Taylor Swift did an interview with Variety about her upcoming Netflix documentary, Taylor Swift: Miss Americana. It’s nice that Taylor has a new movie to promote so soon after her last one. What is it that they say? The best way to get over one extremely terrible movie is to get behind one that can’t possibly be worse? Well, Variety wasn’t about to let Taylor side-step the stinky kitty litter clump called Cats. But the good news for Taylor is that she isn’t really bothered by Cats’ status as a massive box office bomb.
Taylor Swift: Miss Americana premieres at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, then drops on Netflix at the end of the month. And because it’s a documentary, it’s all about Taylor’s life. So of course Variety was going to ask her some very Taylor-specific questions. And Taylor covered everything. First things first, Taylor says she’ll no longer be polite for the sake of being polite. And yet, Taylor was actually really polite while talking about Cats. There was no eye-rolling, no “NEXT QUESTION PLEASE.” Taylor is fine with it, because she made a friend in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Although she did reiterate that she thinks Cats is fucking weird.
“I’m happy to be here, happy to be nominated [for a Golden Globe], and I had a really great time working on that weird-ass movie. I’m not gonna retroactively decide that it wasn’t the best experience. I never would have met Andrew Lloyd Webber or gotten to see how he works, and now he’s my buddy. I got to work with the sickest dancers and performers. No complaints.”
If Taylor shows up to collect a Razzie Award, I might actually start to like her a little. But only if she also acknowledges that Halle Berry walked so Taylor could run.
Taylor might have used up any residual politeness while talking about Cats. Because she was pretty straight-forward when it came to talking about politics. We all know that Taylor Swift is political now. In October of 2018, Taylor came out as a supporter of Democratic candidates. She tells Variety that she was inspired to get vocal about politics by the Dixie Chicks.
“Every time I didn’t speak up about politics as a young person, I was applauded for it. It was wild. I said, ‘I’m a 22-year-old girl – people don’t want to hear what I have to say about politics.’ And people would just be like, ‘Yeahhhhh!'”
Pushing back tears, she laments not having come out against Trump two years earlier, “but I can’t change that…I need to be on the right side of history. Dad, I need you to forgive me for doing it, because I’m doing it.”
She adds that her dad was upset that she became open about her political affiliation, because he was afraid for her safety. I’m sure that’s not the only reason.
“This was a situation where, from a humanity perspective, and from what my moral compass was telling me I needed to do, I knew I was right, and I really didn’t care about repercussions. My dad is terrified of threats against my safety and my life, and he has to see how many stalkers we deal with on a daily basis, and know that this is his kid. It’s where he comes from.”
Taylor also says that she needed to get political, because her LGBTQ fans needed to know she was willing to go public with her support of their community.
“To celebrate but not advocate felt wrong for me. Using my voice to try to advocate was the only choice to make. Because I’ve talked about equality and sung about it in songs like ‘Welcome to New York,’ but we are at a point where human rights are being violated. When you’re saying that certain people can be kicked out of a restaurant because of who they love or how they identify, and these are actual policies that certain politicians vocally stand behind, and they disguise them as family values, that is sinister. So, so dark.”
Another thing pushing her to raise her voice was her ass-grabbing civil suit (which she won). Speaking up against the DJ who grabbed her ass during a meet-and-greet apparently helped Taylor shed her shell as a curly blonde-haired beautiful-gowned smile machine.
“I still think it’s important to be polite, but not at all costs. Not when you’re being pushed beyond your limits, and not when people are walking all over you. I needed to get to a point where I was ready, able and willing to call out bullshit rather than just smiling my way through it.”
And what’s a Taylor Swift interview without her dragging Scooter Braun? Variety asked Taylor if she felt intimidated or nervous to call Scooter out during her acceptance speech for the Woman of the Decade award at the Billboard Women in Music Awards last month. And she wasn’t!
“Well, I do sleep well at night knowing that I’m right, and knowing that in 10 years it will have been a good thing that I spoke about artists’ rights to their art.”
Taylor also gave an update on her mother, Andrea Swift. The last time we heard, Andrea’s cancer had returned. Things have gotten worse.
“Everyone loves their mom; everyone’s got an important mom. But for me, she’s really the guiding force. Almost every decision I make, I talk to her about it first. So obviously it was a really big deal to ever speak about her illness.” During filming, when Andrea’s cancer had returned for a second time, “she was going through chemo, and that’s a hard enough thing for a person to go through. While she was going through treatment, they found a brain tumor. And the symptoms of what a person goes through when they have a brain tumor is nothing like what we’ve ever been through with her cancer before. So it’s just been a really hard time for us as a family.”
I can’t with a good conscience end with Taylor talking about her mother’s brain tumor. It’s too sad, even if it did follow a quote about how Taylor still thinks Scooter Braun is shit. So instead, I will end with these pictures of Taylor for Variety in some vintage snowbunny couture. Because I don’t think there’s a person alive who can’t laugh at Taylor looking like Stupid Sexy Flanders.
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#MissAmericana was keeping another song about America in her back pocket, as it turns out. Taylor Swift didn’t just record 18 songs for last fall’s #Lover album — a 19th, #OnlyTheYoung, was held back and kept under wraps for the right occasion. At the link in bio, find out more about the song that will play in her documentary, including how it was inspired by the midterm elections. (📸: @maryellenmatthewsnyc)