Taylor Swift has been my girl for the last decade. From watching her grow into a star on CMT, to completely changing music genres with 1989–I’ve loved how her songs always represent some part of my life(we’re almost the same age and share a birthday month!). Photographing Taylor Swift’s wedding is one of my bucket list items. It’s safe to say I’m a Swiftie. Haha! But when I first saw her video for “Look What You Made Me Do” with the abstract snakes and writing on the wall, I was TERRIFIED! I thought to myself “Taylor, this is bad. You need counseling.” But when I saw the official #LWYMMDvideo my perspective completely changed! IT IS BRILLIANT! I, of course, am really nosy and had to research the heck out of it. There’s a hidden message at every turn, and some of them are quite saucy.
The first scene we see what looks like a dark and scary forest with bats and wolves roaming around. It looks like a continuation to the “Out of The Woods” music video where wolves are chasing her. This is
probably definitely a Harry Styles reference. There are also “TS” initials everywhere in this video!
We are then taken to a graveyard that has a tombstone that says “Here Lies Taylor Swift’s Reputation” We then see Taylor crawl out of the ground (*cue my nightmares*) in the same kind of crawl she did in “Are We Out Of The Woods” wearing the SAME blue dress from that music video! Taylor in the “Out of The Woods” videoStyles also broke up with her, leaving her on a boat in a blue dress.
There’s also a tombstone named “Nils Sjoberg” which is T Swift’s undercover writer name! She and Calvin Harris(ex-boyfriend) wrote Rhianna’s hit “This Is What You Came For” and Nils Sjoberg got all the credit! (Nils Sjoberg = Taylor Swift). I guess Nils is dead, she won’t be collaborating with Harris any longer.
The next scene is also kind of scary! We are taken to a dark and creepy Palace with snakes crawling EVERYWHERE and pillars that read “Et Tu Brute” Definitely a Julius Caesar reference here(where Brutus stabbed him). Katy Perry, Kanye, and Kim have been known for calling Taylor a snake (AKA: “snake in the grass”) and Taylor is embracing her Snake Queen title. The snake even pours her a cup of tea! This could also be a bite at Kendal Jenner’s Instagram post about tea time.
Her throne also has “Et Tu Brute” engraved on it.
The scene with Taylor in a bathtub of diamonds also has a one dollar bill floating in it. Taylor recently took a DJ to court for groping her butt. She only asked for $1 as compensation. She won. #girlpower. These fancy jewels also may have something to do with Kim Kardashian West’s jewels being stolen while she was on vacation. To the right of the tub are three watches that look like they’re meant to mean something, but I haven’t figured that part out yet!
For the next scene, swift crashes a Maserati into a light pole, which is a reference to her hit song “Red” –“loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street”–or crashing it into a light pole! It is believed that this song was about Jake Gyllenhaal. But the world may never know!
Inside the car is a very Katy-Perry-esque Taylor swift with a Cheetah in the passenger seat that has “13” on his collar. That happens to be Taylor’s favorite/lucky number!
Katy Perry’s followers are known as “Katy Cats”–hint, hint: the leopard attire. Taylor is holding a Grammy award, which may take a jab at Katy for NEVER winning a grammy!
The scene with Taylor wearing an orange jumpsuit swinging inside of a huge gold cage could be a reference to how she feels in the industry. Not anymore! The new “Reputation” Taylor is here!
If you have followed Tay on Instagram, you know she’s obsessed with her kitties, Meredith and Olivia. She sports a sweater that says “blind for love” as well as kitty head gear. She’s joked before about becoming the crazy cat lady! This may also be a reference to Tom Hiddleston who was only dating Taylor for the fame.
This scene represents Spotify (and other companies like them) for devaluing her music. We all remember when Taylor Swift made Spotify take her music out of their library, right? The signs in this scene read “Stream Co.” BUSTED.
This is MY FAVORITE scene of the video! I literally laughed out loud when I watched it! This one has to do with Demi Lovato whining about Taylor’s “squad” and how they are too perfect and look unrealistic.
Taylor has a very Beyonce look going on here..
And her 8 male backup dancers are wearing “I ‘heart’ TS” crop tops which reference Taylor’s ex Tom Hiddleston when he wore an “I ‘heart’ TS” tank at Taylor’s 4th of July party. PS she has 8 famous ex boyfriends. Coincidence?
The next scene has the new Taylor on top of all of the “old” Taylors. Kind of like the tip of the iceberg. The camera zooms in on “You Belong With Me” Taylor who now has signatures on her geek shirt of her celebrity besties. You can see “Selena” and “Blake and Ryan” written on it as well as other famous Swifties. There’s a creepy scene where Taylor picks up the phone and says “Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Cuz she’s dead.” This is the part that freaked me out the most when I first heard the song. But the more I think about it, the more I understand. This is the new Taylor who is saying and doing what SHE wants. The naysayers and ex-friends have stomped her reputation and left it for dead. I get it, Taylor. I think.
At the end of the song we see 15 versions of Taylor. The new “Reputation” Taylor calls Zombie Taylor a “B*tch” and she lashed back and said “Don’t call me that!” which refers to Kanye’s song where he referenced Taylor (“I made that b*tch famous).
We also see the Katy Perry/Kim Taylor taking selfies and capturing “receipts” and says “I’m going to edit this later,” which refers to the phone call between Taylor and Kanye that Kim recorded about the b*tch reference in Kanye’s song–that supposedly Kim edited. You can also see Taylor’s number very vaguely right above the nose of her private jet!
There are SO MANY hidden references in this video! If you see more, feel free to comment below!
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Allison Jeffers is a photographer and educator serving sweet couples and helping other creative entrepreneurs reach their goals. She specializes in wedding photography, elopements, and proposals as well as Bridal and Engagement portraits in Texas. She is available for travel worldwide and has her passport ready!