Kinsey Williams


Camila Ramirez


Bree Hollis

It was only last year that Taylor Swift stood in the very position that we are all approaching; standing on the stage to receive her diploma – albeit for an honorary doctorate in New York. Regardless of her degree status, Swift is trusted by women across the nation as her lyrically-imparted wisdom and bold cultural presence inspires fearlessness in their approach of the world. 

Although her journey to graduation differs from that of most of her fans, her words resonate with all who have stood on the brink of their next chapter: “Scary news is: you’re on your own now. Cool news is: you’re on your own now.” However, despite the inevitable isolation that comes with newfound independence, Swift leaves her devotees with a strategy to navigate this change. 

By creating a red-tinted subculture of her own and bonding them with universally relatable lyricism, Taylor Swift empowers women at the University of Alabama though unique, authentic ties. 

Ironically, this empowerment is fueled most prevalently through a common hatred – a hatred of orange. Whether through Barstool reposts or tapping through peers’ identical Instagram stories, the work of “Bama Swifties” has likely graced the screens of a majority of the student body, whether it be Swift showcasing a horns down or caressing a screenshot of the iconic ten reasons to hate Tennessee.  

However, the mastermind behind these edits did not begin her pop culture career solely for her passion of trash-talking the rest of the SEC, but rather in search of connection. An Instagram account (@bamaswifties) founded and run by UA senior Camryn McGaha, Bama Swifties centers the extensive network of Swift’s fans across UA’s campus. 

“I started this account because my friend had started an account called ‘Bama Barbz,’ and I thought that was so cool because I could see that he was interacting with people who were Nicki Minaj fans,” McGaha said, “and I was like, ‘What if I did that with Taylor Swift?’ and it’ll be a double whammy because I’ll have this fun account, and I’ll also have friends.” 


However, her love of Swift had not always been a sure method of making friends. After being introduced to “Love Story” on her cousin’s iPod nano at a young age, McGaha’s love of Taylor was reignited during the revolutionary – and at the time controversial – “reputation” era.  

“At this point in time, Taylor Swift was not the hot commodity that she is now,” McGaha said, “and it was low key – especially in my high school career – a weird thing that I was such a big Taylor Swift fan because people would say, ‘I liked her when I was seven, but I don’t like her now.’” 

Nevertheless, McGaha took advantage of another revolution in Swift’s career to instigate one in her own life. A freshman during the COVID anomaly of 2020, McGaha was presented with an even greater barrier to making friends than is already present when taking on the first semester of college, inspiring her to break through it by starting Bama Swifties in the July before her sophomore year – one year after Swift’s release of “folklore.” 

“The thing that changed Taylor Swift for a lot of people was the ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ drop because she put such an emphasis on the fact that even though we’re all apart distance-wise, music is still something that can bring people back together,” McGaha said, “and I think that was so powerful because the entire world was shut down, but we still had a community of people brought together by one single person. And I think that’s really important, especially in times like that, where society is driven apart by some big, huge thing, but we can all connect in one way.” 

Following the release of the sister albums, Swift capitalized on both nostalgia and new beginnings with the release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in November of 2021, which included the release of what McGaha considers to be the song that bonds fans old and new. 

“I feel like the [‘All Too Well] 10 Minute Version’ is something that brought a lot of people together – the new fans and the old fans – because the old fans had been begging for this song for years, and the new fans were like, ‘Oh my gosh – this woman wrote a ten minute song and it’s still good,’” McGaha said. 

McGaha witnessed the record-breaking hit literally bring people together at Icon Tuscaloosa’s second ever Swifties Night – themed red in celebration of the release of “Taylor’s Version.” A tradition continued by Icon, McGaha was instrumental in helping the idea come to fruition after they reached out to her for help with organization and promotion. 

“There were times when there used to be lines that wrapped around the corner to get into the bar because that’s how many people would come to this with the nights,” McGaha said.  

