Taylor Swift is Vogue (opens in new tab)'s September cover star (opens in new tab), and she gave one of her most in-depth interviews in years to the outlet. Swift spoke very candidly about how being "canceled" in the aftermath of Kim Kardashian's Snapchat takedown (opens in new tab) in 2016 changed her—and why she vehemently objects to the internet's tendency to cancel anybody who does something wrong.
“A mass public shaming, with millions of people saying you are quote-unquote canceled, is a very isolating experience,” she admitted. “I don’t think there are that many people who can actually understand what it’s like to have millions of people hate you very loudly. When you say someone is canceled, it’s not a TV show. It’s a human being. You’re sending mass amounts of messaging to this person to either shut up, disappear, or it could also be perceived as, Kill yourself.”
When it happened to Swift, she realized she needed to give her life a makeover. “I realized I needed to restructure my life because it felt completely out of control,” she said. “I knew immediately I needed to make music about it because I knew it was the only way I could survive it. It was the only way I could preserve my mental health and also tell the story of what it’s like to go through something so humiliating.”
She didn't do interviews during her Reputation era because she was processing everything and wasn't ready to talk about it to the media. “When you’re going through loss or embarrassment or shame, it’s a grieving process with so many micro emotions in a day," she said. "One of the reasons why I didn’t do interviews for Reputation was that I couldn’t figure out how I felt hour to hour. Sometimes I felt like: All these things taught me something that I never could have learned in a way that didn’t hurt as much. Five minutes later, I’d feel like: That was horrible. Why did that have to happen? What am I supposed to take from this other than mass amounts of humiliation? And then five minutes later I’d think: I think I might be happier than I’ve ever been.”
In some ways, it's good that her public sweetheart facade was shattered that year, Swift reflected, but she wasn't going to say she was thankful for what happened. “It’s so strange trying to be self-aware when you’ve been cast as this always smiling, always happy ‘America’s sweetheart’ thing, and then having that taken away and realizing that it’s actually a great thing that it was taken away, because that’s extremely limiting," she mused with a smile. "We’re not going to go straight to gratitude with it. Ever. But we’re going to find positive aspects to it. We’re never going to write a thank-you note."
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Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she's not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.
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