Taylor Swift is a seven-time GRAMMY winner, and the youngest recipient in history of the music industry’s highest honor, the GRAMMY Award for Album of the Year. She is the best-selling digital music artist of all time, and the only female artist in music history (and just the fourth artist ever) to twice have an album hit the 1 million first-week sales figure (2010’s Speak Now and 2012’s RED). She’s a household name whose insanely catchy yet deeply personal self-penned songs transcend music genres, and a savvy businesswoman who has built a childhood dream into an empire.
But the numbers don’t tell Taylor’s story half as well as she could. After all, it’s the intangibles that elevate Swift into the stratosphere of our pop culture planet, allowing the 24-year old singer-songwriter to orbit in a more rarified air. Her large-scale charitable donations are one thing, but it’s in the small gestures – the notes of compassion she posts on the Instagram photos of lovelorn fans, the genuine hugs she gives without discretion – where Swift proves time and time again that platinum-selling, record-setting success has not changed her inherent nature. She is awkwardly honest and powerfully empathetic; a brazen superfan, loyal friend, fierce protector of hearts; and one of the world’s greatest ambassadors for the power of just being yourself.