It Needs to Be Said: No Celebrity Is a Bigger Fan of Their Fans Than Taylor Swift

taylor swift book
Presenting: A Sweet Ode to Swifties, by a SwiftieHearst Owned
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Hi, hello, Taylor Swift is absolutely *thriving* with the release of her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department. Naturally, Swifties are researching Tay's friendships and relationships, spiraling over Easter eggs, and theorizing about all the meanings behind her new songs. It's cause for celebration, and dear reader, consider this a memo from the chairman of The Tortured Poets Department because an all-new book full of stunning photos, exclusive essays, and deep dives into the pop culture icon's career is dropping later this year.

It's truly the ultimate Taylor Swift fan book... get into the official description and see for yourself:

“Your wildest dreams have come true. Get an insider’s look at Taylor Swift’s life and achievements in this pocket-sized collectible book for Swifties of all ages. Are you ready for it? 100+ stunning photos and clued-in commentary explore the power of Taylor’s music and influence—and why she’ll never go out of style. Taylor Swift is so much more than a pop star: she has more number one albums than any other female performer in history and the Eras Tour has filled stadiums across the world and her influence on our culture seems to know no bounds. This photo-packed gift book immerses you in Taylor’s world with smart, insightful text and celebrates the global superstar as a prolific songwriter, powerful storyteller and champion of her empowerment.”

Because it's a big day for the Taylor Swift-loving community (it's us, hi 👋), we thought we'd share something ~special~ to commemorate the release of her latest album. That's exactly why we're laying out an exclusive essay excerpt from Taylor Swift by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and fellow Swiftie, Beatrice Forman, below.

But first! To preorder the book, click on the retailer of your choice:

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"'You Belong with Me': An Ode to Swifties," by Beatrice Forman in Taylor Swift

After Taylor Swift attended a Kansas City Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium in September 2023, ticket sales soared, and future Chiefs games saw Super Bowl-level viewership.

Wherever her Eras Tour visited, it significantly boosted local economies, with each fan averaging $1,300 in spending on travel, hotel, food, and merch. The stomps and screams of those fans were so strong that in Seattle, it caused an earthquake.

When she challenged Swifties to solve 33 million puzzles in advance of the 2023 release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), they temporarily broke Google with their enthusiastic response.

The story of Taylor’s megawatt stardom and ever-upward success is often told through the lens of what her fans—Swifties like me—have done for her: the records we’ve helped her shatter, the haters and corporations we’ve condemned into apologizing, the lines we’ve formed, and the hours we’ve waited to be in the proximity of her shimmer.

And while impressive, that arc assumes one-sided devotion. Swifties will post into the void, spend money they may not have, and even skip their weddings to remind Taylor that they see her in the way we all want our partners to view us—with unending pride and devotion.

It has never mattered to us if Taylor sees her fans the same way too. She does, though.

For the nearly 20 years of her career in country and pop music, Taylor Swift has masterminded a world of abundance for her fans. There’s the music, of course, and the Swiftian multiverse of ex-lovers, fictional characters, and interwoven storylines for listeners to slip into and out of as they please. There’s also the fandom, where Swifties say their leader’s commitment to kindness, positivity, and reciprocity has led them to create lasting friendships. As a Swiftie, you could go anywhere in Taylor’s kingdom and never feel lonely.

Then there’s also the matter of Taylor herself, who has long been a fan of her fans. From the moment she joined the blogging platform Tumblr in 2014, she has practiced pastel-tinted surveillance, lurking as Swifties posted about her and laugh along with the jokes.

Sometimes, like during Swiftmas, she sends presents, homemade cookies, and handwritten letters to the people behind her favorite fan accounts. Other times, she breaks the fourth wall to clue us into the Easter Eggs we love so dearly, keeping up the hunt by acknowledging her favorite fan theories with a simple like on Tumblr, installing murals, or cheering us on as we discover hints in her music that she didn’t intend to leave. (The generosity of Taylor’s imagination knows no bounds, after all.)

Most often, she deputizes Taylor Nation, her official fan club, to handpick Swifties she wants to meet. These meetings can happen either backstage at her concerts or inside one of her homes for Secret Session, the intimate listening parties that have included conversations with her parents, snuggles with her cats, and ample one-on-one time with the star herself.

