There was an interesting energy at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on that hot October 22, 2016 afternoon. A unique mixture of fast hard-nasty and innocent soft-sweet. Adrenaline junkies and the girl next door united in love for that day. As a medley of brightly colored Porsches zigzagged the field, swarms of luminous Taylor Swift fans melted around the fenced track merging at field entry points, waiting for race-end so they could rush the field and claim a spot closest to the stage.
Swift brought a lot of attention to that Formula 1 Race. 80,000 people had a ticket to her show. We know she is an impressive woman, but what qualities make her this? I am drawn to the fact that she has maintained a positive image for a decade, as a young adult, during an era of stars falling from grace. After all she is a girl who grew up in an unassuming mid-sized Pennsylvania town, similar upbringing as the majority of middle America.
What is it that allowed her to become a generational icon inspiring the young and old alike?
With only 2 concerts in 2016, no new album, and the highest earner at $170 million dollars, I outline qualities revealed through action on what makes Taylor Swift a woman of the ages.
Born with talent, her parents unaware the impact their daughter would have, she was in-tune with herself from the beginning and found her passion early. Determination brought her to Nashville at 14. She worked hard (God-Bless America) and achieved.
Does luck have anything to do with her success? Sure why not. Luck is kinda magic…and she is magical. Her first written song was “Lucky You”, as if a premonition for the rest of her life. And a self-fulfilled prophecy.
But did she ever believe she would be THIS huge?!
Taylor entered the scene at such a young impressionable age, but wrote and sang about things people decades her elder could associate with. Armed with a strong sense of self, she believed in herself and knew she’d excel at her passion. Wise beyond her years and self aware, she followed her heart and continues to be guided by her heart. Strong in mind and her own best friend, she does not shame herself for imperfections and is unafraid to point out her faults.
Comfortable in her own skin and being so real is appreciated by and inspiring to all generations. She built an empire writing songs about life experiences.
There is something to be said about being totally connected with oneself. In my experience, this is the single most important feat to accomplish; the younger in life one can do this, the better. Having that connection and then actually believing in yourself makes for a powerful person. Taking that power to inspire, commendable.
Taylor is a courageous woman, unafraid of who she is, putting herself out there for the world to judge for themselves. It’s quite evident she is loved. She gets a LOT of publicity; some of it, no doubt, unwanted. It takes a lot of courage to live her life. Do people really envy the position she is in? It cannot be easy. People love to follow her life, wanting to know her every move! Nobody is perfect - she is allowed to make mistakes. Constantly being under the scrutiny of public eye, living life like someone is always watching, knowing that photos will be posted for all to see during moments least expected. I doubt she signed up for all of this when she revealed her talents. But we are all to believe it comes with the territory. Living life under constant scrutiny has proven time and time again to wear people down; it takes a special person to believe in themselves and not be influenced by other’s actions or words. Taylor treads her own path.
There are layers of people around her, yet little stands in the way of her and her fans. She is courageous and her integrity shines under the spotlight that follows her everywhere.
Her heart seems to be in the right place...I think it has to be to have the following she does. Her fans are just as amazing as she is! A musical genius to the likes of Michael Jackson and Prince - a BIG statement I know…she has been mainstream for a decade now. She is a generational icon. I believe she wants to connect with the masses and does so through her music.
Being yourself seems it SHOULD be the path of least resistance. If it were, the message of ‘just be yourself’ wouldn’t be sung so loudly. It takes a lot of guts to be yourself; faults, past mistakes, nerdiness, loveliness and all. Putting yourself out there provides space for others to pass judgement, and that's a tough space to be in. Taylor is one woman who is totally unafraid to let the world know her, faults and all. She is genuine.
A simple Google search reveals so much about Taylor. She tells her own story, leaving little opportunity for outlets to talk for her (yet they still make up stories). She wants her fans to know who she is through her own spoken words and personality traits. Turns out she is pretty relatable.
Taylor makes her profession appear to be the easiest thing in the world! She is a performer, able to jump onstage with a cold and deliver for a sea of fans (Austin Texas, the only live performance of 2016 besides the GRAMMY Awards…both of which I was present). She looks like she’s having a ball strutting her sexy self on stage in high heeled hot boots and a tiny sparkly black number with a cool haircut, choker, and ruby red lips. It takes devotion and it takes effort. Her passion shines. Her crafted songs have a poppy catch with rhyming digs at haters, eluding to living life free being the best way to be. I feel her. She seems so natural, so free and fun-loving on that stage. She is singing her soul, connecting through music, meeting her fans where they are in various stages of their lives just by being true to herself. It takes guts. And I have a lot of respect.
