What Happened to Taylor Swift's Girl Squad?
Taylor Swift practically invented #SquadGoals, and now she's traveling solo inside her own suitcase. What gives?
Picture this: it's 2015, and Taylor Swift has been everywhere. Her first official pop album, 1989, is inescapable. Swift is here and there: grabbing a bite to eat with bestie Gigi Hadid, celebrating New Year's with Sarah Hyland. She seems to have a close connection to every female artist in the industry. She’s casually hanging out with Selena Gomez, Hailee Steinfeld, sisters of HAIM the Band. She is fun and free, and the friend we all want, or want to be. Then she drops her internet-breaking video for "Bad Blood," and we truly come to understand the veracity of Taylor Swift’s #girlsquad. This isn't a matter of mere friendships, it is a force.
In the Katy Perry diss track, Swift says the singer "crossed the line," by allegedly trying to hire dancers out from under her during a tour. But the frenzy that followed became less and less about any feud with Perry, and more about the army of women Swift had by her side — in the video (which stars Hadid, Gomez, Martha Hunt, Cara Delevingne, Lily Aldridge, and more) and in real life.
From then on the squad was out in full force, strutting down Swift's massive 1989 catwalk show; popping up in random cities to surprise fans; at lavish beach parties in Rhode Island and dinner parties in her New York City penthouse. But fast forward to 2018, and Taylor Swift and her squad have ghosted. We went from 4th of July hangouts, VMA appearances, and swimming in a Champagne sea... to radio silence. On the rare occasion Swift has been seen out in public lately, she was traveling solo, and reportedly hiding inside of her own suitcase.
We can surmise that another feud had something to do with this. In February 2016 Kanye West released his track, “Famous” in which he takes credit for Swift’s stardom. After Swift won her second Album of the Year Grammy (with girl squad representative Selena Gomez as her date), she used her acceptance speech to fire back at West, and talk about the importance of true friends. "I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday, when you get where you’re going, you will look around and you will know — it was you, and the people who love you, who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world."
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As Swift began to sweep the feud under the rug, she also started wiping clean her personal life, clearing her front-and-center famous friendships out of the picture, too. She laid low and pretty much retired from Twitter and Instagram, leaving her friends to take the brunt of the drama. Some still publicly took sides. Gigi Hadid, for example, tweeted her loyalty to Swift while modeling for West’s Yeezy campaign, which was doubly bold since Hadid’s other close friend, Kendall Jenner has family ties to the feud. But Taylor had taken herself out of any further ado. If her reputation was going up in flames, it seemed she was going to cling to every bit she had left and keep it to herself.
Since then girl squad sightings have been few and far between. As Swift underwent a vulnerable moment of change personally and professionally, she did so quietly and away from the public eye (not unlike Miley Cyrus in the lead up to her forthcoming reinvention). If you’re only looking at press interviews and red carpet engagements, you’d probably guess the squad’s days are done. But what Swift and her ride-or-dies demonstrated through those bumpy couple of years is that she knows the meaning of friendship; she wasn’t going to quit on her crew because the going got… Kardashian-level dramatic on more than one occasion.
A superfan can tell that Swift’s girl gang is alive and well. They’ve just gotten way more selective about sharing their moments with the world. Those who've been looking have seen friends pop up at Swift's tour stops all throughout the country this year (Gigi Hadid’s been at multiple shows). There have been glimpses on Instagram stories, but generally the group, with Swift as their leader, have gotten better at dodging the paparazzi. (Who knows, maybe her friends pack themselves in carryon bags.) Here are some recent sightings that you may have missed to prove the squad is all good, just lying low. We may have to rename the Reputation tour Taylor’s Rotation Tour; she's got a best friend at every gig.
BFF: Gigi Hadid
Last Spotted: July 2018; Reputation Tour, Philadelphia
Throughout 2017, the pair made for constant dinner dates with Hadid's boyfriend, Zayn Malik, during the launch of their duet, "I Don't Want to Live Forever." Since the release, Hadid can only be seen walking into her bestie’s apartment, but never out and about together like the good days. While in Philadelphia, Hadid took to her Instagram to share a sweet photo of Swift performing, captioning it, “If I could find the words, I would explain how happy it makes me to watch you perform @taylorswift Opens a New Window. I’m so proud to experience this celebration of clarity & strength with you. WHAT A SHOW. You did it again. Love you to the moon.”
