Taylor Swift is skipping her prom this year because she has another date — literally. She’ll be appearing at a tour date with Brad Paisley when the rest of her junior class is awkwardly slow dancing and nibbling on tiny crackers.
Swift won the breakthrough video award for “Tim McGraw” at the CMT Music Awards on Monday (April 16) in Nashville, edging out Jason Aldean, Kellie Pickler and the Wreckers. While caressing the buckle-shaped trophy, she told reporters, “I am so, so happy about everything that has gone down this past year. I think it’s OK to miss prom for this. I think I’m going to stare at this [award] every single day and say, ‘I think it’s OK to miss prom.’ I love this.”
The next morning after her victory at the awards show, however, she had to wake up early for 11th grade finals as part of her homeschooling. “I’m very, very much into my education and making that work and making that a priority in my life,” she said. “Yes, it’s interesting to balance two things like that, but if you make it a priority, it’s easy to do both.”
At 17, Swift is learning more than what’s in her textbooks. Backstage at the CMT Music Awards, she offered her secret to success.
“I’m a junior in high school, y’all, and this is how we campaign: I generally told everybody I could about the awards,” she said. “I was so grateful to be nominated that I wanted a lot of people to know that the voting was taking place and that it was something I was really excited about. Any chance I really got, I mentioned the CMT Music Awards.”
Rather than bringing along a high school friend, Swift attended the awards show with her mother.
“I’ve always been really, really all about remembering where you came and remembering who got you to this point,” she said. “This is my first awards show, and this is my first nomination ever. I wanted my mom right there next to me because she is the one who believed in me when nobody else did, and she’s been there since day one. I thought it would be really cool to have her come along and share that moment. I didn’t expect to win at all, but I wanted her to be there whether I won or if I lost.”
Swift wore the elegant, flowing gown from her new video, “Teardrops on My Guitar,” to the decidedly casual show. When she stepped up to the pressroom platform to pose for photos and take questions from reporters, she had two young women trailing her like maids of honor. After fielding all the inquiries, she turned to leave and realized she couldn’t move in the dress without assistance. Still, her enthusiasm seems boundless.
“Every single day, I continue to be completely overwhelmed by how awesome people are — whether it’s people who I look up to who are in the business or the people I’ll find on MySpace,” she said. “I try to spend at least a half hour a day on the Internet and MySpace, tracking down people that are helping me out and saying ‘thank you’ personally. That’s what I’m all about. If somebody’s helping me out, I want to say, ‘Thank you.’ That’s why I love the fact that I get to go on tour this summer and meet these people face to face. The fact that fans voted on this award and that I’m holding it right now, I’m still not grasping the fact that this happened. I am so, so overwhelmed with happiness right now, and I’ll never forget it, ever.”