot, but added seriously: “These clothes, honestly, are walking pieces of art. It’s the redefinition of sex; the sex of the mind.”

Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott/Vogue

In the interview, she recalls her strict and sheltered childhood with her evangelical Christian pastor parents, saying that her schools were “makeshift,” her days were filled with church and watching Bill O’Reilly and she only knew of Madonna and Marilyn Manson because her family “picketed their concerts.”

But from an early age she had an innate sense of style. In sixth grade she asked for a fake leopard-fur $175 vintage coat for Christmas and Jesus (not Santa Claus, to be clear) brought it to her that year. “All the kids made fun of me,” she says. “But I knew I was doing something right when the hot moms came over to me at school and were like, ‘Where did you get that coat, sweetie?'”

These days she’s trying to get away from her cartoony style image, opting for fewer “cutesy” clothes and more “androgynous, architectural” pieces. “I am happy to be another interpretation of myself,” she explains.

She’s been fully delivering on that, making dramatic hair changes on the regular, from going platinum, to getting a pixie, to recently trimming it even shorter (it’s practically a step away from a buzz cut now!).

RELATED PHOTOS: Celeb Hair Makeovers: Better Before or After?

While her working style is getting more and more experimental, she goes super low-key off the clock in an Adidas tracksuit and Stan Smiths, which she wears daily to make paparazzi shots less desirable. “When I am on, I am on,” Perry says. “And when I am not, I’ve got a different job to do. Even if you’re wearing a scarf, you’re an advertisement, and the music is the thing that I am selling.”

These days she says she’s at peace with being in her 30s and where she’s at in her career. “It’s a nice place to be,” she says of being 32. “I love it! I wouldn’t give anything to go back to my 20s; I’m so much more grounded. And I’ve learned a lot of lessons—patience, the art of saying no, that everything doesn’t have to end in marriage. That your education can start now.”

And after the breakout success of Teenage Dream in 2010, she finally feels like she can slow down a bit. “I blasted off on a rocket, holding on for dear life,” she says. “But I had so much ambition and determination, and that’s what kept me going. The rocket was riding me for a bit, but now I am riding the rocket.”

You can pick up the May issue on newsstands April 25 or order it on Amazon here. And be sure to check back here on Met Gala Monday for in-depth red carpet coverage.

What do you think of Perry’s cover? What do you think she’ll wear to the Met Gala?