BFF: Karlie Kloss
Last Spotted: August 2018; Reputation Tour, Nashville
This is surely the most enduring pair of the group. We've seen them court-side at basketball games and posing on the cover of Vogue in a souped-up Airstream in Malibu. We aren't even mad that we don't get to admire the friendship from afar, just disappointed. Our girl Klossy was spotted at Swift’s Nashville tour stop back in August, and even shared an adorable photo of the two of them backstage with caption, "No one puts on a show like @taylorswift 🎤✨ #ReputationTour Nashville was out of this world, I am SO proud of you 🖤"
BFF: Selena Gomez
Last Spotted: May 2018; Reputation Tour, Los Angeles
Gomez and Swift have been besties for a handful of years, and Gomez has made it clear their friendship is for life. During a now-deleted Instagram Live in September, Gomez was asked how Taylor was. "How’s Taylor? Taylor’s awesome. I love her. She’s amazing. I talked to her today. She’s literally like my big sister, I tell her everything. She’s so smart it freaks me out.” The duo was seen together in May when Gomez surprised fans at Taylor's Rose Bowl tour stop where they both performed Selena's hit, "Hands To Myself."
BFF: Martha Hunt
Last Spotted: July 2018; Reputation Tour, Philadelphia & Taylor's Childhood Home
It had been a dull two years without seeing Martha and Taylor photographed out, so when they re-emerged, it was even better than we could've expected. Before settling in for the show that evening, Martha, Taylor, and a group of friends took a detour to visit Taylor's old childhood home. This photo stands as documented proof of the Girl Squad's health and happiness.
BFF: The HAIM Sisters
Last Spotted: July 2018; Reputation Tour, Philadelphia & Taylor's Childhood Home
Swift has always had a special place in her heart for the HAIM sisters. From promoting their singles after a long social media hiatus back in 2015, to bringing them on as an opening act at special tour dates for the 1989 tour, the connection between these friends is clear. The sisters were recently spotted via Swift's Instagram visiting her old home with Gigi Hadid and Martha Hunt. Later that night, Martha shared a sweet (but blurry) picture of the friends running around backstage before the show. Again, clearly a squad moment.
BFF: Jaime King
Last Spotted: October 2018, Cuddling King’s son on Instagram; and December 2018 via a TBT
After announcing in 2015 that she would be the godmother of Jaime King's newborn son, it only seemed natural that this pair would be bonded for life, regardless of how much of it we see on the internet. While the two have kept their visits discreet, and Taylor popping in whenever she can to say hello to the baby, it's fair to say the friendship is stronger than ever. Back in October, King shared a sweet photo of the two cuddling in bed with her son saying, "Saturday’s are for snuggling 💕 Especially with women that love you and use their voices for the greater good. Surround yourself with those that have your back. Near or far. 💕💋🐍 #godmother." Just a few days ago, King posted a #TBT of the two partying at the Golden Globes.
BFF: Lena Dunham
Last Spotted: October, 2018; Talking about her friendship with Taylor on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.
During an appearance on the show, Dunham opened up to Cohen about her thoughts on Swift's surprise political stance-taking ahead of the midterm elections. "That was really amazing,” Dunham said. "I’m always proud of Taylor. Not only is she an amazing friend to me on a personal level, but she’s an amazing friend to lots of people in the world.” She continued, "I never judged her for considering [politics] a private domain, but I think she chose a really, really powerful time to speak out and I’m so moved and honored to be her friend."
BFF: Cara Delevingne
Last Spotted: September 2017, opening her London home to Taylor and her boyfriend for a romantic getaway.
The two met at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show back in 2013 and made a handful of appearances on Taylor's Instagram before the Reputation era. While the two haven't been spotted out together lately, The Sun reported late last year that Delevingne housed Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn at her London home to help the two keep a low profile.
BFF: Blake Lively
Last Spotted: July 2018; with Ryan Reynolds at a Reputation show.
The BFFs (and Ryan) have remained close throughout the years. In 2016, Swift attended Lively's baby shower, and later visited the hospital after the baby was born. In 2017, speculation bubbled up that the intro to her song "Gorgeous" was none other than Blake Lively's daughter, James. It’s said that Swift was playing the new track for her friends and James loved the song so much she kept saying the word, “Gorgeous.” Swift loved the new addition so much she asked if she could record her and use it for the track. Back in May during an interview with Good Morning America, Reynolds spoke about his daughter's newfound fame thanks to Swift. "A little intro there, yeah, um…That was a voice memo that ended up on a [Taylor Swift] song. It’s pretty amazing. My daughter has a really, really terrible ego problem now after that song.” We bet she also got a really, really great friend out of the deal.