Photograph by Martin Schoeller for Time
Mari Kasanuki
Nov 13, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

We've come to know Taylor Swift as a platinum album–creating singer-songwriter, a red-carpet darling, and a street-style superstar to boot. But in a recent interview with Time, Swift, 24, unveiled some surprising fears about maintaining her level of success and her place as a female artist in the music industry.

"It's a really important thing that I manage my anxiety when it comes to the future, because, you know, I have very few female role models. That scares me sometimes," says Swift, whose No.1 album, 1989, sold more than 1.2 million copies in its first week. "We’re taught to find examples for the way we want our lives to wind up. But I can’t find anyone, really, who’s had the same career trajectory as mine."

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"I just struggle to find a woman in music who hasn’t been completely picked apart by the media, or scrutinized and criticized for aging, or criticized for fighting aging—it just seems to be much more difficult to be a woman in music and to grow older," she says in this week's issue of Time.

The "Shake It Off" singer acknowledges two famous women from outside of the music world whom she admires: The Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten ("I really love her business, and how she sticks to who she is, and how people relate to it") and Law & Order: SVU's Mariska Hargitay.

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Swift, who named one of her cats Detective Olivia Benson (above) after Hargitay's SVU character, explains to the magazine why the actress is one of her role models. "I think she has a beautiful life, and an incredible career, and I think she’s built that for herself," she says. "She's one of the highest-paid actresses—actors in general, women or men—on television, and she's been playing this very strong female character for, what, 15 years now?"

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While it may be difficult to come up with a female musician with Swift's exact career blueprint, the singer has found no shortage of inspiration from the people who are close to her. Swift's array of famous friends—which includes the likes of Selena Gomez, Lorde, and Lena Dunham—often recognize their friendship on social media and publicly support each other.

"I surround myself with smart, beautiful, passionate, driven, ambitious women," she says. "Other women who are killing it should motivate you, thrill you, challenge you and inspire you rather than threaten you and make you feel like you’re immediately being compared to them."

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