Ever since she burst onto the country music scene as a teenager more than a decade ago, Taylor Swift has cultivated her image as the quirky, innocent “girl next door.”
And it paid off. Now 31 years old, she is one of the bestselling music artists of all time, one of the most-followed people on social media, and the youngest-ever person on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women.
As such, “there’s an ever-widening gap between the Taylor Swift who sings about finding her one true love and being weird in middle school and the Taylor Swift who is slowly being revealed by her actions,” argues Amy Zimmerman in The Daily Beast. She goes on to describe her as “a singularly controlling, fame-obsessed artist, mercenary and tough as nails” who has “prioritized her career above all.”
It’s a fascinating take on Taylor’s pursuit of fame—and if you’ve noticed her changing looks over the years, you might be wondering if cosmetic enhancements played a role, too. (Spoiler: It certainly appears that way!)
Let’s see what she might have done by examining her beauty evolution from 2006 until now.
From 2006-2009: Teenage Taylor
At the 2006 ACM Awards
Here’s our first glimpse of the future pop sensation, who made her red carpet debut at just 16 years old. Looking at her roots, it seems like she may have been lightening her dark blonde hair already. But this was its naturally curly texture, before she started taming it into submission. And this was obviously her natural nose.
At a 2007 Album Signing Event
Then, Taylor got really into these spiral curls for a while. Except for the bangs. The bangs always had to be straighter. (Inexplicably, this was an actual trend back then in this age group. Ashley Tisdale and Bella Thorne did versions of it, too.) The other thing to notice here is her prominent brow ridge and heavy-lidded eyes.
At the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year Awards
Even as a teenager, Taylor always had gorgeous skin. Here, you can appreciate it even more with her curls pulled up off her face, and their colour deepened to her natural dark blonde. We also get another look at her nose, brows and eyelids, all of which I suspect she later tweaked.
At the 2009 World Premiere of ‘Hannah Montana: The Movie’
Next came the ringlets era. She wore them in updos like this one, as well as long and loose, with false lashes and pink lip gloss. (This was before her love affair with cat eyes and red lipstick.) Once again, you can observe how much wider her nose was back then, and how she didn’t have much lid space for eye makeup.
From 2010-2012: America’s Sweetheart
At the 2010 CMT Music Awards
As her star power grew—she was 20 years old by this time—Taylor surely began relying on the services of a professional styling team. So instead of the “prom night” hairstyles and pretty but safe makeup, we got slightly edgier looks like this one, with straightened hair and dramatic eyeliner.
At the 2011 Billboard Women in Music Event
Then came my favourite hairstyle—these long, lash-grazing bangs. This is also when she first got into red lips and black liner, which remains her go-to makeup look to this day. But the one thing that really jumps out in this photo is her nose. As you can see, this version was much wider through the bridge.
At the 2012 CMA Awards
The red lipstick was a fixture throughout 2012, and was probably part of the branding for her Red album, which was released that same year. But I’m not complaining—I feel like Taylor finally found her signature look at this point. With the bangs and long waves, it’s girly and a little bit glam.
From 2013-2016: From Country to Pop Star
At the 2013 American Music Awards
But the next year marked a big change in her style, coinciding with her transition from country to pop. Gone were the long waves and classic makeup that she was known for as “America’s sweetheart”—replaced by shaggy layers and smudgy liner with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Interestingly, it was at this time that speculation first arose over a possible plastic surgery, although not on her face. (“You can see the implants,” Dr. Michael Fiorillo told InTouch.)
At the 2014 Teen Choice Awards
In 2014, Taylor took her hair shorter, and continued to wear it straight—but apparently not by choice. “From birth, I had the curliest hair and now it is STRAIGHT,” she later told Elle. “It’s the straight hair I wished for every day in junior high. But just as I was coming to terms with loving my curls, they’ve left me.” She also experimented with her boldest eye makeup yet... could it be disguising a possible procedure (or two) in that area?
At the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards
By age 25, after releasing her multi-million-selling 1989 album, her global domination was complete. Now, she looks every inch the pop star in graphic liner and perfectly smooth, shiny hair. But if you look closely at her eyes, you’ll notice that they’re much more wide-open compared to, say, 2007. If you ask me, that heavy eyeliner is no coincidence!
At the 2016 Grammys
As time went on, Taylor gradually eased up on the dramatic eye makeup, returning to (what else!?) her favourite cat eyes with red lipstick. And so, whatever she tweaks she may have made to her eye area went completely unnoticed. Instead, we were all talking about her new, chin-length bob with bangs.
At the 2016 BMI Pop Awards
Who could forget her ill-advised foray into bleached-blonde hair? It looks so fried and clashes so much with her skin tone that it’s hard to believe this was done on purpose for a Vogue cover. “If you don’t look back at pictures of some of your old looks and cringe, you’re doing it wrong,” she later reminisced. “See: Bleachella.”
From 2018-2021: Taylor Returns... With a New Look
At the 2018 American Music Awards
Although the platinum hair didn’t last long—she was captured by paparazzi in the summer of 2016 with her natural colour—Taylor then disappeared from the public eye for all of 2017. This is what she looked like upon her return. Notice anything different? It’s not her eye area that I want to draw your attention to, but her nose. Suddenly, it is a lot more petite.
At the 2019 Billboard Women in Music Event
This shot was taken the day before her 30th birthday, and if you ask me, she’s prettier than ever. After experimenting with so many different styles throughout her 20s, the bangs, red lips and liner combo is clearly the formula that works best. But we’re not just looking at superficial changes here. Her nose is also narrower, and her eye area has been lifted.
On Instagram in 2020
With red carpets on hiatus in 2020, Taylor treated us to a rare close-up on Instagram in which she is virtually bare-faced. So if you couldn’t tell before that something changed about her eye area, surely you can now. She no longer has those heavy-lidded eyes, and her brows are much higher up on her forehead.
Taylor Swift Before and After
Taylor in 2008 vs 2019
Isn’t it interesting how certain celebrities can remain in the public eye for years, and nobody notices their changing features?
Thirtysomething Taylor looks very different than she did as a teenager, and the tweaking happened right in front of us—despite her stratospheric level of fame.
“Taylor Swift’s nose looks much thinner and more refined than it did when she was younger,” says Dr. Anthony Youn in an interview with RadarOnline. “It looks like she had rhinoplasty, which is the plastic surgery that celebrities have had the most. I suspect that a plastic surgeon did a very subtle nose job, making it look as good as it does.”
But Dr. Charles S. Lee believes the changes were much more extensive. “She looks like she’s had a brow lift, upper eyelid surgery, a rhinoplasty and lip fillers. She’s also had a procedure to make the lower lid transition better with her cheeks, so that could either be lower eyelid surgery with filler or with fat grafting.”
Personally, I don’t think her lips were altered, but everything else? I believe it!
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