How can I tell Taylor Swift is one of music's biggest artists? Not by record sales — although her self-titled debut has sold more than 3.5 million copies — and not by the company she's kept, because dating Joe Jonas isn't a firm indicator that you've achieved fame. It just isn't.
Me? I can tell Swift's a megastar because of who she rolls with.
About a year ago, when I spotted Swift hanging out in the MTV Newsroom with our own Kim Stolz, I immediately assumed she was a model. Given Kim's stint on "America's Next Top Model," I just figured one of her model pals had stopped by to see our operation. After all, Swift is breathtakingly gorgeous — some models would kill to have her bone structure and honest eyes. I had no idea Swift was actually a recording artist at the time, because she was alone and not surrounded by publicists or managers or label-types. It was just Taylor, standing tall and blond in the Newsroom, as unassuming as one of our new interns.
But, that was last year, long before she was an award-winning artist, long before she co-hosted the VMA pre-show and long before she was gracing national magazine covers. When Swift was back in our office this week, she wasn't alone.
Like pretty much every famous person who visits our offices, Swift now had an entire entourage surrounding her: Not only was her mom on hand, but so was her bodyguard (a must-have for anyone who's acquired some measure of fame), her publicist, her stylist and a handful of label peeps. There was also a videographer chasing her tail, as well as a photographer from USA Today.
She swept in, sat down for her on-camera interview, and was whisked away just as quickly by her handlers — there was no hanging around in the Newsroom to shoot the breeze this time. But I'll always remember the Taylor Swift I first noticed — cute, friendly and not-so-famous.