Taylor Swift Is Always There for Someone: Why She Finally Needed to Make Time for Herself

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Taylor Swift Is Always There for Someone: Why She Finally Needed to Make Time for Herself

At this time a year ago, Taylor Swift had made history as the first solo female artist to win two Album of the Year Grammys. She had also just attended her sixth Met Gala, her relationship with Calvin Harris was on the rocks, and she was about to embark on a whirlwind romance with Tom Hiddleston.

For every move she made, there were a hundred headlines, tracking her clothes, her romance, her nights out with friends and, of course, any scrap of clue that her follow-up to 1989 was imminent. It got to be a little much, the capper being the sudden fizzling of Hiddleswift, everyone’s favorite summer obsession.

But just when we thought Taylor Swift would never go away…

She did.

And that was no good!

Her breakup with Tom at the beginning of September was like the lifting of a spell, as everyone was reminded that it had been two years since the memorable debut of “Shake It Off,” and the two-year anniversary of 1989 was fast approaching. There was no way an October in an even-numbered year could pass without a new Taylor Swift album…

In October, Swift performed her one and only—albeit massive—live show of 2016, at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, during the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix weekend. Fans lined up for what looked like a mile to get in, and those not lucky enough to score a ticket tweeted longingly about the show throughout the night. It was her first concert since her dual breakups, and the first since things got weird online over songwriting credits with Harris and lyric approval with Kanye West.

It was a major moment, one that Swift insisted would be it for the year—as it was. And so the wait for whatever was coming next continued… and continued…

Until finally, something happened. On Dec. 8 Taylor and Zayn Malik—boyfriend of her close pal Gigi Hadiddropped a single for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.”

Cue as much excitement as a collaborative, non-solo effort could attract.

Taylor Swift

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for DIRECTV

Over Super Bowl LI weekend, almost two months later, Taylor performed the new song, as well as “This Is What You Came For,” in Texas. But other than that, for the majority of the past six months we’ve seen almost nothing of her. No AMAs, no CMAs, no Grammys and, most recently, no Met Gala.

In fact, a post about a new Haim song this week was the first we’d heard from her on Instagram since March 2—and even then, that was only a post touting Lorde‘s first song in ages.

Obviously this has been quite a change of pace for the star who could fill an encyclopedia with perfectly appointed post-gym pics. And for someone whose fame is of that magnitude, her relatively reclusive ways are neither incidental nor coincidental. This is all on purpose.

We’ll know her endgame soon enough, but while we know she’s all about making new music right now, we’re hoping that—for the first time since she burst on the scene more than a decade ago—she’s using the time to be all about herself right now too.

Because for as long as Swift has been a huge star, which is pretty much since she introduced herself to Tim McGraw while singing “Tim McGraw” at the 2007 ACM Awards, she’s been all about other people, whether it’s her friends, her fans or a love interest. 

Not that being altruistic is a character flaw or anything—and Taylor’s brand has only been helped by her innate desire to make her surroundings perfect for both herself and whomever is lucky enough to have made it into her orbit. But even someone who loves baking, throwing fabulous parties, personally delivering presents to unwitting fans, being the mama of two cats and pouring her memories into her latest album so that millions of other people feel better might end up feeling spread a little thin.

Taylor Swift, 1989 Tour

Liu Xingzhe/VCG via Getty Images

We weren’t used to Taylor Swift taking time for herself, because we’d never seen her do it. This isn’t necessarily the longest time she’s ever been single since she turned 18 (she might’ve had a gap year in or around 2011), but it feels like the longest amount of time we’ve gone without seeing her constantly doing something—whether it’s tour, work out, make a video, post on Instagram, hang with her squad or answer questions about all of the above.

Not being in a relationship but still spending all your energy being the linchpin of your circle of friends doesn’t exactly sound like a break. Nor does touring, or turning up on every red carpet, or doing a dozen photo shoots, or maintaining Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr accounts.

“I don’t have the energy to be in love right now,” Swift told Rolling Stone in 2014, long before the tumultuous first half of her 2016 that may have understandably put a damper on her will to continue being the belle of the ball.

Rest assured, Taylor Swift will again be ubiquitous soon. She still has 101 million followers on Instagram, fourth-most of every single person using Instagram. The headlines haven’t gone away, but that’s only because everyone who knows–or knew–her is asked about her. She knew darn well that even just posting about Haim’s new tune was going to merit Groundhog Day-level coverage. 

But when she emerges, the shadow will be her own for a change. She will be, if not an entirely reinvented Taylor Swift, then a refreshed Taylor, someone who finally took time off for herself.

“Taylor has been writing and recording her new album in Nashville for the last several months,” a source told E! News this week. “She has been working on it around the clock and will be making an announcement soon. She is really excited about her new music and can’t wait to share it with her fans.”

And in case you hadn’t noticed, “she has been entirely focused on that and not much else.”

Pal Ed Sheeran, perhaps one of the few people who could tell you what Taylor’s hair is looking like these days, predicted that she wouldn’t be releasing an album till the end of the year—which would jive with her previous release dates and also because “that’s when everyone buys records.”

It’s certainly when everyone buys Taylor Swift records.

And while the end of 2017 may seem like a long way off, remember that it’s already May. Yet that still leaves her plenty of time for clues, and surprise announcements, and Instagram posts…

It’ll be like she never went away, but the break will have been worth it so long as Taylor feels the difference.

(Why?)

Published at Sat, 06 May 2017 11:00:00 +0000

Kentucky Derby By the Numbers: Mint Juleps, Fancy Hats and Roses (Oh My!)

It’s that time of year again…

Mint is being muddled for the famous juleps, beautifully adorned hats are in the final stages of their makings and masses of people are making their way to Louisville because (drum roll, please)…it’s Kentucky Derby time!

That’s right, today marks the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, which is being held at Churchill Downs in Derby City.

But while the races themselves might be the main event, they’re not the only attraction bringing people in each year.

The Kentucky Derby is known for celebrity sightings, fashion statements and, of course, the famous mint juleps—the official drink of the event.

In fact, nearly 1,000 pounds of mint is needed to make the whopping 120,000 drinks people consume at the Derby each year.

As for the Derby’s other claim to fame? The hats, of course! Almost 90% of women don unique, over-the-top hats for the race. On average, Derby hats costs anywhere from $300-$500.

This year, we can’t wait to see what stars like Katie Couric and Anna Nicole Smith‘s daughter Dannielynn Birkhead—who has attended seven years in a row with her father, Larry Birkhead—will wear this year!

Learn more fun facts about the numbers behind the derby by launching the video above!

(Why?)

Published at Sat, 06 May 2017 10:00:00 +0000