For the last few days, mysterious Instagram photos and tweets of Taylor Swift at a random bridal shower in Ohio have been floating around online. On Wednesday, the pop superstar posted her own video blog and cleared up why she showed up in Columbus to surprise a fan.
“There’s this girl named Gena who’s been coming to my shows for years, and she’s been really, really dedicated and very loyal,” Swift said in a video posted on her YouTube channel. “I was at the management office the other day and we were going through fan mail and invitations and stuff and I got this wedding invitation and I noticed I couldn’t make it to the wedding. But in the wedding invitation there was a bridal shower invitation. And I’ve never been to a bridal shower — so we’re going to fly to Ohio today.”
Depending how you view Swift, celebrities and surprises, there are two schools of thought on this. One: This is heartwarming! Two: This is such a humblebrag. We present evidence for both sides.
Proof that this was amazing: This video is truly wonderful, because judging from the bride-to-be’s expression when Swift shows up, the surprise might actually be the highlight of the woman’s life. (Possibly including her upcoming wedding.) Swift seems to be genuinely excited, even waking up early to fly to Ohio to attend a party with total strangers. (For some of us, that is the definition of a nightmare.)
I haven’t done a video blog in about 2 years but this was so much fun, I had to. http://t.co/gOMlt7FWa2
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) April 16, 2014
“Going to a bridal shower, gonna wear pastel, gonna go to the bridal shower and gonna give her some presents,” Swift hums excitedly in the car. Seems like she may have even checked out the registry, as she points to a pile of gifts and adds, “I brought a lot of stuff, I have no self-control in kitchen stores.”
“She has no idea that we’re coming, none of her friends know that we’re coming, so we’re going to go surprise her,” Swift says. “And we brought a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and cookies I made and painted her this thing, and I hope she likes it, I’m really excited.”
Once at the shower, after the bride-to-be nearly faints from shock, Swift doesn’t just make a drive-by appearance. She hangs out for a bit, staying for cake and the endless opening of presents. By the looks of how many photos surfaced, she took pictures with everyone who asked, and included them in the above video. “Dearest Gena, thank you for inviting me to your bridal shower…and for inviting me into your life (since 2007!!!)” text reads at the end of the video.
Optimistic verdict: That seems lovely and Swift is an exemplary celebrity for giving a devoted fan the thrill of a lifetime. The video was excellent.
Now, for the opposite viewpoint, proof that this was self-serving. Wasn’t this the ultimate humblebrag? After all, Swift called for video footage of her making the effort to fly to another state, and arriving with a truckload of presents. It would be one thing if Swift didn’t call attention to it, but why create an entire video blog if you didn’t want people to see how awesome you were?
The video made sure people knew: “I’ve never had 125 texts before!” the bride-to-be is shown saying. “And 45 notifications on Twitter.”
And there were so many presents. Swift repeatedly pointed out how many things she brought. “All the other presents are in another car,” she explains, making us wish someone would show up at our house with two cars full of gifts.
Also, Swift really likes to quote herself. In addition to a handcrafted framed gift that read “It’s a love story” (from her hit song “Love Story”), the video blog was set to her own song, “Sweeter Than Fiction.” That tune is all about overcoming obstacles to triumphantly succeed, therefore making life even sweeter than fiction. Okay, yes, that is probably true in this case for a longtime Swift fan who never thought her idol would show up at her bridal shower. But that message was the opposite of subtle.
Cynical verdict: This seemed like an unnecessary way to remind everyone how amazing Taylor Swift can be. The video should have been private.