In the new Netflix documentary Miss Americana, Taylor Swift pulls back the curtain on her life and career. As director Lana Wilson follows Swift through her Reputation stadium tour and work on her latest album Lover, the artist sounds off on subjects she’d previously left untouched. The revelations come in small and large packages: One moment, Swift’s admitting she’d only discovered burritos two years ago and the next she’s revealing new insight into her relationship with Joe Alwyn. Here are 10 of the most insightful moments from the new documentary.
On Falling in Love with Joe Alwyn
Alwyn, Swift’s boyfriend of nearly four years, mainly stays off camera in Miss Americana. She shares videos from a time when the pair was getting together away from the spotlight.
“I was falling in love with someone who had a really wonderful, normal, balanced kind of life,” she says. “We decided together we wanted our relationship to be private.” Their relationship is still kept mainly quiet, other than a moment where Swift runs into Alwyn’s arms after a concert and sings “Call It What You Want” while mouthing “I love you” to the camera. Of her time meeting and falling for Alwyn she says simply, “We were happy. It was happiness without anyone else’s input.”
On Getting Involved Politically
Miss Americana also shows the motives behind Swift’s October 2018 IG post, the one that proclaimed her political beliefs for the first time. After she admits she’s “sad that she didn’t” come out against Donald Trump in 2016, Swift tells her team that she wants to be “on the right side of history.” Although her father Scott and other members of her team are resistant to Swift talking about politics she says, “I need to do this. I need you, dad, to forgive me for doing it, because I’m doing it.”
Those conversations result in Swift’s Instagram post, in which she endorses Democratic Senate and congressional candidates in Tennessee. Although both ultimately lost, voter registration in the state saw a sizable uptick. And it offers Swift a chance to come out against Senator Marsha Blackburn, who she refers to as “Trump in a wig” for policies she says don’t stand for the Tennessee Christian values she recognizes.
On the Inspiration Behind Her New Song “Only the Young”
Swift unveils a new song in Miss Americana titled “Only the Young.” She says the track is aimed at a generation of young voters who may have been discouraged but the losses of candidates like Beto O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams. “We have three to four million people turning 18 in the next two years — resist. If you can shift the power by being bold enough, it won’t be like this forever,” she says of the call to action.
As for having children, the 29-year-old says that one moment she feels 57 years old and the next she feels like she’s “definitely not ready to have kids, for this grown up stuff.” Even so, her longtime friend Abigail tells her she’d be a good mother while sharing wine at Swift’s house.
On Her Public Feud with Kanye West
The infamous MTV VMAs moment of 2009 was a major life event for Swift. During the documentary she says she was someone who’s “built their whole belief system on getting people to clap for you.” Swift admits it only “takes one event for (that belief system) to come crashing down.” That event? West’s onstage interruption during her acceptance speech.
“Kanye [West] was a catalyst for a lot of psychological paths I went down,” she explains. “I thought they were booing me. The whole crowd booing is a pretty formative experience.” Another major moment came when West released the 2016 song “Famous.” The infamous Snapchat drama with Kim Kardashian left Swift feeling “alone, bitter, like a wounded animal lashing out.” So she went away for a year to deconstruct everything. “The reason why the backlash hurt so much is because that used to be all I had,” she says.
On Struggling With an Eating Disorder
During the documentary, Swift gets candid about her body issues. She says, “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day,” adding, “I tend to get triggered by something, whether it’s a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or someone said that I looked pregnant or something. That will just trigger me to —,” she pauses, “starve a little bit. Just stop eating.”
Swift said she’d defend herself against the concerns of those close to her, telling people she just exercised a lot. “I did exercise a lot but wasn’t eating,” Swift admits. She still feels “it’s all just fucking impossible” to have the perfect body as a woman. These days, Swift says she doesn’t feel like she’ll pass out during a concert and has made peace with being a size 6, not 00. “I’m a lot happier with who I am. I don’t care as much if somebody points out that I have gained weight. It’s just something that makes my life better,” Swift explains.
On Her Mother’s Cancer Diagnosis
Swift mainly leaves her feelings about her mother’s cancer to the Lover track “Soon You’ll Get Better.” But during the doc, she says her mom’s sickness “woke me up from this life” where she was concerned with inconsequential things. “Do you really care that the internet doesn’t like you when your mom is sick from chemo?”
On Her Bittersweet Album of the Year Win
In 2016, Swift won Album of the Year for 1989, her second win in the Grammys category. She said the victory was bittersweet because she realized, “oh my god, that was all [I] wanted” but that she “didn’t have a partner. I didn’t have anyone I could talk to.” (Swift was dating Calvin Harris at the time.) Swift says she remembers thinking, “Shouldn’t I have someone that I could call right now?”
On Her Sexual Assault Case
During a rainy concert in Tampa, Swift sings the 1989 song “Clean,” commemorating the one-year anniversary of her sexual assault court case. “Something is unchangeably different after my sexual assault trial,” Swift says after she accused DJ David Mueller of groping her during a meet and greet. He sued her in 2015. She later countersued for a symbolic $1 and won.
The experience taught her a lot and still sticks with Swift to this day. “You don’t feel a sense of any victory when you win because the process is so dehumanizing,” she says. “There were seven witnesses and a photo. What happens when you get raped and it’s your word against his?”
On the Pressures of Being a Woman in the Music Industry
Swift describes being a woman as “twisting yourself into a pretzel on an hourly basis.” But the singer admits she’d like to “work hard” and say things musically “while people still tolerate me being successful.” This includes Swift’s desire to embrace both her femininity and feminist ideas. “I wanna love glitter and also stand up for the double standards that exist in our society,” she declares. “I wanna wear pink, and tell you how I feel about politics. And I don’t think those things have to cancel each out.”