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Thursday, September 18th, 2014: I received a private message via Twitter from Taylor Nation, the official Twitter for TaylorSwift.com and Taylor Connect. I was offered what was described as "an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," but was sworn to secrecy, lest the offer be revoked. If I was interested, I was to reply with my full name and phone number. Naturally, without skipping a beat, I replied with exactly that.
When they finally called me, I was told I needed to be available the following Saturday. I was given a meeting place, a time, a password to provide when I got there and exactly zero other details. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.
By nothing more than pure chance, my best friend, Chelsea, and her sister, Emily, were also chosen for this opportunity. We arrived at the meeting location at 4:30 p.m. on September 20th and were joined by 30 other fans. We were checked in by Taylor’s team and turned in all of our belongings including our phones and purses. We were all put on a shuttle bus and that is when we had all started to suspect we were meeting Taylor. We weren’t officially told, but it was heavily implied.
The bus drove us through a Beverly Hills neighborhood until it finally pulled into a rocky driveway behind a heavy gate. We had arrived at Taylor Swift’s house. I repeat, we had arrived at TAYLOR SWIFT’S HOUSE. We each had to go through one last security check to make sure we had no belongings on us.
We were led through her backyard where there was quite the impressive food set-up. We were told to help ourselves to anything we wanted. There was pepperoni pizza, vegetarian sushi, chicken and steak skewers, fruits and veggies and a dessert table filled with brownies, cookies and so much more. I will never be able to describe the thoughts and feelings that went through my head while having a meal in Taylor Swift’s backyard. I was chatting with my new friends, completely forgetting the outlandish circumstances that had brought us together, until it would dawn on me all over again that somehow my ordinary life had brought me to dinner at Taylor Swift’s house.
When we were done eating, they filed us inside and we made ourselves comfortable in her living room. The décor was whimsical and quaint and matched that of most Taylor Swift music videos you’ve seen. There were candles everywhere, framed photos of her and Selena Gomez (amongst many pictures of her other famous friends and family) and various awards scattered along her shelves. A cute turquoise chair with a small owl pillow was placed curiously at the front of the room. Some members of her team were already inside, including her mom, Andrea and her dad, Scott. The anticipation was building in all of us as we were trying to take it all in.
That’s when Taylor herself walked into the room and we all lost it. There were a ton of tears, laughter and hugging. Tissues were passed around. Taylor took a seat in her turquoise chair and told us that she had been planning this for months. She had been looking at all of her fans’ social media accounts to find the ones she wanted to invite. She thought it was so weird to see our photos on the Internet and then to see us in real life right in front of her. Yeah, ditto, Taylor.
She finally explained that the reason she invited us over was so she could play her unreleased album, "1989," for us. The only thing she asked of us is that we keep the song titles and lyrics to ourselves. She went through the album in its entirety and described the writing process and inspiration behind each song.
If I were to describe the album in one word, it would be SASSY. I cannot wait for the rest of the world to hear it! It’s bold and upbeat and I already have a favorite that I hope will be the next single because it’s absolutely brilliant, so I’m crossing my fingers! Taylor sang along to each track, giving us a small taste of what future performances could possibly be like. She was loving it and loving our reactions even more.
Halfway through the album, she announced it was time for a break. We used this break to go to the bathroom if needed. (We all suddenly and conveniently had the urge to go, probably because we wanted to see what her bathroom looked like). Some fans got to go upstairs to use her second bathroom, passing a room with the door open and a huge piano inside. During this break, she brought out her cat, Olivia Benson, for us to meet and play with. She tried to bring out her other famous cat, Meredith, but Meredith was fussy and wanted nothing to do with us so Taylor put her away. Next, she brought out a tray of homemade pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that she baked herself and passed them out to all the fans.
When the break was over, we all headed back into the living room to start up the second half of the listening session. When describing one of the songs, Andrea interrupted by saying, “Taylor, tell them where you wrote this one!” to which she replied, while pointing to the neighboring room, “Oh! In the piano room right there!”
The final song she played was, of course, her current single "Shake It Off." She had us all stand up with her so we could have a dance party. I had a dance party with Taylor Swift in her own living room! When the song ended she asked if we wanted to take pictures (as if we’d turn down that suggestion!), but before we got started, she put her music on shuffle. The first song that played was "Backseat Freestyle" by Kendrick Lamar. She spoke in a recent article about knowing every lyric to that song and I can now confirm to you that she absolutely knew every. single. lyric. It turned into round 2 of a dance party as she sang along to it. I can now say I’ve witnessed Taylor Swift sing the words, “I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower, so I can fuck the world for seventy-two hours.”
It was finally time to take our photos with Taylor. She took us each individually and let us pose however we wanted. When it was my turn, Taylor greeted me with a hug and the first thing she told me was that I was beautiful. Just a few weeks prior to this encounter, I expressed to my friends that I had made a goal for myself to meet her this 1989 era, so I told her that I never imagined that it would possibly happen in this capacity. She said she thought this experience was as equally cool for her as it was for me.
I recently cut about 10 inches off my hair, inspired in part by her recent hair cut, and she told me she loved it and that I’m going to keep wanting to go shorter. After that photo, it was time to say goodbye and as I was walking away, she asked the photographer, “Isn’t her hair so pretty?” TAYLOR SWIFT THINKS BOTH MY HAIR AND MY FACE ARE PRETTY, YOU GUYS.
When I walked out the side door, I was given a Taylor Swift tote bag filled with all sorts of "1989" merchandise, including a key chain that was engraved with: 1989 Secret Sessions -- Los Angeles, Ca.
With that, the best day of my life was over. We were shuttled back to the meeting place and, once again, given instructions not to share any details about the songs or lyrics.
I would like to thank Taylor Swift for being the incredible, humble, gracious human being that she is. Opening up her home to me and a few other lucky fans was beyond any of our wildest dreams. I still am trying to process that it actually happened to me and that it wasn’t a dream. It really, really happened.
Taylor Swift invited me to her home and I will never, ever forget that night for as long as I live.