Taylor Swift's songs about love catapulted her to stardom. In turn, she helped popularize a modern day symbol for love: the hand heart.
While the 25-year-old certainly didn't invent the gesture and plenty of other celebrities — Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Katy Perry to name a few — have been photographed doing it, the New York Times christened Swift the queen of hand heart back in 2011 and had a heart to heart with her on the topic.
"The heart-hand symbol means something between 'I love you' and 'thank you,'" she told the newspaper of record. "It's just a sweet, simple message that you can deliver without saying a word."
Swift went on to say that she started making the symbol when she was a sophomore in high school (circa 2005 in Nashville) and, as an aspiring performer, tried it out on stage soon after "to try and get a response from the audience." The crowd started cheering and doing it back, so she kept working it into her shows as she soared to the top of the charts.
"When the moment is just right and the crowd is screaming louder than any sound I ever imagined I'd hear," she said. "I just want to tell them I love them over and over, but sometimes the simplest thing to do is to make a sign with your hands."
Of course, the 1989 songstress wasn't the first one to curl up her index fingers and point her thumbs down. DJs have long been incorporating the modern day peace sign into their acts (though we're not sure this is the reason why), and club kids have long been doing it back — as these photos from 2004 show.
We've since seen the symbol in movies, on TV shows, in commercials, and at sporting events. We've seen single hearts, double hearts, and hearts united by two people. High hearts, low hearts, and hearts made while balanced on one foot. Google even tried to trademark the hand heart, if that tells you something about its popularity.
Beyond Swift, Bieber has also been credited of loving it up since back in the day when he was still rocking his side-swept swoop. And while some have speculated whether he is the hand hearts most famous originator, those passionate Swift fans insist she's the trendsetter. They even became ticked when Lady Gaga did it with fans griping — no joke — that "now everyone is going to start doing so it won't feel special anymore."
But it is true that once something becomes widespread, it does become a little less special. And, in some cases, less cool. For example, Sharon Osbourne has made sure the Baby Boomers know what it is.
It's become a go-to move for Tom Cruise… despite his technique needing some work.
A world leader — Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff — used it on the campaign trail.
And it's even — gasp — been turned into Etsy art.
However, at the end of the day, it's still a sweet, positive symbol no matter who started it and who's doing it now. So carry on, hand heart makers. The world can always benefit from people spreading love.