I spent a good couple of years disliking Taylor Swift. In high school, I thought the adorable, curly-haired country crooner was a sweetheart. But as she made the transition to sexy pop songstress (and subsequent gossip column mainstay), I just could not get behind it. I mean, no one is that perky and cute all the time. When Swift released 1989 late last year, I resisted it for months. “Shake It Off” was my least favorite song of 2014.
Then spring came, and everything changed. Seriously. I began reading interviews Swift gave, and she came across as intelligent, funny, and—dare I say it—relatable. I realized that I, too, need a heavy dose of “Swiftamine”:
Last month I finally downloaded her album and have listened to it basically every day since. Her lyrical genius is getting me through my recent breakup—I play “All You Had To Do Was Stay” on repeat all day errday. And “Shake It Off” suddenly has new meaning, empowering me to shake off the past and move forward.
I’ve realized that T. Swift and I are more alike than I’ve ever cared to admit. She’s the ultimate every girl, a woman so many of us can relate to. Let me count the ways:
01. She stands up for what she believes in.
She penned an open letter to Apple, telling the company she would withhold her album from its new streaming service and asking it to reconsider paying artists during their free three-month trial period.
Guess what? Apple reversed its decision and agreed to Swift’s request. Artists everywhere have praised Swift. She herself doesn’t need the money from Apple, but plenty of indie artists do. This decision could help those in other industries, too, such as freelance writers and designers who also want to get paid for their work. Three cheers for Taylor.
02. She’s living out her dreams in New York City.
How many people think about heading off to the Big City to live their dreams? As a fellow 25-year-old who left home to move to New York City, I like her gumption. Sure, Taylor lives in a $5.5 million Tribeca loft and was already a star when she arrived, whereas I’m in an east side apartment with two other roomies. Despite this, Taylor’s description of the Big Apple in “Welcome To New York” couldn’t more accurately describe my own experience: “Like any great love, it keeps you guessing. Like any real love, it’s ever-changing. Like any true love, it drives you crazy. But you know you wouldn’t change anything, anything, anything.”
03. She confidently rocks high heels, even though she’s already 5 feet 10 inches.
For further proof, see Taylor’s extensive collection of pumps, strappy sandals, and brogues here. Taylor’s confidence in heels encourages me to rock them, too—regardless of the height of the men around me. I’m tall and lanky, but sometimes I love a good pair of heels. Standing at six feet tall in heels makes me feel both powerful and womanly. Plus, they make my legs look darn good.
04. She’s an unabashed girlie girl.
The über-feminine Taylor knows what works for her: romantic fabrics, soft hues, and flouncy dresses. The girl’s got style. She nails the red lip every time, and her manicure is always on-point. As a fellow long-bob enthusiast, I say props to Taylor for taking a risk in chopping her hair. IMHO, she’s never looked better than with her chic shorter ’do.
05. She knows the importance of female friendships.
Taylor and Karlie. Taylor and Selena. Taylor and Lena. The list goes on and on, and her “Bad Blood” music video is proof.
As much as I hate the term “squad,” I have to admit that I also have one of my own. Hear me out. My girls are not supermodels or actresses, yet they’re just as beautiful and fabulous. They’re single, dating, married, moms, and they each offer a unique perspective and gift as friends. These ladies have done everything from joining me at 7 a.m. dance parties to offering a shoulder to cry on after a bad breakup. (And once you use the hashtag #sisterpackforever, it’s safe to say you’ve officially crossed into squad territory.)
06. She throws baby showers for her besties.
As the godmother of Jaime King’s soon-to-be baby, Taylor threw her friend a star-studded baby shower. She’s thoughtful and generous, and she enjoys a good party.
Helping to throw baby showers for two of my girlfriends is one of my favorite memories of the past year. Nothing compares to celebrating the gift of new life, especially as a pseudo-aunt. I will happily watch their sweet new babies anytime.
07. She’s a feminist.
I agree with Swift that feminism is wanting women to have the same opportunities as men. Tay said it best in an interview with Cosmo UK: “Why is it mischievous, fun, and sexy if a guy has a string of lovers that he’s cast aside; loved and left? Yet, if a woman dates three or four people in an eight-year period, she is a serial dater, and it gives some 12-year-old the idea to call her a ‘slut’ on the Internet? It’s not the same for boys. It just isn’t, and that’s a fact.”
Inequality is absolutely still an issue for men and women. Not just when it comes to sex and dating—look at the fact that men are quoted more than women in serious journalism pieces or that there is a lower proportion of women in STEM careers. I’d like to see women have the same opportunities as men, and I’m glad that a woman as influential as Swift is speaking up for that as well.
08. She’s become stronger after heartbreak.
“Different phases of your life have different levels of deep, traumatizing heartbreak,” Swift told Rolling Stone. Truth. The heartbreak I experienced right out of college was completely different than the kind I recently experienced at 25. This time around, it’s deep and painful, so I can understand why Swift would want to enjoy the single life for a while. In that same Rolling Stone interview, she said she had not gone on a date for more than a year and a half (she’s currently seeing Calvin Harris).
“I feel like watching my dating life has become a bit of a national pastime,” Swift said. “And I’m just not comfortable providing that kind of entertainment anymore . . . Most of all, I don’t like how all these factors add up to build the pressure so high in a new relationship that it gets snuffed out before it even has a chance to start. And so I just don’t date.” (That goes for hooking up as well. “I just think it’s pointless if you’re not in love,” she said. “And I don’t have the energy to be in love right now. So, no.”)
During her “single” era, Swift released the bestselling album of the year. Safe to say that her breakups didn’t keep her down for long.
09. She writes songs that touch us.
I have never related so much to an album as I do to 1989 (well, except maybe Spice in 1996.) Every song resonates with me in some way or another. “All You Had To Do Was Stay” and “I Wish You Would” are my jams right now. I also think “Clean” is one of the most beautiful songs she’s ever created.
10. She’s an emoji.
Taylor has the surprise face down pat:
But the blushing, squinty-eyed smiley face? That’s totally me.