Ball State student chosen to meet Taylor Swift, hear new album
Since fifth grade, Amanda Jaeger, freshman nursing major, has dreamt of meeting Taylor Swift. On Oct. 12, Jaeger received a notification from Twitter promising to fulfill that dream.
While Swift has commented on a few of her pictures on social media, Jaeger never dreamed she would be contacted by Taylor Nation, Swift’s management team, telling her she had been hand-picked to attend a “Reputation” Secret Session.
“When they sent that to me, I just started, like, freaking out. I’m like, ‘This is not real, like, this cannot be happening,’” Jaeger said.
Swift often pays attention to her fans’ social media, and in preparation for the release of her new album, “Reputation,” she invited a group of fans to enjoy a private party where they would listen to and talk about the album.
Jaeger attended a secret session in Swift’s parents’ home in Nashville and said she was pleasantly surprised that her family was so supportive of such a last-minute trip.
“I’m really proud of her and happy she got to live her dream out and she never gave up on meeting her,” Samantha Jaeger, Amanda’s sister, said. “It shows that it was worth it in the end, never giving up on it, and I’m really happy for her.”
The fans attending the Nashville secret session were all given the location of a hotel they would meet at before boarding a bus to Swift’s house. When Jaeger arrived, she was surprised to hear several voices calling her name.
Jaeger has made friends through social media, many of whom are Taylor Swift fans, but she had only met a few in person. When she arrived at the hotel, however, she found that several of her online friends were going to the same secret session as her.
The group of fans were treated to a variety of foods and drinks and were also able to interact with Swift’s parents and their dog while waiting to meet Swift herself. While the shock of being in Swift’s family’s house was setting in, Amanda looked up the stairs and saw Swift walking toward the group.
“We screamed so loud, I’ve never heard people scream so loud in my life,” Jaeger said. “It’s worse than a concert. When she came up we were all screaming, some people were crying.
“I kept it together—I’m surprised I did— and then it’s so surreal, I mean you’ve always seen her in pictures or whenever, I’ve seen her in concert, I’m always pretty far away so it just doesn’t seem like it’s real and then she’s, like, two feet away from you, so it’s just … yeah, it’s beyond words.”
As the group sat around listening to and talking about the album, Jaeger said Swift made her feel like she was just hanging out with a friend.
“She would look at everybody multiple times in the eyes, so when she would look at you it just felt like she was talking and it was just you and her and no one else,” Jaeger said.
Amanda said Swift made the fans laugh and cheer over and over again, but whenever her songs came on, a silence fell over the group as they were analyzing the lyrics to hear the meaning behind them.
Afterwards, fans were able to talk one-on-one with Swift and get their pictures taken. When it was finally Jaeger’s turn, she said Swift opened her arms to hug her and asked her how she was doing.
“It didn’t feel like I was meeting a celebrity, it felt like I was meeting my best friend that I hadn’t seen in a few months or something,” Jaeger said.
Since the secret session, Jaeger has been sharing all her stories with her sister. They are looking forward to listening to it this weekend after the album is released.
“I know on Friday, when I listen to the album again, it’s definitely going to bring back more memories,” Amanda said. “It’s a connection that us secret sessioners and Swift have that no one else has, and it's very special.”
The album will be released on Friday, and Amanda said it is different from anything Swift has ever done before.
“[Swift] has talked about in the past how all of her albums, she doesn’t want to be the same, and she wants them to be better than all the rest, and she definitely did that,” Amanda said. “She played [the album] and i was just like, ‘Oh, this is beyond whatever I could have expected.’”
Contact Brooke Kemp with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brookemkemp.