People want to emulate her. That makes her a role model. A GOOD positive role model. Role models make all the difference in the world. She is very influential - thank God she has embodied everything good and is a direct reflection of that. She understands vulnerability and demonstrates true beauty by being authentic.
Nothing really shakes her, positivity on her side. A rarity on a pedestal who worked hard to put herself there, taking a lot of shoves to throw her off balance, but barely wavers. The thing about her, she takes these shoves as an opportunity to better herself or others. She is a person who creates opportunity to learn and grow from tribulation, inspiring those who relate.
I do not think it was her ultimate goal to become a global superstar. I think she just wants to do what she loves to do and refuses to let herself or anyone get in her way. She is doing what she loves, which she happens to be insanely good at. There is care involved. She follows her heart.
Taylor has been front and center for a solid decade; strategy is involved. She’s put in some serious time and endured plenty of criticism. Last year she was looking fabulous everywhere, including friend B-day parties, family Easter, and children hospitals. This year she seems to be avoiding drama as best she can. Point is, she’s everywhere! She is an influential hard-working do-gooder with straight priorities, intelligent in how she portrays herself on social media. She is careful with her power.
As much talent as she has, it still takes a ton of effort to be an artist. The more well known she becomes, with gained access to resources, fan expectations can become heavy - or one could easily put that sort of pressure on themselves. Taylor has her head on her shoulders and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves. She is an extremely successful businesswoman. Barely 27, she knows how to manage herself; Yet it takes a team and I assure you she has an incredible one. She can’t be ingenious all the time. Surrounding herself with good solid character is essential, keeping close those who reflect or introduce new positive life perspectives, values, and ideals. At times it seems impossible to find these people, but if one knows, loves, and trusts themselves, the good path will offer the right people.
She knows how to market herself. She’s everywhere. Mega-time. Her songs fill space around the world. Her accolades are almost too overwhelming to comprehend: youngest artist ever signed by Sony/ATV Music, youngest 'Album of the Year' winner...twice, 10 GRAMMY's...the list is long and growing. All so well deserved.
On Negative Publicity
There isn’t much to fault Taylor for. My exes are a past memory and a lesson to be learned. Her’s are today’s news, agonizingly analyzed through her song and dance, and the year-end recap. Lets face it, relationships, especially ones that disintegrate, can be ugly. It is tough to recover from negative publicity, and I would have to say Taylor has minimal if anything she needs to recover from. She maintains face extremely well. She is a woman at a life-juncture where society tries to dictate the milestone she is “supposed” to be at. She is exploring relationships and will eventually kiss the right frog.
Making conscious decisions to ‘look/BE good’ every given instant seems tiring. No matter what, Taylor makes news. It’s easiest to make positive news versus recovering from negative. The only way to not become self-conscious of one’s actions is an unwavering belief in oneself, an inherent good nature, and a will to go about life with solid core values. It takes a special person and persistence to become a star of Taylor Swift status and an intelligent one to maintain status.
One of Taylor’s best attributes is her respect for her fans. It is a reciprocated love and any of her diehard fans will tell you this. Taylor is not in this for herself.
Rachel Emling & Makayla Crews saw Swift in Tampa over a year ago. They drove to Texas from Jacksonville Florida dressed in tutus and talk how she returns the love, “We all come out here and do all this stuff and she gives it right back to us”.
I love Taylor Swift fans. The ones who have that special spark in their step and see the best in everybody, even if they are mean.
I think we are all fans, but her TRUEST fans travel backwards in time to see her.
“I traveled backward in time, literally, to come here,” exclaimed Australian Aaron Hinds.
When I asked Misha Kazi, Patti Bradley, and Gretchen Chan From Austin Texas “why Taylor for president”, they shouted “Why Not?!”
Her fans are changing the world, ruby red lips and all. It is in her best interest to do good by them, and she does. Meanwhile, they hold her accountable and keep her honest.
Life perspective is a direct reflection of how much one loves themselves. The amount of love Taylor’s fans feel from her is direct indication that Taylor is indeed made of love, with lots to share.
