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What we can all learn from Taylor swift

If you haven’t caught it yet on Netflix, the new Taylor Swift documentary ‘Miss Americana’ is an absolute must-see.

This unique insight into the singer’s personal world shows a young woman coming of age, finding her voice and shining her inner light after a rollercoaster couple of years in and out of the spotlight.

Along the way Swift perfectly encapsulates the immortal advice of Coco Chanel that true ‘beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself’.

Here are three beautiful moments from Miss Americana and why they’re a lesson to us all…

True beauty begins within

In the wake of the West incident and the shift in public sentiment, Swift disappeared from public view.  In the interim she battled an eating disorder, focussed even more intently on her work and emerged victorious with a swathe of awards for a whole new genre of music.

“I’m a lot happier with who I am,” Swift reflects in Miss Americana.

“I don’t care as much if somebody points out I have gained weight. It’s just something that makes my life better – the fact that I’m a size 6 instead of a size zero – because that wasn’t how my body was supposed to be.”

Grace and humility always wins

It’s fair to say Taylor Swift had a tough couple of years after initially enjoying a meteoric rise to fame as the all-American girl next door.

Starting with that infamous Kanye West drop-in at the VMA music awards, things quickly got nasty, culminating in #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty trending on twitter.

For a girl who previously thrived on public adoration and applause, it was devastating. As the documentary recounts, it forced Swift to re-evaluate her whole framework of thinking.

She had to learn to seek approval not from others, but from herself or in her words find “happiness without anyone else’s input”.  Taylor took a year of solitude, taking the time off to work on herself and to put her energy and focus into what she loves most – making music… And she did just that! Creating her album ‘Lover’ which won her an American Music Award for Favourite Album Pop/Rock for 2019.

Speak Your Truth

For years Swift had polarised the US for keeping her silence on political issues. In 2014 she told talk show host David Letterman: “I feel like at 22, it’s my right to vote, but it’s not my right to tell other people what to do”.

That changed in the 2018 US mid-term elections, when despite many in her team telling her not to, the then 28-year-old felt she could keep her silence no more.

She came out in defence of women’s rights and the LGBT community, noting she had finally found her voice. She encouraged her 112 million Instagram followers to have their voices heard too, calling on them to vote. An astounding 65,000 people registered in the 24 hours afterwards in direct response to her appeal.

Swift recounts the shift in her thinking in Miss Americana, noting she told herself: “The next time there is ever any opportunity to change something – you better know what you stand for and what you want to say”.

“I feel really good about not feeling muzzled anymore and it was my own doing.”

Since accusing DJ David Mueller of groping her during a meet and greet, Swift herself experienced how important talking about your sexual assault or harassment was for awareness. Recalling the difficult case as a “dehumanising process” in Miss Americana, Swift countersued Mueller for a symbolic $1, winning the case.

 “There were seven witnesses and a photo. What happens when you get raped and it’s your word against his?”

In an interview with Time Magazine, she offers a piece of advice to victims: “My advice is that you do not blame yourself and you do not accept the blame others will try to place on you. You should not be blamed for waiting 15 minutes or 15 days or 15 years to report sexual assault or harassment, or for the outcome of what happens to a person after he or she makes the choice to sexually harass or assault you.”

The Miss Americana takeaway

This inspiring documentary isn’t just compelling for the remarkable feats Taylor Swift has achieved as a young woman transitioning from her teens into her late 20s in full public view.

The real story is the journey of finding her feet, her voice and herself despite the ups, downs, huge successes, and monumental lows.

Like many of us, this music megastar struggles with self-doubt, the beauty ideal, and questions what she believes and represents as a person.

Speaking to our ‘beauty and brains’ messaging here at The French, Taylor said, “I wanna wear pink and tell you how I feel about politics. And I don’t think those things have to cancel each out.”

Ultimately, Miss Americana sees her embrace the mission and values we consistently aspire to here. At 29, and with the world watching on, Taylor Swift is undeniably a beauty icon as a woman who has grown to become ‘comfortable in her own skin’.

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