This is probably what you think of when you think of Taylor Swift…she’s on stage, she’s whipping her hair around (she does that because she’s trying to cool herself off, by the way…insider information from yours truly. LOL), she’s dancing up a storm…she’s a gorgeous, young, fiery ball of energy.
When I started working with Taylor, she was 17 years old, an opening act for another opening act on Brad Paisley’s tour. We clicked immediately, as I saw in her what I was like at that age: quirky, eager to try new things, funny, friendly to everyone, and MAN, is that girl a hard worker (OK, that last part wasn’t so much me at 17…though I could hold my own at Menards…I wasn’t jumping on a tour bus every night & conducting interviews every day before and after work!).
Since Taylor is a previous client of mine, I can’t divulge exactly what we did together, but I can tell you this…I learned a lot from her. And I’d like to think she learned a lot from me (like, seriously, would her voice be as powerful as it is had we not practiced the breathing techniques I taught her?! I’ve gotta take SOME credit for that, don’t you think?!).
Taylor gets photographed all the time…posing for photo shoots, on stage, and caught coming out of fast food restaurants by paparazzi (another fun fact…she dips her french fries into chocolate milkshakes…which I think is just gross, but to each their own). What you may not have noticed is that very rarely is she seen without makeup. Even when she’s getting a workout in these days, as she’s coming out of the gym, her signature red lipstick is on.
Our sessions took place behind the scenes, usually in the “green room” backstage. Since she wasn’t in public, Taylor was typically makeup-free. After one of our sessions, years ago, I spontaneously handed my camera to one of her band members and asked him to take a picture of the two of us. I admit, I was curious to see how she would react, but I really wanted to capture the moment…following a session in which the whole band had a “breakthrough” (yes, they would sometimes join us for our sessions…which was fun). This picture is so special to me, not only because I recall that day so vividly, but because she is so REAL in the moment. It’s also special because it’s the only one that I have of her without makeup. 😉 No makeup…just Taylor.
I have worked with hundreds of women over the years, from celebrities to “regular Joe’s” (er, Jane’s, I guess…). Most of them have self-image issues, and we spend a lot of time getting to the root of them. Why do we, as women, feel that we aren’t enough? We feel like, before we step out the door and “present ourselves” to the public, we need the “right” clothes, perfectly-coiffed hair, and full makeup. I believe it goes beyond the physical to something deeper…what is it that we feel we need to cover up? And, more importantly, WHY?
There are no easy answers. It takes work to gain a healthy self-image. It takes a commitment to be honest with yourself about your past, and who you want to be in the future. All I know is that, though she probably doesn’t even realize it, Taylor helped me to feel better about who I am beneath what I “put out there”.
I am enough. And that is a life lesson that you can’t get from watching a rock star perform on stage.
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