Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

WHEN Si­enna and Aisja Thomp­son (aged 10 and 12 years), Jett and Lizzie Slater (10 and 13) and Mitch Lloyd (14), took a hol­i­day from the Gold Coast to Hamil­ton Is­land last week, lit­tle did they know they’d meet su­per­star Tay­lor Swift.

The for­mer coun­try singer turned pop princess ar­rived on the is­land on Tues­day for a va­ca­tion with her fam­ily and the en­tire 125 cast and crew of her 1989 world tour.

When the five young friends dis­cov­ered she would also be singing at a pri­vate con­cert for just 100 peo­ple as part of Nova’s Red Room se­ries, they were de­ter­mined to track her down.

Set for Thurs­day night, is­land sources say the con­cert, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Nova, Qan­tas and Hamil­ton Is­land, was orig­i­nally sched­uled to take place at a venue on Cat­s­eye Beach but was moved to the yacht club.

As the sun went down a se­lect few min­gled with the artist af­fec­tion­ately known as “Tay Tay”, ahead of her in­ti­mate, acous­tic con­cert, where she played pi­ano and gui­tar and sang four songs – Blank Space, Out of the Woods, Wildest Dreams and Shake it Off.

Mean­while out­side, se­cu­rity per­son­nel pa­trolled the perime­ter and the five tena­cious Gold Coast friends stood with home-made posters among a small crowd. Peo­ple young and old waited for hours and the crowd had di­min­ished some­what when the pop-diva’s mini-van fi­nally ap­peared and Tay Tay, wear­ing a white lace short suit and high heels, stepped out.

“She really is as beau­ti­ful on the in­side as she is on the out­side.”

“When she came out, the crowd went crazy – she is so nice,” Si­enna said.

“We’d waited for a few hours try­ing to see her, but as soon as she came out to see ev­ery­one it was all worth it,” Mitch said.

“It was a rush of ex­cite­ment – I’m glad I was part of it,” Jett added.

Brim­ming with all the self­con­fi­dence of a woman who had an au­di­ence of 76,000 cap­ti­vated at her Sydney con­cert the pre­vi­ous Satur­day, Tay­lor Swift marched straight up to the crowd and started tak­ing “self­ies” with peo­ple, one by one.

Stand­ing side by side with her idol, Aisja found her “pretty tall” and Lizzie said it was “just amaz­ing”.

When the five friends went skip­ping off, they found an­other Gold Coast hol­i­day­maker, He­len Thread­gold, wait­ing at the bus stop.

Ms Thread­gold had been stand­ing pa­tiently with the rest of the crowd but de­cided to go home to her fam­ily when it seemed the singer wasn’t likely to ap­pear. When the chil­dren told her she might still be in with a chance, she ran back and was thrilled by what hap­pened next.

“(It was) very ex­cit­ing,” she said. “My voice went very high when I said, ‘hello, nice to meet you Tay­lor’. She had time for each and ev­ery­one there.

“Yes, she really is as beau­ti­ful on the in­side as she is on the out­side.”

In just a few more mo­ments it was all over.

Tay­lor Swift is be­lieved to have then been whisked to her pri­vate jet, which took off into the night sky for Brisbane, where she played an­other con­cert on Satur­day night.

Shortly af­ter­wards, a pas­sen­ger plane, thought to be bear­ing her band and crew de­parted the is­land as well.

Tak­ing to her In­sta­gram ac­count ear­lier in her stay, “Tay Tay” thanked Hamil­ton Is­land for all the mem­o­ries.

“So stoked to be able to take my band and crew on a va­ca­tion at the end of a long and won­der­ful tour,” she wrote.

And for the me­dia, who thought she might be cel­e­brat­ing her birth­day in the Whit­sun­days, Tay­lor had this to say:

“Aussie press, I love your en­thu­si­asm but my birth­day isn’t for two weeks and it’ll be a quiet one this year. “Let’s take it down a notch.” While on Hamil­ton Is­land, Tay­lor vis­ited White­haven Beach, held “Willy” the koala at Wildlife Hamil­ton Is­land and posted pho­to­graphs on In­sta­gram and Twit­ter of her­self at the lux­ury qualia re­sort.

DED­I­CATED FANS: Aisja and Si­enna Thomp­son, Mitch Lloyd and Jett and Lizzie Slater, wait­ing pa­tiently with home-made posters, for their idol to ap­pear.

MAGIC MO­MENT: Pa­tience paid off for 13-year-old Lizzie Slater, who got to have her photo taken with Tay­lor Swift.

BEAU­TI­FUL: Tay­lor Swift proved as beau­ti­ful on the in­side as she is on the out­side to her fans. Photo: He­len Thread­gold.

SELFIE: Gold Coast res­i­dent He­len Thread­gold was ex­cited to have a selfie with Tay­lor Swift.

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