If you are a mum of a twenty year old, you will surely have spent a lot of time listening to Taylor Swift songs. And you will know exactly what it means to get Taylor Swift’s concert tickets, with people starting queuing at various outlets days before the sale officially started. Those so-called Swifties will be proud now as Taylor Swift is TIME’s 2023 Person of the Year!

Swift’s accomplishments as an artist – culturally, critically, and commercially – are so legion that to recount them seems almost beside the point. As a pop star, she sits in rarefied company, alongside Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna; as a songwriter, she has been compared to Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and Joni Mitchell. As a businesswoman, she has built an empire worth, by some estimates, over $1 billion. And as a celebrity – who by dint of being a woman is scrutinized for everything from whom she dates to what she wears – she has long commanded constant attention and knows how to use it. But this year, something shifted. To discuss her movements felt like discussing politics or the weather – a language spoken so widely it needed no context. She became the main character of the world.

Taylor Swift has been named TIME’s 2023 Person of the Year, making second appearance on a Person of the Year cover since the franchise’s inception in 1927. Swift, who had previously been honored as one of the «Silence Breakers» in 2017, joins the list of several U.S. presidents and world leaders as a repeat designee. Swift, at 33, boasts an unparalleled litany of records and honors, culminating in a smashing Eras tour and hitting billionaire status. In the interview with TIME where she expressed being the «proudest and happiest she’s ever felt,» Swift, recognized for spinning her story into a global legend, credited her recent creative freedom for her success.

If you’re skeptical, consider it: How many conversations did you have about Taylor Swift this year? How many times did you see a photo of her while scrolling on your phone? Were you one of the people who made a pilgrimage to a city where she played? Did you buy a ticket to her concert film? Did you double-tap an Instagram post, or laugh at a tweet, or click on a headline about her? Did you find yourself humming «Cruel Summer» while waiting in line at the grocery store? Did a friend confess that they watched clips of the Eras Tour night after night on TikTok? Or did you?

Swift’s undeniable impact is reflected in societal shifts; her romance with NFL star Travis Kelce spurred millions of her followers into football fandom, while her call to voting action triggered thousands to register. However, beyond her stardom, it is her personal touch with fans that resonates most, encapsulated in her sentiment about holding up a mirror to her life to help others better see themselves. Swift’s authentic self-expression and triumphant creative journey were showcased in not one, but three unique covers of TIME magazine. In a display of her candid nature, one cover starred the pop superstar with her beloved cat Benjamin Button, revealing the intimate bond between the artist and her pet.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Inez and Vinoodh for TIME
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