Time magazine’s Person of the Year is Taylor Swift — because in this era, who else could it have possibly been?
The magazine announced its 2023 pick on Wednesday. The 33-year-old singer beat out Barbie, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and even King Charles III for the spot (though Swift, too, is undeniably royalty in her own right).
Swift told Time the honour — which has been previously bestowed to politicians, world leaders, activists and more — made her “the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt.”
Swift graced the Time magazine pages with a powerful photoshoot that saw the Anti-Hero singer pose in her signature red lip shade. In one snap, Swift posed with one of her cats, Benjamin Button, around her neck.
Just in case the coveted title wasn’t enough of an accolade, this week Swift was also named People magazine’s Most Intriguing Person of the Year and Forbes’ Most Powerful Woman in Media and Entertainment for 2023.
Swift’s Time magazine feature, written by Sam Lansky, is a more in-depth look at the notoriously tight-lipped star than her fans are often used to. The interview is sweeping, covering topics from her Eras tour to when Kanye West interrupted her on stage at the 2009 VMAs and even her much-buzzed-about romance with football player Travis Kelce.
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Swift reminisced about the highs and lows of her career, and said she’s often been “given a tiara, then had it taken away.”
Though Swift captured the hearts of her dedicated fan base over a decade ago, she said this year has felt like “the breakthrough moment of my career.”
She’s not wrong. Swift reached even higher heights of success this year. Her highly praised The Eras Tour, which concluded its 2023 run in São Paulo last week, is anticipated to bring in an impressive US$4.1 billion (about C$5.5 billion), according to the Washington Post.
Swift broke Grammy records this year when she earned her seventh Song of the Year nomination, surpassing Sir Paul McCartney and Lionel Richie, who have six each.
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She also released two heavily anticipated albums this year, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version), as well as her Eras Tour movie.
On Spotify, Swift dethroned the longtime champion, Bad Bunny, as the platform’s most streamed artist globally. According to Spotify, international Swifties have listened to her music 26.1 billion times since the start of the year — which, for the record, is over three times more than there are people on the planet right now.
Swift told Time that the infamous incident involving her and West (who has since changed his name to Ye) shaped her to be the artist she is today. As Swift was awarded Best Female Video at the 2009 VMAs, Ye stole the mic to insist Beyoncé had a better video that year.
“I realized every record label was actively working to try to replace me,” Swift said, noting that 2009 was around the time she began to transition away from country music. “I thought instead, I’d replace myself first with a new me. It’s harder to hit a moving target.”
Years later, after she’d recovered her pride from being upstaged by Ye, he wrote a vulgar lyric about her in his song Famous. As the track blew up, Ye’s then-wife Kim Kardashian released a recording of an alleged phone call in which Swift seemingly consented to the lyric about her. Swift has denied ever consenting to the lyric and told Time the video of the phone call was doctored.
Swift said the fallout felt like a “career death.”
“Make no mistake—my career was taken away from me,” she said. “That took me down psychologically to a place I’ve never been before.”
As the world called her a snake, Swift said she moved to a foreign country and shut herself out.
In the years since, Swift has undeniably bounced back (and even embraced the “snake” identity in her 2017 album Reputation).
Swift has had a cultural impact even beyond the entertainment world. When she attended an NFL game in October to cheer on her boyfriend Kelce, a tight end with the Kansas City Chief, the game became the most-watched match of Sunday football since the Super Bowl.
“This all started when Travis very adorably put me on blast on his podcast, which I thought was metal as hell,” Swift told Time.
Kelce told his audience that he tried to gift Swift a friendship bracelet at her show but was unable to meet the star.
“We started hanging out right after that. So we actually had a significant amount of time that no one knew, which I’m grateful for, because we got to get to know each other. By the time I went to that first game, we were a couple.”
Swift said she is currently gearing up for the release of Reputation (Taylor’s Version), which like all other Taylor’s Version albums, will feature several tracks from the vault.
The Time magazine issue featuring Swift includes praise for the singer from Stevie Nicks, Greta Gerwig and more.
Last year’s Time Person of the Year was Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
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