Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

I have been listening to Taylor Swift’s music since I was in elementary school. One of my earliest memories was showing the “You Belong With Me” music video to my grandparents and their friends when I was six years old. “Speak Now” fulfilled all my enchanting, royal dreams, and as a kid, having someone make music like this, complete with dragons and purple dresses, made me feel so much less alone. When “1989” was released, I hosted a listening party for all my friends, and we sang karaoke on my Frozen-themed karaoke machine. I clearly remember the era of “reputation, when many people decided that Taylor Swift was overrated, problematic and not worth listening to. “Reputation” was the first album I bought on Apple Music with money I had earned myself. I listened to it every day as I walked the halls of my high school as a freshman, having very little in common with Taylor Swift herself, but feeling as if she had written every word about me. 

I could not understand why my classmates were so easily swayed by the Kanye drama, Twitter and Kim K’s snake emojis. To me, “reputation” was the best album she had ever written. It was about reclaiming what belongs to you, saying F you to the haters and embracing the rumors. Also, the branding was incredibly hot. Black bodysuits, snakes and diamonds? Sign me up! When “reputation” was snubbed at the Grammys, I was devastated. Not only did I take Swift’s loss rather personally, but it was a harsh reminder of how hard women have to work to be recognized for their achievements. 

Throughout my life, I have related to Swift’s music from songs about heartbreak, love, growing up and finding your place in the world. Even though Swift is 13 years older than me, listening to her songs feels like talking to a best friend who is reassuring you that you are not alone and you are not the only one feeling a certain way. Knowing that a beautiful, blonde and successful singer experiences pain and loss the same way as me, a normal Midwestern girl, helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

In 2020, four months after the quarantine had started, Swift released her eighth album, “folklore. Like most people, the pandemic was a very difficult time for me personally because I struggled with mental health and being socially isolated, and I had just gone through a rather rocky breakup right after the shutdown. Nothing was certain and nothing felt real, but “folklore” helped me feel like myself again. I remember writing down in my pandemic journal, “If Taylor Swift can write an album that’s this good right now, the least I can do is keep getting out of bed and keep trying.”

“Folklore” was my most streamed album of both 2020 and 2021. It would be a little embarrassing to try and recount the times I spent sobbing in my car with “mirrorball” on repeat, screaming to “mad woman” because I felt like my friends hated me or laying on my bedroom floor and bawling my eyes out to “exile” (feat. Bon Iver) because it reminded me of my last relationship. “Folklore” felt like a warm hug, being wrapped in a soft woven blanket, a steaming mug of jasmine tea. It was as if Swift herself was whispering softly in my ear, “It’ll all be alright. Let’s be sad together.” 

Two years have passed, and now Swift has released two more albums (and re-released three), and I have a mirrorball tattoo. I saw her in concert Jul. 7, 2023, the first show after “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” was released, and to this day it still barely feels real. It was the most emotional I have ever been in public, and the feeling of finally being in the same stadium as my role model after years of admiring her from afar was akin to walking on water. It all felt like a dream. I started crying during the very first song, “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” and did not really stop until I had left the stadium. 

The energy that day was absolutely insane; being a Taylor Swift fan is incredibly rewarding because it makes you part of a huge community that is (usually) incredibly positive and uplifting. I went with my younger sister and one of my best friends, who are both huge Swifties, and being able to share my love for Swift with people close to me is something that brings me so much joy. Seeing my favorite artist in concert for the first time, surrounded by thousands of people who love her like I do was so surreal. I have tickets to see her again in 2024 in Indianapolis, and I could not be more excited.

There is no denying Swift’s power. Her appearance at an NFL game makes headlines, fans all around the world spend days upon days spinning new theories about her songs and release dates and her tour ticket sales not only sold out in minutes but also crashed Ticketmaster numerous times. 

The late Barbara Walters once said, “Taylor Swift is the music industry,” and I couldn’t agree more. Every album, every single, every re-release tops the charts. This year at the MTV Music Video Awards Taylor was nominated for eleven categories and won nine. She currently has 23 VMA’s in total, second only to Beyonce with 30. She holds the record for most ‘Video of the Year’ wins, having triumphed in that category four times. There is no arguing that Taylor Swift is successful, an unstoppable force, but that has never been what attracted me to her music or her brand. Many celebrities tend to lose touch with their audience or lose relatability as they gain a larger following, and Swift has continued to uphold the same values of kindness and care that she was so passionate about at fifteen. 

No matter how famous she is, or how many fans she has, Swift and her music will always be special to me. I will always see her as a girl who’s kind, not afraid to be vulnerable, wears her heart on her sleeve and dearly loves her fans. 

Swift’s legacy will be lasting, not just for the number of awards she won or the number of times she topped the Billboard charts. Her biggest legacy is that she is a role model for millions of girls across the world, showing that no matter who or what you are, the most important thing is to be yourself. 

Hi! I'm the senior editor of HCSLU, and a junior studying English with minors in Psychology and Communications who loves traveling, poetry, good pasta, and making the world a better place. I was born in Ukraine and currently spend my free time looking for cool hiking spots, trying new foods around Saint Louis, and going thrifting with my friends.