Taylor Swift has taken the music world by storm with her blockbuster 1989 album, high-profile BFFs and willingness to go up against the tech industry. In the September 2015 cover story for Vanity Fair, now available digitally to subscribers, Swift opens up about the past year, her new attitude toward dating and her personal style.
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Check out the five most important things we took away from the profile:
1. Swift wrote her famous letter to Apple at 4 a.m., only let her mom read it and almost didn’t post it online.
“The contracts had just gone out to my friends, and one of them sent me a screenshot of one of them,” Swift told the magazine about her middle-of-the-night discovery. “I read the term ‘zero percent compensation to rights holders.’ Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll write a song and I can’t sleep until I finish it, and it was like that with the letter.
“I read it to my mom,” she said. “She’s always going to be the one. I just said, ‘I’m really scared of this letter, but I had to write it. I might not post it, but I had to say it.'”
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2. She made a commitment to not be seen around men for years and focus on her friendships, but when she started dating Calvin Harris, she wasn’t going to change her new lifestyle.
“I think that I just decided if [the media] was going to say that about me, that I was boy-crazy and so dependent on men and all that, I wasn’t going to give them a reason to say that anymore, and I wasn’t going to be seen around any men for years — so that’s what I did,” Swift said. “And what ended up happening was I became happier than I had ever been before.
“That was the way I decided to go on with my life,” she shared with Vanity Fair. “Not looking for anything, not necessarily being open to anything, and only being open to the idea that, if I found someone who would never try to change me, that would be the only person I could fall in love with.”
3. Swift and Kanye West are friends now (thanks to Jay Z), and she’s open to a collaboration.
“I feel like I wasn’t ready to be friends with him until I felt like he had some sort of respect for me, and he wasn’t ready to be friends with me until he had some sort of respect for me — so it was the same issue, and we both reached the same place at the same time. I became friends with Jay Z, and I think it was important, for Jay Z, for Kanye and I to get along,” she said. “And then Kanye and I both reached a place where he would say really nice things about my music and what I’ve accomplished, and I could ask him how his kid’s doing.”
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4. She has no bad blood with Madonna and says they will collaborate again. She was upset when the media pitted the two artists against each other when their star-studded music videos came out (“Bad Blood” and “Bitch, I’m Madonna” were often compared since both featured their famous friends).
“I felt so much resentment that they would take two women who made ambitious music videos and use that as a qualifying factor to comparing and contrasting them,” Swift said. “I hated that because Madonna and I have gotten along and been fans of each other and performed together, and I didn’t want to see that, and there was nothing I could do, and there’s nothing she could do, because that’s the way the world works right now.”
5. She wants to be like Oprah Winfrey or Angelina Jolie when she is older.
“If you look at Oprah, she’s made so many people happy over the years,” Swift said. “Same thing with Angelina Jolie. She’s been so productive, but she’s used that position to better other people’s lives, and I think that’s where I’d want to be. I want to leave a trail of people behind me who had gotten better opportunities or felt better about themselves because of me or smiled because of me.”
Read more of Swift’s cover story and see photos from the spread