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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Notre Dame chapter.

Since Miss Americana became available on Netflix, I anxiously awaited the moment when I would have a free eighty-five minutes to sit down and dedicate all of my focus to appreciating it. Now that I have, I have a lot of thoughts.

Overall, watching the documentary was entertaining, poignant and heartwarming. The documentary is essentially Taylor taking the viewers through her life from her point of view. She talks about her most profound moments, good and bad and everything in between. This is especially touching for everyone who remembers the very public ones. Her storytelling is personal and introspective, and incites an emotional journey in the viewer. I felt her struggles as much as reflected on my own. 

The film was punctuated by clips of Taylor songwriting that gave viewers a peek into her process as well as gave a sense of how hard she works on her music. I found it really fun to see the early stages of some of my favorite songs and to share in her “a-ha” moments. These moments helped to transition between ideas and break up heavy moments well.

Every Swiftie has had those moments in which Taylor Swift spoke to their soul with her music. There are always songs that make us feel like she understands our struggles when no one else does, and she helps us feel less alone. Most everyone knows that listening to Taylor’s music is like reading her diary. It’s why we all feel like we know her—like she gets us. This talent for storytelling and making her fans feel seen comes through not only in her songwriting, but in Miss Americana as well.

In addition to its entertainment value, Miss Americana has a message. It’s really a story of Taylor learning how to navigate her life without sacrificing her values. She’s been questioned, critiqued and dismissed; she’s experienced failure and had so many challenges. And so have all of us. Each moment of Taylor talking about her realizations and her obstacles made me think of all of the difficult moments in my own life. At first, I remembered the crestfallen feeling of all of those moments. But as time went on and she grew into herself, I started remembering all the ways I’d survived those moments. She told her story with her album releases as landmarks, and I got to take a self-reflective trip alongside her. 

At the end of the day, Miss Americana told me that it’s okay to stumble and to be unsure of yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s important to listen to yourself and to stand for the things that matter to you. Accepting your struggles and sharing your convictions may open you up to the kind of social criticism we fight long and hard to avoid, but it’s worth it. Miss Americana told me that I’ll always have the time and the power to point my life in the direction I want it to go. It’s empowering and optimistic. I hope its powerful sentiment resonates with everyone.

Overall, I think everyone should take the time to watch it and let it guide their own self-reflection and encourage their personal growth. It’s nostalgic, honest and entertaining. It will also make you want to listen to nothing but Taylor Swift for the next several months. 

I’ve been refraining from reading any reviews or other online commentary about the documentary lest it might color this reflection, so now I’m off to join the rest of the Swifties on the internet in dissecting all the facets of Miss Americana, I hope you’ll join us soon.

Reina Koran

Notre Dame '20

I'm a junior biochemistry major at the University of Notre Dame. I'm currently working on an undergraduate research project in molecular genetics and regeneration, which I'd love to continue studying in graduate school. Another very rewarding activity I participate in is college advising for high achieving low income high school students. Addtionally, I love playing soccer, which I do at the club level for my university, music, movies (quoting and watching them), and I like to draw.