Remember that time you watched the new Taylor Swift music video, randomly saw your life-long family friend dancing next to her, and promptly screamed enough to scare the crap (almost literally) out of your roommate's Boston terrier?
Of course you don't. That was me.
My friend, Maddy Wyman, isn't a professional dancer. In fact, she and Taylor shared a laugh over their mutual lack of shimmying skills (Taylor: "It's so bad, it's good!"). Maddy is simply a big fan who Taylor invited to play a part in her video.
I did a double take when Taylor showed up at a fan's bridal shower, where Maddy happened to be in attendance. A pop goddess hanging out with mere mortals? Maddy laughed about how much fun the group had playing bridal shower games (there are no words) alongside the illustrious Taylor. This time, Taylor invited about 100 fans to dance alongside her in the new "Shake It Off" video—including Maddy. Watch below and say hi for me. Maddy comes on around 3:15.
Taylor was obviously polite, but distant right? No way. According to Maddy, Taylor more-than-remembered her and gave her a big hug. In fact, Maddy noted that the video crew asked Taylor to stop hugging all her fans because she was smearing her makeup. Rumor has it that true to her sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice vibe, Taylor was down to Earth and fun the full five hours of shooting. Her mom even hung around and handed out waters to everyone.
More impressive is the amount of trust Taylor had in her fans. As you know, Taylor dropped this video discreetly (a la Beyonce) just yesterday. Yet Maddy explains that the video was shot two months ago. It was a big secret, but Taylor TRUSTED (Maddy wrote that word in all caps) her devotees not to spill the damn beans.
Any one of them potentially could have made some serous bank at a tabloid for leaking the info, but—as far as we know—no one did. Personally, I think I'd be paranoid as hell, but 'ol T Swift wasn't. And that's refreshing.
As Maddy put it:"I don't know about you, but not many artists (if any) are willing to be welcoming to their fans like Taylor Swift. She just opens her heart to her fans and lets them be a part of so many special opportunities. Taylor Swift is just an one of a kind person, and I'll say it again, I'm forever grateful to have someone like Taylor Swift out there."
Down with Taylor Hate
Despite Taylor being a seemingly nice, normal human being, as a young woman in the music industry, she's faced a lot of scrutiny for (gasp!) dating more than a couple guys. Abercrombie & Fitch even dedicated a shirt to it—likely as a Hail Mary play for cultural relevance. And don't even get us started on the atrocious things said in public forums.
Meanwhile, Kanye West continues to rake in big bucks despite a violent history with the paparazzi and general rudeness. He once blasted his Bonnaroo hosts, calling them "squid brains" for what looked to be his error. (Yes, squids are smart, but it's clear the phrase was meant to be an insult.) Justin Bieber basks in mega-stardom despite a lurid history that includes a DUI, peeing in a restaurant mop bucket and calling a female fan a "beached whale."
Countless rumors of nasty attitudes follow many celebs, but not Taylor. So why the hatorade?
It makes me think of Taylor's new song, in which she defends herself against vicious media attacks. She sings:
I stay up too late, got nothing in my brain
That's what people say, that's what people say
I go on too many dates, but I can't make them stay
At least that's what people say, that's what people say
In a world of Chris Browns and Justin Biebers and Kanye Wests—why berate a performer who shows this much gratitude to her fans? Because it's easy? Because she's young and female and mega-successful? Because it's guaranteed to sell some lame shirts?
If we're going to mock the rich and famous, at least let us mock the rich and famous assholes. Taylor and her genuine fan gratitude deserve nothing but praise.