There was a video circulating on YouTube this week taken from one of the backstage cameras at the VMAs. Taylor Swift is walking down the hall with her security team and her publicists/assistants. Whoever uploaded the clip was alleging that Taylor was doing coke. Which, obviously, would be some crazy ass gossip except that if you actually take the time to look at the video, it’s even more obvious that she’s just blowing her nose. There’s an assistant who hands her a tissue and then lights up her face to look into her nostrils to make sure there’s no snot left over. Gawker has the video and has zoomed in several times to show that no coke was happening. Click here to watch and to see the screencaps.
What I like about this moment though is that it shows us what it takes to be Taylor Swift. Which is not unlike what it takes to be Beyonce. Or Madonna. That level of control at all times. You should never see an unflattering photo of Beyonce. You should never see a booger dangling from Taylor’s left side. What you see is always, only, what they want you to see.
Taylor’s reps have sternly shut down all talk of the possibility of coke in Taylor’s orbit in this video. They were actually pretty vigilant that night about shielding Taylor any time she came in view of those backstage cameras. My friend Trish B actually emailed me about this during the show just after Kanye’s Hamlet. Taylor was speaking as she walked into frame and here’s how Trish described it:
“Taylor's KILLER pub just pulled an amazing over-the-head Wonder Woman arm move fully blocking Taylor's moving mouth from camera view.”
I wish I could have been at the Team Taylor pre-show meeting and heard the orders everyone was receiving because these people operate like black ops. Going forward though, what are the consequences of an incident like this? The major players are clearly aware of the gossip potential of what gets captured on those backstage cameras. If they can’t force MTV to shut those down, they’ll basically just start walking around under umbrellas and sheets any time they show up at these events going forward. Candid doesn’t count unless it’s filtered.