celebrity

An army of famous, beautiful women: Exactly what happened to Taylor Swift's squad.

It was only a few years ago that Taylor Swift’s “girl squad” was the stuff of legend – not to mention an inescapable feature of our Instagram feeds.

A veritable who’s who of 20-something “it” girls – models, actresses, musicians – all publicly gushing over each other in interviews, showing up at each other’s work, and wearing coordinating outfits as they splashed about in Swift’s Hampton’s estate pool in photos seemingly too perfect to be real from her annual Fourth of July parties.

 

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My ladies ????

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The girl squad featured a revolving door of Hollywood’s young, beautiful and successful – each year with new, and sometimes missing, faces. Those of Blake Lively, Jaime King, Karlie Kloss, Selena Gomez and the Hadid sisters seemed permanent fixtures, while others, including Lorde, Lena Dunham, the Haim sisters, Ellie Goulding and Serayah, came and went.

Take a look for yourself:

Taylor Swift with Gigi Hadid, Martha Hunt, Hailee Steinfeld, Cara Delevingne, Selena Gomez, Serayah, Mariska Hargitay, Lily Aldridge and Karlie Kloss at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. Image: Getty.
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Hailee Steinfeld, Gigi Hadid, Taylor Swift, Lily Aldridge and Lena Dunham onstage during The 1989 World Tour in 2015. Image: Getty.
Danielle Haim, Alana Haim, Este Haim, Jaime King, Lorde and Taylor Swift attend the 2015 Golden Globe Awards afterparty. Image: Getty.
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It was Swift's 2015 Bad Blood music video that stands out as peak "squad" era, starring (quite literally given the film clip's aesthetic) an army of famous women.

As well as a selection of the names above, the women included Hailee Steinfeld, Cara Delevingne, Zendaya, Hayley Williams, Jessica Alba, Mariska Hargitay, Ellen Pompeo and Cindy Crawford.

These were Swift's people.

In theory, Taylor Swift's "girl squad" was the perfect embodiment of women supporting women in an infamously patriarchal industry. A sign of females banding together in defiance of being pitted against each other, as is common in the entertainment business.

But the "girl squad" received fierce criticism for its exclusivity, causing an unintentional dent to Swift's reputation - one she's spent two years flying under the radar, attempting to restore. (The infamous feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian not without its role in her quiet phase, either).

Many felt "the squad" portrayed Swift as the typical high school mean girl type - and when Bad Blood dropped, those same people were quick to point out it was a song that basically screamed "don't mess with me", one that was reportedly aimed at Katy Perry.

Gossip and scrutiny surrounded the squad, with media closely following each time a member dropped off. It seemed that, ironically, Swift's squad gave tabloid media ammo for more female-feud rhetoric than without it.

But then suddenly, the #SquadGoals Instagram posts and annual Fourth of July party pics disappeared from Swift's profile.

The squad days were over.

Listen: We discuss Taylor Swift's squad regret on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below audio.


In a March 2019 interview with Elle magazine in the lead-up to her 30th birthday, Taylor Swift finally explained why it had to end.

In "Taylor Swift on 30 things she learned before her 30th birthday", number 18 sees her reflecting on her "childhood scars" and "working on rectifying them."

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This, she explains, is how the girl squad was ultimately born.

"For example, never being popular as a kid was always an insecurity for me," she began.

"Even as an adult, I still have recurring flashbacks of sitting at lunch tables alone or hiding in a bathroom stall, or trying to make a new friend and being laughed at.

"In my twenties I found myself surrounded by girls who wanted to be my friend. So I shouted it from the rooftops, posted pictures, and celebrated my newfound acceptance into a sisterhood, without realising that other people might still feel the way I did when I felt so alone."

She concluded: "It’s important to address our long-standing issues before we turn into the living embodiment of them."

Swift also spoke about the difference between friendships and "situationships" - the all-too-relatable tendency to gravitate towards certain people in certain stages of our lives out of necessity.

"Something about 'we’re in our young twenties!' hurls people together into groups that can feel like your chosen family," she said.

"And maybe they will be for the rest of your life. Or maybe they’ll just be your comrades for an important phase, but not forever. It’s sad but sometimes when you grow, you outgrow relationships. You may leave behind friendships along the way, but you’ll always keep the memories."

Following the release of Swift's Miss Americana documentary, viewers couldn't help but notice an absence of her female friendships. Swift's childhood best friend Abigail Anderson Lucier makes a brief appearance for a chat over wine, but there's no mention of the disbanded squad or any of its members.

That's not overly surprising - there's only so much you can fit in a 90 minute doco, and it was not the only omission. Swift also chose not to disclose information about her relationship with boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

These days, Swift's friendships fly much more under the radar (except for when she invites pals Camila Cabello and Halsey to perform with her at the American Music Awards, that is) and seem more individual than 'squad' orientated.

She's still besties with Selena Gomez, who she first met when they were both teens dating a Jonas brother, as well as 'squad' members like Gigi Hadid and Martha Hunt.

Swift's also surrounded herself with a much more diverse group of people. She counts performer Todrick Hall among her closest pals, and gave him the mic when awarded the 2019 VMA for the Video for Good Award.

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