Taylor Swift covers this year’s September issue of Vogue, and the 29-year-old singer gets candid about the “humiliating” backlash she felt from fans of Kim Kardashian when the two got in a public spat over some Taylor-bashing lyrics in hubby Kanye West’s track “Famous”.
Speaking with the magazine, Swift describes the unimaginable level of venom that was thrown her way online.
“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… [sending] messaging to this person to either shut up, disappear, or it could also be perceived as, Kill yourself,” she explains.
“I realized I needed to restructure my life because it felt completely out of control. 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.”
Swift also addresses her decision to publicly support the LGBTQ community after years of staying apolitical.
“Maybe a year or two ago, [Todrick Hall] and I are in the car, and he asked me, ‘What would you do if your son was gay?’ The fact that he had to ask me . . . shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough.”
“If my son was gay, he’d be gay. I don’t understand the question. If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking. It was kind of devastating to realize that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.”
In fact, Swift says that she felt compelled to throw the weight of her celebrity behind the LGBTQ rights movement.
“Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” she says. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of. It’s hard to know how to do that without being so fearful of making a mistake that you just freeze. Because my mistakes are very loud. When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc.”
Swift also addresses the scrutiny she underwent when she stayed neutral during the 2016 U.S. presidential election as contemporaries such as Katy Perry threw the full force of their fame behind candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” she says. “He was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew. I knew I wasn’t going to help. Also, you know, the summer before that election, all people were saying was: She’s calculated. She’s manipulative. She’s not what she seems. She’s a snake. She’s a liar. These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? Look: Snakes of a feather flock together. Look: The two lying women. The two nasty women. Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses.”
You can read more with Swift in the September issue of Vogue.