Hanging with Taylor Swift

By Cassie Cristea, Gamma Theta (Penn State Erie, The Behrend College)

Nina Buzzeo, Beta Delta (Duquesne University) had a dream come true last month when she received a special invitation from Taylor Swift’s management group, Taylor Nation. She was invited to a coveted Secret Session at the “Shake It Off” singer’s home, where Nina hung out with Taylor and got a special sneak peek of her sixth album, Reputation, before its November 10 release.

Q: Tell us how you got to meet Taylor Swift.

I’ve been a fan for 11 years and always followed her on social media. She also been following me on Tumblr for three years and would occasionally interact with me, but not a lot. I got a “top secret” message on October 7 inviting me to a Taylor Swift event, which I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody about. But, I had a hunch what it was since she did Secret Sessions three years ago before her last album.

The event was at her home in Rhode Island. We had to find our own transportation, which was no problem because I was ready to drop everything! We got there at 3 p.m., signed a non-disclosure agreement, and hung out with her mom, dad, and brother for two hours. After dinner, Taylor came down and we listened to Reputation. Taylor explained the meaning of each song to us.

She actually knew my name, which surprised me! She personally picked each of us and knew details about each of us. The Secret Session was actually supposed to go until 9 p.m., but Taylor kept saying “no rush.” We ended up staying there until 11:30 or so.

Q: In your blog, you mentioned that the album tells a story. What would you say the moral of that story is?

She used to care so much about what people and the media thought about her. She doesn’t care anymore and she’s finally in love. It’s a story of how that love progressed. She used to write about her break-ups and what it would be like to be in love. Now, it’s the actual story of how she fell in love.

Q: Can you tell us what to expect from the new album?

It’s very different. It’s still Taylor Swift, but nothing like before. You can expect to be surprised.

Q: Do you have any favorite songs you’ve heard from the new album? (Because of her non-disclosure agreement, Nina can’t discuss specific songs, but can provide track numbers.)

Track 15 was my favorite. We all remember track 15 because that was the last one.

Q: What is your favorite Taylor Swift song?

“Haunted” from Speak Now is my favorite. “Blank Space” from 1989 is also a song I can play over and over again. Also, I love her entire first album.

Q: What was your favorite part of the entire experience?

I loved seeing how human she was. I thought I would be crying, but by the time we got to pictures, nobody was crying. She made us feel so comfortable, like we were her friends. Everybody talks about how sweet and down to earth she is, and she really is. She was doing things for herself and wasn’t bossing anybody around.

Q: What was one thing that you took away from this experience that you would want everyone to know?

Never give up on your dreams. I never thought I would meet her. I saw all these fans getting to meet her and I still didn’t meet her. She didn’t interact with me much before this. But there were people she sought out on Twitter who she wasn’t following. I would definitely say to never give up on your dreams.