5:19 PM

Say what you will, judge me 'til the cows come home . . . but I love Taylor Swift.

I'm really not the type of person who worships celebrities. Sure, there are many I admire, whether for their talent, personality, what have you . . . but at the end of the day, celebrities are just pretty faces who may or may not have real personalities. Unless you meet one of them, you'll never truly know what they're like.

Maybe that’s why I like Taylor. I got the chance to meet the songstress during her rise to fame in 2008, when she played a concert on my school’s campus. I didn’t know much about her before she came to town, but I will say that her concert was one of the most fun shows I have ever been to (and that was before she had all the fancy lights, costumes, and props that her tours are known for today). When I had the chance to talk to the young starlet in person after the show, I remember my main conversation topic being, “I really like your sparkly guitar.” Instead of looking at me like I was crazy, Taylor just responded with a tone as excited as mine: “I know, I use it all the time!” From that day on, I swore the two of us were best friends (in my own little world, of course).

Taylor and (a very happy) me back in 2008

Regardless of my own experience, however, there’s something special about Taylor Swift that extends beyond her physical being, affecting everything that she does. Always gracious for the fame she receives, Taylor is known for continuously thanking her fans and staying hours after her shows to sign autographs for thousands of people at a time. All of these things and more reflect the genuine personality that fans all over the world have come to know as Taylor Swift: the person, the role model, the brand.

Just how successful is Taylor? Well, to start, she's been on every magazine cover imaginable, received a guest-starring role on CSI, performed on Saturday Night Live, was recently named Billboard’s Woman of the Year, and has won more awards than anyone can keep up with. All this while maintaining a positive role in the spotlight since she was 16--now, that's something to be proud of.

Also impressive is the personable, online connection Taylor Swift makes with her fans. Sure, like most celebs, she posts the obligatory Twitter updates, but the realest facets of Taylor's life show up in the form of homemade YouTube videos. While many agents arrange all aspects of promotional material for their clients, Taylor takes the old-fashioned approach, editing and uploading her own videos from her personal computer. The result is an outlet where fans can view non-glamorized, everyday snippets of Taylor's life. Watch enough of these videos, and you'll start to feel like you personally know her, too.

No wonder she always wins so many fan-voted awards . . .

And who hasn't associated Taylor Swift's brand with all things sparkly, feminine, and fairytale-like? Just take a look at any of her red carpet outfits, music videos, album covers, or even her new perfume--each of these things contributes to the magical theme that runs through Taylor's overall look and brand personality.


Even her fragrance follows the same sparkly, sweet, fairy-tale theme that Taylor projects. (Source)
Of course, many people have given Taylor some flack for her unforgiving music, suggesting that the inclusion of names and personal stories within her song lyrics is merely a tool for profitable gain. My personal opinion? I know how cathartic it can be to release feelings in a creative way. Whether it be poetry writing, songwriting, drawing, painting, singing, whatever--that's how people deal with things, and that's life. After all, it sure beats whining to OK! Magazine every time something happens to you, don't you think?

Who can forget the famous Kanye incident? I'm not sure I could have handled that moment so gracefully, or waited months to write, record, and release a song about my feelings toward the situation. (Source)

All in all, it's really refreshing to see the girl-next-door rise to the top for once. Love her or not, it's difficult to ignore the fact that Taylor Swift is a force to be reckoned with.

But enough about her, and enough about me. Are there any celebrities you admire for staying true to their own personal brands?

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