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Top 10 Iconic Taylor Swift Moments

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
This musician definitely knows how to shake it off. For this video we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Taylor Swift Pop Culture Moments. For this list, we’re won’t be looking at performances or musical releases specifically, but rather delving more broadly into her career. We’ve included moments like when she sang with Lisa Kudrow, answering Vogue’s 73 Questions, getting a scary surprise on “Ellen”, helping change the Apple music policy, receiving the ACM’s 50th Anniversary Milestone Award and more!

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Top 10 Taylor Swift Pop Culture Moments

This musician definitely knows how to shake it off. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Taylor Swift Pop Culture Moments.

For this list, we’re won’t be looking at performances or musical releases specifically, but rather delving more broadly into her career.

#10: Singing with Lisa Kudrow

When Taylor Swift is on tour, she has a tendency to surprise her audiences with musical guests. The last show of her 1989 world tour took place at the Los Angeles’ Staples Center and both Justin Timberlake and Selena Gomez made appearances. Though both duets were incredible, arguably the most memorable moment from the event was when Lisa Kudrow appeared on stage to teach Swift how to sing her iconic tune from “Friends”, “Smelly Cat”, while acting in character as Phoebe Buffay. Is there anything more adorbs than this?

#9: Answering Vogue’s 73 Questions

In April of 2016, Swift opened up her Beverly Hills home and became the latest celebrity to participate in Vogue’s popular 73 Questions series. Though she has always been known for being relatable, she amps it up in this unconventional interview where she talks about her songwriting process, her favorite foods and her lesser-known talents. The most perplexing part is when she’s asked what her favorite cocktail is and she replies “vodka diet coke”. We’re not here to judge, but we didn’t think anyone drank that mixture who wasn’t raiding their parents’ liquor cabinets. Taylor Swift… she’s truly one of a kind.

#8: Getting a Scary Surprise on "Ellen"

Ellen DeGeneres made it a bit of a habit of scaring celebrities on her show over the years, but there is perhaps no scare more iconic than this one. Ellen hid inside a dressing room bathroom on set and convinced Taylor to walk in, only to jump out and startle her, causing her to collapse to the ground in fear, which eventually turned to hysterical laughter. Ellen has managed to scare the pop star many times since, but nothing can compare to this first fright. Similarly funny is the conversation Ellen had with Swift more recently over her seemingly irrational fear of sea urchins.

#7: Helping Change the Apple Music Policy

In June 2015, Taylor wrote an open letter about Apple Music’s policy of not paying artists when their content was streamed or downloaded during the free user trial period. She explained that, for that reason, she wouldn’t be releasing her album, “1989”, on the service. The next day however, Apple changed their tune (or should that be “iTunes”?) and agreed to her terms. By April of 2016, she had become an ambassador of sorts for Apple Music, appearing in several ads for them. Similarly, she took all her music off Spotify and fought for a better payment system for artists. She even later signed a groundbreaking record deal that not only benefited her, but all artists, by encouraging her record company to share some of the profits from Spotify with the people who make the music.

#6: Receiving the ACM’s 50th Anniversary Milestone Award

In 2015, Swift was awarded an Academy of Country Music’s 50th Anniversary Milestone Award for being the youngest-ever ACM entertainer of the year, and to make the moment even more poignant, her mother, Andrea Finlay, was the one to present her with it. Swift had recently revealed her mom’s cancer diagnosis, so this moment was triumphant but also bittersweet. Taylor had already been awarded several statues at the American Country Music Awards in years prior, and the release of her first exclusively pop album, “1989” could have marked a time when she strayed from her roots, but the community who made her famous continued to embrace her.

#5: Hosting “SNL”

In January 2009, Taylor appeared on “Saturday Night Live” for the first time as the musical guest; and just a few months later, she played double duty by both performing musically and hosting the main event. In her opening monologue, Swift showed that she can be cleverly self-deprecating and make good fun of herself, bringing up some of the pop culture scandals she has been part of and the stereotypes she is known for. She also played her hit songs "You Belong with Me" and "Untouchable”, giving audiences a little bit of everything.

#4: Encouraging Her Fans to Vote

In recent years, it has become more and more common for actors and celebrities to get political, encouraging their fans to vote, and even getting involved in endorsing candidates or working on campaigns. For a long time, Taylor Swift stayed markedly silent on the topic of politics, causing many to wonder when she would finally become involved in the dialogue. That time turned out to be the fall of 2018 when she posted a statement saying, “"In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”

#3: Winning Her Sexual Assault Case

In 2013, Swift took a stand after being sexually assaulted by a radio DJ, David Mueller, by reporting the incident to his superiors. Mueller sued Swift, claiming that she caused him to lose his job by reporting the incident, but she counter-sued and ultimately won her case and by extension, advanced her cause. In a statement made at the time she said, “I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard.” Privileged or not, Swift set a great example with her actions.

#2: Giving a Speech at the 2016 Grammys

In 2016, Taylor Swift became the first woman to ever twice win Album of the Year at the Grammys, and she took her acceptance speech as an opportunity to make a powerful statement that resonated with everyone who heard it. She spoke specifically to women, reminding them that they are responsible for their own success, and that they should never let anyone else take credit for their work . . . giving a not-so-veiled nod to the lyrics Kanye wrote about her (more on that in a moment). Her usual bubbly personality was put aside for a moment in order to convey the gravity of her words, and it still gives us shivers to watch.

#1: Using the Kanye Incident to Grow

We will never forget Kanye West interrupting Taylor’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. It might seem strange to put this negative moment at the top of our list, but the reality is, so much of what Taylor has done in the last decade has been a reaction to this incident. In many ways, this was the catalyst that helped Swift take control of her own reputation and embrace her tougher side. Her continuing on-off feud with Kanye, complex as it’s been, has colored the rest of her career, and for that reason, it takes our number one spot.

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