PICTURED ABOVE: 1. Senior Morgan Lutz reads her special edition Rolling Stone magazine dedicated to Taylor Swift. 2. Seniors Kristi Li and Emily Ma pose in front of their collection of BTS albums. 3. Lutz holds her complete collection of Swift albums that she received for Christmas. She sports her “Reputation” sweatshirt and is wearing her snake ring purchased from Swift’s collection.4. Li and Ma wave and smile with their BTS light sticks. The two bought the sticks at the BTS concert that they attended in September.
The first time Lutz listened to Taylor Swift, she was at a friend’s house and the album “Fearless” was playing.
“I really admired her song writing skills, even as an elementary school student,” Lutz said. “I realized that her skills were really special.”
However, her love for Swift was taken to a new level when the album “1989” came out.
“I still call [‘1989’] my favorite album because it is the album that got me into everything Taylor and got me to realize all of the different reasons I love her today,” Lutz said.
For Lutz, however, Swift’s catchy songs and vocal talent aren’t the only reasons that she admires the singer.
“[Swift’s] connection with her fans is really the reason why I love her, because she is such a genuine and nice person,” Lutz said. “You can’t tell that from a lot of artists, but you can tell by watching videos that people have taken of her when her guard is down, when she is not at a show or an interview or whatever—where she is just a really fun and kind person.”
Swift often makes a conscious effort to connect with her fans. The music sensation often joins “Swifties” live stream videos and comments on their pictures. And each year, a few lucky fans are able to experience “Swiftmas,” an event in which Swift visits their doors bearing gifts.
In addition to attending 12 different night’s worth of concerts, Lutz runs an Instagram fan account for Swift (@ youareinlovewithtaylorswift) and even started a new Taylor Swift fan club at school this year. Both have proven to be very popular among fellow Swift fans—one of Lutz’s videos posted on the fan account even reached 95,000 views.
Ultimately, for Lutz, Swift has always been a role model. Whether it be defending herself in a sexual assault trial—and eventually going on to be named Time’s 2017 Person of the Year as a “Silence Breaker”—or donating a considerable amount of money to charity, Swift is one that Lutz looks to for guidance.
“Even though she is less in the limelight in this era,— since she doesn’t do any interviews anymore and doesn’t talk to the press anymore—seeing her be the person that she has always been keeps affirming my love for her,” Lutz said.
Kristi Li and Emily Ma
Ma was a freshman when she first discovered BTS as she was scrolling through Tumblr. BTS, a seven-member South Korean boy band, roughly translates to Beyond The Scene in English. From Ma, Li developed her love for BTS.
“I was influenced by Emily. I came in sophomore year,” Li said. “I thought the group name was ridiculous at first, but she kind of just dragged me into this fandom.”
Both girls agree that BTS’ lyrics go beyond typical, shallow messages often seen in songs today—they have meaningful storylines detailing their life experiences.
“They put their stories into their songs and try to communicate to their fans. [BTS] focuses more on the growth that they went through becoming K-pop artists—the dark side of K-pop and the brighter side,” Ma said. “It is very raw, emotional and authentic.”
Additionally, Li and Ma admire the fact that the boy band writes their own music and sometimes creates their own dance moves. When the two fans were able to witness these dance moves in person at their concert on Sept. 15, they felt that the whole experience was surreal.
Furthermore, when one band member releases a solo, it is still included on their album, a choice that most bands generally do not make. Li and Ma appreciate the group’s loyalty to each other in this sense.
Ultimately, BTS has made an impact on the two fans’ lives beyond creating catchy music. For Ma, who is very passionate about film, the band has influenced her immensely as a filmmaker.
“At first I thought about filmmaking as a personal thing—that I was the only one who mattered for my projects and I didn’t care how others perceived them and what they felt or got from watching my films,” Ma said. “But I feel like after four years of following BTS, they inspired me to do something bigger and use film as a medium to spread inspiration.”
For Li and Ma, BTS is more than just a band—they are role models. Whether it be launching a “Love Myself” UNICEF campaign centered around finding one’s own voice or producing meaningful and relatable lyrics, they have touched both girls’ lives.
“Thank you [BTS] for opening the door for me to be true to my own emotions,” Li said.
Story by Charlotte Dross, Editor-in-Chief
Photos by Charlotte Dross