What Makes her great
Making it onto the scene is one thing. Maintaining success in the scene takes integrity. She realized young, that it is all about HOW one handles a situation. It is what we choose to do with what is thrown at us. The true test of a person. Every decision is an opportunity - integrity at its core. Taylor Swift embodies integrity by choosing to do what is right and just. She gets it.
I share with you qualities visible through her action that demonstrate integrity.
- She doesn’t forget where she came from: Family is important to her and it grounds her. She grew up with solid core values and hasn’t let them evade her.
- She is not selfish: She knows it is all about her fans.
- She shares: She shares herself, her space, her thoughts, her activities. Her fans get to know the real Taylor Swift. She lives as if she has nothing to hide, sharing enthusiasm.
- She is genuine: Her openness reveals a down to earth Taylor. She reveals her truth, unafraid to reveal too much, and is not a stranger to the struggles of life. She realizes her humanness and the humanness in others, always looking for the best in people without faulting them for mistakes.
- She is extremely well spoken.
- She does not take herself too seriously: She’s silly, posting funny pictures with her cats, creating videos of herself biffing it on a treadmill, and takes on funny/nerdy TV/film roles.
- She is creative: From her songwriting to her fashion sense, she shows edge and tries new things; clever and innovative.
- She wants to continually improve herself: A perpetual learner. Curious, with desire to experience things outside her familiar.
- She finds joy in simple pleasures: Baking, laying low in the Hamptons or whatever unique destination home she owns.
- She is modest: She writes award-winning songs for other artists to sing but doesn’t feel the need to exploit it, unless someone else is trying to steal the credit.
- She is relatable: In touch with her feelings & emotions, she writes them, then sings for the world to hear her out…
- She is humble: She relishes in her achievements, but is not boastful.
- She is determined: She has her own destiny and doesn't deny it. She works hard.
- She is gracious: She gives back in a major way, not only money, but her time as well.
- She uses her platform to inspire.
- She is appropriate: She honors herself from the clothes she wears to the information she reveals about herself.
- She is practical: She gets what it takes to be a day-to-day person.
- She is evolving: Reflective, honoring her change and growth.
- She is confident: Confidence is a direct reflection of how much she believes in herself.
- She avoids drama: She doesn’t allow herself to get pulled into cheesy publicity stunts.
- She is determined and focused: She puts out some hits.
- She is grateful and expresses thanks: She thanks her fans to let her to be herself and promotes them to do the same.
- She’s a realist: She knows there are bad people in this world. She is not sheltered or naive.
- She surrounds herself with good people.
- She makes good choices.
- She holds herself accountable: “The rumors are terrible and cruel But, honey, most of them are true.”
- She is extremely mature: She carries herself with confidence in knowing who she truly is and honors that.
- She shows up: At her Austin Texas performance in October, she blew her nose on stage promising it would help her sound better. She is a performer. The last thing she wants to do is let her fans down.
- She is a fighter: She fights to maintain her integrity.
- She is LOVE: I think one needs to truly understand who they are and truly LOVE themselves before they can completely believe in themselves. She expresses her love.
Her behaviors reveal a virtuous woman.
These are quantifiable actions identified through live performances, online video interviews, magazine articles, interactions with her team, and other things found online while searching “Taylor Swift”. It is a list of qualities I hope to embody myself, but this is in no way an inclusive list.
What does it take to be Taylor Swift? Passion, courage of conviction and strong sense of self. Have faith in other people but most importantly faith in yourself...and endurance in persistence.
It’s hard to say what direction she will go next. Most recently she collaborated with Zayn Malik on the Fifty Shades Darker song, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”, feeding her largest fan base (young female adults) and proving true to self.
Like a Formula One car racing for placement, Taylor Swift navigates her best path, taking tight curves at outrageous speed. She is thrilling, yet leaves us in suspense.
Taylor Swift Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 Austin Texas Credentialed Lanyard photo credit Elizabeth Lauer
Red Porsche zigzagging Circuit of the Americas racetrack in Austin Texas photo credit Elizabeth Lauer
(from left to right) Rachel Emling and Makayla Crews from Jacksonville Florida in red, white, and blue tutus photo credit Elizabeth Lauer
(from left to right) Elliott Jollow [from England], Aaron Hinds [from Australia], Andrew Christensen [from Pennsylvania], Marvin Tran [from Dallas], Richard Ho [from Oklahoma City] photo credit Elizabeth Lauer
(from left to right) Misha Kazi, Patti Bradley, Gretchen Chen from Austin Texas campaigning Taylor for President photo credit Elizabeth Lauer