Along with spearheading the creation of Swifties Nights, McGaha has expanded her circle even wider by establishing a UA Swiftie GroupMe, featuring Eras Tour attendees on the account, and engaging followers with polls to discover the university’s song and album preferences. However, McGaha’s impact shines most prominently in the sea of Taylor buttons that fills Bryant Denny on gamedays. 

One of the first ideas produced after creating her account, McGaha now sells several different button designs, including the original Houndstooth background, the “Midnights” cover replaced with “Roll Tide,” and Nick Saban himself donning the famous red scarf, captioned “Saban’s Version.”  

“The last button sale I did, I had so many states – not just Alabama – so many different places that were buying buttons,” McGaha said, “and I had people being like, ‘I’m an alumni and I love you much that I just need this button even though I don’t go to the games anymore, I just need it.’” 

Along with McGaha’s button designs, Swift’s power to connect is illustrated across the nation as she ties fans together with literal string. For UA freshman and Eras Tour attendee Lauren Johnston, this spurred a treasured memory of her night at MetLife Stadium. 

 “There was this amazing, sweet girl who came in with probably 500 bracelets – I am not joking,” Johnston said. “She had carabiner after carabiner just filled with bracelets, and she gave us one of the CDs she bought.” 

Because Johnston herself had made bracelets to bring to the tour, she was able to pay the love forward at a church retreat, taking Swift’s advice literally and “making the friendship bracelets.” 

“There were so many people making friendship bracelets; it was crazy,” Johnston said. “I taught a lot of people how to make friendship bracelets because I learned how to make really complicated patterns for the tour.” 

With her imprint on college campuses across the world in the form of blooming friendships, Swift’s impact serves to empower women as she joins Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” in “keeping America out of a recession” according to Yahoo Finance. As she helps to balance the economy, she also epitomizes empowerment as she sings of emotions typically dismissed of women, sparking Johnston’s love for her scathing lyricism in “mad woman.” 

“When women show emotions that aren’t necessarily happy, just docile, [people say] ‘Oh, women and their emotions,’” Johnston said. “I am mad. I’m angry, and I have a right to be angry at a lot of things. And people push that down.” 

As illustrated by Johnston’s deep appreciation of “mad woman,” McGaha finds that Swift’s power, and that she offers to women across the world, lies in her music’s relatability. 

“I think that’s what brings a lot of women together; the fact that we have a lot of shared experiences,” McGaha said, “and through somebody like Taylor Swift who is a really powerful woman, you find that connections with women around you can become even more powerful because of somebody who’s such a role model.” 

A true testament to her ability to bring women together, a series of Twitter interactions with another Swift-centered account is bringing McGaha all the way to France to see the Eras Tour again in June 2024. 

“I have a friend who lives in Lyon, which is where I’m going, and she was like, ‘I think it would be so fun if you came and we finally got to meet,’ because we were online friends, and I was like ‘You’re right, maybe I should try to get tickets,” McGaha said. 

Before McGaha brings her love of Swift to France, however, she is expanding it even further in Tuscaloosa. To commemorate the final show of the Eras Tour, McGaha posted a design of Nick Saban edited into the Eras Tour logo, garnering lots of attention, including that of Saban’s daughter. After commenting that she would love to see the design on a t-shirt, McGaha got to work. 

“I commented back; I was like, ‘What would your dad do if you walked in with this T-shirt’?’ and she was like, ‘Well, he wouldn’t really know what to say, but it would still be awesome. Then I reached out to her through DMs, and I asked, ‘Hey, are you being serious about wanting it on a T-shirt?’,” McGaha said, “and she was like, ‘One hundred percent, absolutely. Yes I am.’ And I was like, okay, so I guess we’re doing this.” 

In collaboration with JNJ Apparel and Kristen Saban Setas, McGaha released the “Nick Saban Dynasty Era” shirt in four different colors to soon be seen throughout campus. Another way Swifties are “making the friend 

Through the deep and many connections seen throughout the network of Swifties, including Kristen Saban Setas herself, our campus epitomizes Swift’s empowerment as her not-so-invisible string ties the women of UA together, one button – or T-shirt at a time.