All the Sneaky Movie References in Taylor Swift's New Music Video
Hints about her new album weren’t the only Easter eggs Taylor Swift gave us in her “You Need to Calm Down” music video. Reminiscent of Ariana Grande’s pop culture-heavy “Thank U, Next” video, Tay laid on the movie references in the visual companion to her Pride anthem, paying homage to a bevy of film icons, some of whom reign supreme in the LGBT community.
Though not a film reference, the video opens with a call back to one of the most celebrated queer icons of the screen and stage: Cher. The singer and actress’s famous quote, “Mom, I am a rich man,” sits in a picture frame on the frilly pink wall of Swift’s mobile home.
Next up, a robe-clad Swift awakes, pulling her satin eye mask (which you can already buy, natch) up to reveal a swath of bold Tiffany blue eye shadow, the same hue coating her nails and coloring the band of her watch (also available to buy). The mask alone would be enough to allude to Audrey Hepburn’s iconic bedtime look in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but her use of the exact robin’s egg hue of the equally iconic Tiffany box leaves little doubt.
Swift emerges from her trailer in a pink bikini and hot pink fur coat, wearing a gem-encrusted pair of cat-eye sunglasses, heart-shaped dangling earrings, and holding a cosmopolitan. Heading straight to the pool, Swift appears to be paying tribute to Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in her Harvard admissions video. Interestingly, Witherspoon also paid tribute to Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s style in the season one Big Little Lies finale.
The video then explores the rest of the trailer park, panning to Laverne Cox in a sequined pink gown catwalking her way through a plastic flamingo-strewn lawn. Though Cox’s rendering is much more glamorous, the scene appears to reference John Waters’s campy 1972 film Pink Flamingos. The lead character, played by Divine, lived in a pink trailer (like Cox’s) flanked by plastic flamingos.
In what is perhaps the most obvious film reference in the “You Need to Calm Down” video, Swift sits down to tea with four of Queer Eye’s Fab Five (Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski) and Todrick Hall — a pastel-hued party worthy of Alice herself.