The Evolution of Taylor Swift's Squad, From Abigail to Taymerica

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Squad [noun]: Any small group or party of persons engaged in a common enterprise. Slang; a group of friends.

To Webster’s Dictionary, a squad means one thing and one thing only. To Taylor Swift , the woman responsible for bringing the concept into our consciousness and the term into our daily vernacular, it can mean something different depending on the day. 

Most people have a few immediate reactions to hearing the phrase “Taylor Swift’s squad.” They think of Selena Gomez or Gigi Hadid or of parties documented by picture-perfect Instagram posts. But upon closer inspection, her group of girlfriends has evolved constantly—it’s almost its own being, with thoughts and feelings and the ability to choose its own crop top.  

Squad, party of two! Before there was fame or fortune or platinum records, there was Abigail. The two BFFs have been inseparable since they met the first day of high school, where they presumably bonded over stuff like having curly hair and listening to Dashboard Confessional. They’ve seen each other through thick, thin, and all that drama about Drew and the guitar-ruining teardrops. They’re such good friends that Abigail didn’t even mind when Taylor wrote a song about her losing her virginity.  

What’s a young girl whose new to Hollywood to do? Befriend the stars of The Disney Channel, of course. They’re so wholesome, there’s no way any of them could get into trouble and lead you astray! Oh, wait.

But despite the later hardships of these Disney Channel darlings (which, we should add, Taylor saw no part of), they made for a great first Hollywood squad. The likes of Selena Gomez and Demi Lovatowere a support system for navigating the early years of fame and, perhaps most importantly, a perma-plus-one for all the requisite events. Plus, one can never underestimate the value of a good double date pal—Selena and Taylor did forge their truest friendship when they were both dating Jonas Brothers (Nick and Joe, respectively). 

Alternate squad title: Fans who became friends. Alternate title to the alternate title: When Twitter squads go IRL. Both Lena Dunhamand Lordewere huge Taylor stans (and the feeling was mutual for both), who decided to breach the fourth wall and profess their love to her face. And guess what? It worked.

They became a squad of feminist, trail-blazing women who doubled as frequent collaborators. Credit should also be given where credit is due, as Lorde and Lena presumably taught Taylor their fair share of empowerment. The public aspect of Lena and Taylor’s friendship consisted mainly of praising each other’s successes and listing the reasons why the other is a feminist hero, and Taylor seemed to shine and revel in her big sister-esque role towards Lorde. 

The Victoria’s Secret Models

Which brings us to an entirely different kind of female empowerment: The one in which you have the right to strut down a runway in nothing but your skivvies, if you so choose. Yes, Taylor was bitten by the model bug and she was bitten hard. After performing for Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show she became just as obsessed with all the models as America did—but the only difference was that Taylor has the ability to actually become friends with these people, whereas commoners like us have to settle for following them on Instagram and finding the least creepy way to copy all of their street style.

And become friends with them she did. 

Cara, Gigi, Karlie, Martha, Lily…the gang’s all here! And by “here,” we mean in Taylor’s kitchen, wearing matching onesies, baking gluten-free, dairy-free cookies. The model squad era consisted of a whole lot of enviable sleepovers, marked with perfectly un-posed group shots and a whole lot of those aforementioned cookies. They of course filmed the video for “Bad Blood” together and made dozens of dished-about cameos on the 1989 tour, but it’s the sleepovers that really go down in history. After all, do you have a guest room reserved specifically for Karlie Kloss?

Guys, we’ve gotta be honest: We still haven’t solved the mystery of Jaime King. One day she’s photographed next to Taylor at an industry event, and the next thing we knew Taylor was being named the godmother of her second-born son. 

In between, King invited herself to popped up at all sorts of Taylor-hosted soirées and made sure to post a lot of Instagrams about their burgeoning friendship. Sure, none of that explained what she was doing at the Fourth of July party, but at least it offers some evidence to look back on. But we do support your gumption, Jaime!

The three sisters of indie pop group Haim are pretty much the coolest (and trendiest) girls west of the Mississippi. Any of us should be so lucky as to be admitted into their self-proclaimed wolf pack. Taylor Swift did it simply through mutual adoration of each other’s music. 

The squad had a super enviable friendship that included Justin Timberlake concerts, partying with Beyoncé and Jay Z, touring Catalina Island with Scott Swift, the cutest dad-squad addition around, and vacationing in Maui while wearing those super awesome Bill Murray sweatshirt. 

Then the true mark of a squad friendship occurred: They join Swift on a leg of the 1989 tour. And not just as surprise guests, but as a full-blown opening act. It pays to be in the squad. 

It was the Fourth of July party to end all Fourth of July parties. It was the stuff of legends, a weekend-long event that would go down in history. For generations to come, town elders will speak of this moment, when the gang all wore matching flag-print onesies and matching red-white-and-blue swimsuits and frolicked in the Rhode Island surf and the Instagram photos all magically appeared several days after the Paparazzi photos. 

They’ll speak of the guest list with awe, as it included Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Uzo Aduba, Ruby Rose, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and of course Tom Hiddleston. They’ll speak of the the giant inflatable water slide, of the picturesque seaside fireworks, of how each couple seemed more in love with the next. 

But, most importantly, they will never ever speak of the “I Heart T.S.” tank top.

Whoever Was Free for Thanksgiving 2016

Sometimes the mark of a good squad leader isn’t that they can bring people together at all costs, or that they can keep the squad in tact despite hardships of schedule, contractual obligations and good old other plans. Instead, it’s that they can pull together a squad at the drop of the hat, against all odds. Given nothing more than a few days’ notice and a vacation with guest rooms coming out the wazoo, they can assemble a squad that will become best friends in no time.

Sure, it may not make sense to those outside the newly-formed squad. They may wonder, we thought Taylor was friends with Lily Aldridge, not Lily Donaldson. Or what is Todrick Hall, star of Broadway’s famed Kinky Boots, doing at Taylor Swift’s house? Or, did Mr. and Mrs. Swift really want to film this mannequin challenge?

But despite our small brains’ inabilities to understand, Taylor Swift’s Thanksgiving will forge on, with other lesser squads powerless against it. 

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