What do me, the Haim sisters and Jack Antonoff all have in common? Easy, we’re all Jewish and we’ve all been invited to Taylor Swift’s house for a secret session. Sure, their invites may have been because they’re best friends with Taylor—but for a moment, Taylor made me feel like I was one of her besties, too.
I was lucky enough to attend a secret session, an event where Taylor invites fans to her house and plays her album early. Attendees get to spend hours in her house, mingling with other Swifties, eating good food and essentially getting a one-on-one meet and greet session with Taylor. I visited her home in Nashville in October 2017, where I got to hear “reputation” a few weeks before it was released. It was definitely the highlight of my senior year!
Getting invited was a wild process. Disclaimer: I have no idea why I was chosen. She did follow me on my old Tumblr in 2015, and she did like a lot of my posts, but that hardly makes me unique in the Tumblr landscape. She followed thousands of people exactly like me. I don’t know how I caught her eye, but I’m endlessly grateful I did. When I got the DM from her team, @taylornation, on Oct. 14, my heart had never been so full. So, I was pretty annoyed when they ghosted me only to tell me I was rejected from the event on Oct. 21. Yeah, they messaged me on my BIRTHDAY. It was pretty devastating. But, the very next morning, at noon in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, I got a call from an unknown New York number: finally, my secret session invite was here. Any past mistakes were ignored, all that mattered was that I could be meeting Taylor in a little over 72 hours.
I booked a flight for Nashville and three days later I was waiting in a conference room in a hotel downtown. We had to leave all of our stuff there and had to prove we had no way of hiding recording devices. One girl wasn’t allowed to bring her eyeliner because it was too suspicious! It definitely felt a little bit like we were about to be kidnapped, but it was totally worth it. Pulling up to those gates of her house… the entire bus seemed to be charged with excited energy.
Actually being at her house was unreal. Dinner was provided, a mixture of all different goodies—chicken nuggets, sushi, pizza, custom cookies and M&Ms. We hung outside for an hour or so before we made it inside where we got to meet the one and only Taylor Swift.
Before Taylor walked in the room, her team members passed out boxes of tissues to the crowd. They were definitely necessary when Taylor walked in. For me, and likely everyone in that crowd, I was getting to live my most far-fetched dream.
When we calmed down, the actual secret part of the secret session happened. We got to hear the “reputation” album all the way through, with Taylor taking the time to explain the background for each song before she played it. It was surreal. We learned about everything from inspiration to the production process. When we got to “Look What You Made Me Do,” Taylor came around to have a dance party with us. She held my hand while we danced, and I sadly remember that my immediate thought was “I can never wash this hand again!”
Thankfully I got over that, as later that night, Taylor enveloped me in the biggest, warmest, most comforting, best hug of my life. (Sorry, Mom, yours are good too!) She smelled better than anyone I had ever met—don’t worry, I bought the perfume afterwards. In my nervous state, I babbled at her for about five minutes, saying super intellectual statements like “happy birthday ‘Enchanted’!” and “my dad isn’t cool enough to be in our picture.” Taylor was gracious about it, laughing at my awkwardness and letting me take two pictures, one with and without my dad. When I asked her if we could “hug like best friends,” she agreed with no hesitation, once again throwing her arms around me. She even squatted down to my height! It’s an extra impressive feat considering she was in heels, making her a full foot taller than I was.
But that’s Taylor: always willing to go above and beyond to make her fans feel special. On top of the magical experience, she gave each guest free “reputation” merchandise (that I still have to this day!). She also “Tay-lurked” me right after the session, going through my Tumblr and liking my recounts of our night. A cherry on top to a perfect evening.
I was enchanted to meet Taylor. I had the best day. I had the time of my life fighting dragons with her. Insert any other similar lyrics you prefer, because they’re all true. I still can’t fully wrap my mind around Oct. 25, 2017 being a real day. But, there are two photos and an endless slew of my cringey Tumblr posts to prove it true.