Taylor Swift makes history as Time’s Person of the Year for 2023

Taylor Swift makes history as Time’s Person of the Year for 2023

Taylor Swift is in her Person of the Year Era … again. 

Time has named Swift Person of the Year for 2023. The achievement is an historic one, making her the first woman to appear twice on a Person of the Year cover since the franchise began in 1927, according to Time.

Swift was also named Person of the Year in 2017, when she was recognized as one of the Silence Breakers, a group the magazine identified as vital to the #MeToo movement and inspired women to speak out about sexual misconduct.

After the latest announcement was made, Swift posted an image with a playful caption nodding to her cat on Instagram. 

From the stage to movie theatres to NFL stadiums, Swift was ubiquitous in 2023 — not just capturing the year’s zeitgeist, but defining it. 

A record year

Swift’s Eras tour, a retrospective recap of all her artistic “eras” with 66 dates across the Americas this year, is projected to become the biggest of all time and the first to gross over a billion dollars. The tour’s economic success, along with Swift’s knack for marketing, has been playfully coined by some as “Swift-onomics.”

Swift’s two shows in Colorado this summer led to a $186.9-million US boost to the state’s GDP for the year, a report by the Common Sense Institute found. A similar boost was reported in Philadelphia after Swift performed three shows there in May. 

“May was the strongest month for hotel revenue in Philadelphia since the onset of the pandemic, in large part due to an influx of guests for the Taylor Swift concerts in the city,” the report read. 

One estimate from research company QuestionPro says her tour alone could generate $4.6 billion for the U.S. economy.

#TheMoment Taylor Swift fans caused an earthquake at her concert

Fans at Taylor Swift’s recent concert in Seattle caused an earthquake double the strength of the ‘beast quake’ during a Seahawks game in the same stadium.

Canada was initially left off the tour schedule, until Swift announced she was adding stops in Toronto and Vancouver to the tour, which continues in 2024.

The tour isn’t without controversy, though. 

Ana Clara Benevides Machado, a 23-year-old Swift fan, died in November while attending the star’s concert in Brazil. Machado died in hospital shortly after collapsing during the concert. The exact cause of her death has not been confirmed.

Fans who attended the show said they were not allowed to bring water bottles into the stadium, even though most of Brazil, including Rio, experienced record-breaking temperatures reportedly reaching just over 39 C amid a dangerous heat wave.

Conquering movie theatres

Despite a Hollywood writers’ strike that lasted for months, Swift managed to turn movie theatres into concert halls after releasing her concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.

As the film’s producer, Swift went around the Hollywood studio system to distribute the film, making a deal directly with AMC and giving the theatre chain its highest single-day ticket sales in history.

Swift also brought her cultural dominance to the world of sports after her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce went viral in September. 

A woman cheers at a football game.
Taylor Swift, centre, is seen at the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 24, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo. (Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press)

When Swift attended Kansas City’s matchup against the Chicago Bears, viewership among teen girls aged 12-17 spiked 53 per cent from the season-to-date average for Sunday Night Football, part of an approximate increase of more than two million female viewers, according to an NBC Sports release.

Swift was chosen for Time’s annual distinction from a group of nine finalists that included Britain’s King Charles III; Chinese President Xi Jinping; Russian President Vladimir Putin; OpenAI CEO Sam Altman; the Hollywood actors and writers who went on strike; Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell; the prosecutors who have brought charges against former U.S. President Donald Trump; and Barbie, the inspiration for this year’s hit movie featuring Margot Robbie as the titular character. 

Swift becomes the first individual to be selected as Time’s Person of the Year because of her achievement in the arts, and is only the fourth individual selection who was born in the last 50 years, according to Time.

As the first woman to be recognized more than once, Swift joins a small group of repeat designees, taking a spot alongside U.S. presidents and world leaders.

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