On Taylor Swift’s new album, Red, the 22-year-old superstar sings about the troubling side of celebrity: tabloids, paparazzi and living life in a bubble. It’s certainly a scenario the multimillion-album-selling Swift can relate to: she’s become a fixture in the gossip pages, especially with her penchant for famous boyfriends, including her latest, Conor Kennedy, who comes from a storied political clan.
“There are a lot of trade-offs. There’s the microscope that’s always on you. The camera flashes, the fear that something you say will be taken the wrong way,” says Swift in an interview. “But the trade-off of being able to get on a big stage and sing your songs – it’s worth it.”
Swift is perhaps on the biggest stage of her young career with the release of Red, out this week. She’s already scored her first number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the song We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.
She says she isn’t oblivious to the attention, but she tries her best to protect herself from it.
“Everybody’s got their way of dealing with it. And for me, sometimes it’s surrounding myself with my friends and venting, sometimes it’s calling my mother up and crying,” she admits.
She’s developed empathy toward other celebrities: “I understand why people sometimes get so caught up with this because it’s a lot of pressure. And when you see someone going through a scandal in the news, I don’t sit there and see it as entertainment anymore.”
But Swift knows this is what she bargained for – and she’s still happy with the way it all turned out.
“Sometimes my mum and I just sit there and think, ‘Remember when nobody believed this could happen for us, and we didn’t even believe it?”’