A transformed Taylor Swift opens up about old flames and coping with fame
THE SINGER TALKS OLD FLAMES AND COPING WITH FAME
Anyone who doubts Taylor Swift is in the middle of a reinvention need look no further than the first track from her forthcoming album Reputation. ‘I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now,’ she sings in Look What You Made Me Do. ‘Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead!’
So who is Taylor 2.0? Older and more mature, these days she’s not against the odd racy lyric and is even known to rap – as we saw in her second single Ready for It?. Stepping further out of her comfort zone, she played a sexy cyborg in the music video for Gorgeous.
But there’s still a few Taylor trademarks to be found, with some fans believing they’ve found a few cryptic references to her nemeses – look out, Kanye West and Katy Perry!
The 27-year-old songstress admits she’s had to build a thick skin after more than 10 years in the headlines. ‘Ugh. I’ve had people say really hurtful things about me,’ she confesses, adding, ‘There are a lot of really easy ways to dispel rumours. If they say you are pregnant, all you have to do is continue to not be pregnant and not have a baby.’
A secret baby was just one of the rumours that circulated when Taylor stepped away from the spotlight for a year. But the truth is, she was simply taking a well-
deserved break following the world tour for her album 1989 – which has broken numerous records and made Tay the only artist to have three albums sell one million copies in a single week. ‘I decided I was going to live my life a little bit without the pressure on myself to create something,’ she says of her hiatus.
Along the way, she’s found love (this is Taylor after all!), but unlike past high-profile relationships, her one-year romance with British actor Joe Alwyn, 26, has been decidedly low-key. Better yet, it sounds like Joe might be a keeper, according to Tay’s bestie Ed Sheeran, who confirms, ‘He’s really nice. Really, really friendly, really good dude.’
Not that Tay’s going to have much time on her hands in the coming months. With Reputation coming out on November 10 and a new tour to boot, there’s certainly going to be lots more to talk about in the coming months. Watch this (blank) space! You are one of the most talked about artists in the world. Is it hard being part of a narrative you can’t always control? If you let your anxiety get the better of you, like everybody’s waiting for you to really mess up, then you’ll be done. A lot of the time I call my mum and talk for a really long time, just to remind myself of all the things that are great.
There have been times when you’ve been forced to reclaim credit for your achievements. Is this a problem you feel women encounter? I guess what I wanted to call attention to in my speech at the Grammys was how it’s going to be difficult if you’re a woman who wants to achieve something in her life – no matter what.
You’ve also spoken about slut-shaming. Did you find difficult hard to deal with as a young up-and-coming star? You know, I went out on a normal amount of dates in my early twenties, and I got absolutely slaughtered for it. And it took a lot of hard work and altering my decisionmaking. I didn’t date for two-and-a-half years. Should I have had to do that? No.
You had a unique way of dealing with bullies as a kid… When I was bullied in school, my mum used to take me to TJ Maxx after school to look at the opal jewellery. I thought opals were beautiful, and somehow it made me feel better. We never bought them, just looked.
You’re known for your squad of famous pals including Selena Gomez and Lena Dunham. Who’s the best at giving advice? Gigi [Hadid] is one of the first people I go to for advice. She has this incredible ability to see all sides of a situation and simplify it for you.
You’ve also been a bridesmaid for two of your childhood friends [Britany Maack and Abigail Anderson]. Was it weird seeing people you’ve grown up with get married? It’s such a surreal, emotional thing. When you’re a little kid, you’re riding the same roads to school every single day, hundreds of times. When you come back, you snap into that strange nostalgia.
For all the headlines, you’ve managed to avoid any real scandal. Was that hard? It’s not about trying to be perfect. Not to try and sound like the good witch in The Wizard of Oz, but I want to do good things with what I have. I don’t think my brain could cook up shocking things for the sake of [it].
You had a win this year when DJ David Mueller was found guilty of sexually assaulting you. There seems to be all too many stories of women being victimised both in and out of show business… Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality.
Would you describe yourself as a committed feminist? When I used to say, ‘Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar,’ it was because, when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman.
What do you still want to achieve? I really want an honorary doctorate degree because Ed Sheeran has one and I feel like he looks down on me now because I don’t have one! [Laughs]
I went out on a normal amount of dates and got slaughtered for it