Maya Minocha was invited to be one of those Secret Sessioners. She became a fan of Taylor’s as an 8-year-old in Kansas City. She remembers begging her mom to let her be late to swim practice so she could listen to “Tim McGraw” in its entirety. Minocha said Taylor “felt like she was my friend from jump,” but Taylor actually became something much closer than a friend after Taylor invited Minocha into her Rhode Island home for one of the 1989 Secret Sessions in 2014.

Minocha can still recount every sensory detail of the event a decade later, from the jokes she told that made Taylor laugh, to the singer’s bare feet padding around the kitchen, to the giggles of guests during the “Shake It Off” dance party Taylor initiated in her living room.

Minocha reconnected with Taylor a year later when she posted a video asking the star to hit her in the face with a golf club, like one of the cars in the “Blank Space” music video. She was invited backstage where Taylor, golf club in hand, deadpanned, “Maya, let’s do this.” Minocha was thrilled, saying, “I genuinely have an inside joke with Taylor Swift,” along with what is now part of Swiftie lore.

It’s these personal interactions that help Taylor inhabit the liminal space between celebrity, friend, role model, and something just shy of all-knowing deity. After Taylor incorporated fan Mikael Arellano’s viral “Bejeweled” TikTok dance into her Eras Tour choreography, she invited him to attend a show of his choosing as a thank-you. During the second night of tour’s stint in Philadelphia, Taylor brought Arellano to the front of the stage during “22,” shook his hand, and handed him her signed prop hat. “It was surreal,” Arrellano said. “I wonder if she thinks about me a lot, since she does my dance every day” of her tour.

Taylor gifts her fans with spaces to retreat to, while also providing building blocks for moments they want to be present for. “The world she creates is an escape from the real world... I love getting to look forward to things that she does,” said Amanda Schwerdtman, 26, who became a Swiftie in grade school while learning to play every song on the singer’s self-titled debut album. She eventually met Taylor at the 2023 Los Angeles premiere of the Eras Tour concert movie, where the singer spent two hours greeting fans individually.

Taylor sometimes takes a step back to let fans create and tend to their own set of traditions, growing friendships and communities that exist both separate from Taylor and because of her. Sometimes that looks like beading bracelets to pass out during shows because of a lyric from “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” Other times, it looks like helping strangers secure last-minute concert tickets, or voting in elections because being a Swiftie means showing up with earnest. Because that’s what Taylor has taught us to do all along.

Taylor Swift by Holly Corbett, Beatrice Forman, Maura K. Johnston, Scott Raab, Carissa Rosenberg, and Annie Zaleski will be released by Hearst Home Books on October 1, 2024. To preorder the book, click on the retailer of your choice:

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Disclosure: Hearst Magazines is the parent company of Hearst Home Books and Cosmopolitan.

Taylor Swift Announces New Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

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Photo credit: Twitter

The Tortured Poets Department drops April 19!

Taylor Swift Reveals Bonus Track Title and New Album Cover for 'The Tortured Poets Department'

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Photo credit: Twitter

"I've never had an album where I needed songwriting more than I needed it on Tortured Poets."

Taylor Swift Reveals Exact Timeline of When She Wrote 'The Tortured Poets Department'

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Okay, this kiiiiinda disputes breakup album theories.

Joe Alwyn Posts on Instagram for the First Time in Months Amid ‘Tortured Poets’ Speculation

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Interesting timing!!!!!

All the Clues and Easter Eggs About Taylor Swift’s New Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Joe Alwyn found shaking.

Fans Think 'Tortured Poets' Is a Sister Album to 'Midnights' Thanks to Taylor Swift's Visual Easter Eggs

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Photo credit: Twitter

Once you see these side-by-sides, you will not be the same.

Swifties Spiral Over Potential Joe Alwyn Refs in the Tracklist for 'The Tortured Poets Department!'

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Photo credit: Getty Images

"From 'london boy' to 'so long london'..."

Taylor Swift’s April 19 Album Release Date Makes So Much Sense Based on What Happened With Joe Alwyn That Day

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Joe Alwyn has everything to do with April 19.

Here’s Why Taylor Swift Fans Think Her New Album Is a Nod to Ex Joe Alwyn

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Photo credit: Getty Images

It has to do with a group chat Joe has... 👀

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