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    Taylor Swift fandom is not a hobby. It is a passion.

    Just watch a few of the 80+ videos submitted as part of New Country Q103.1’s recent contest to send two dedicated fans backstage to meet the star when she brings her summer tour to the KFC Yum Center this Saturday night. Sit through any of these soliloquies and it is guaranteed that one particular word will be heard repeatedly: “inspired.”

    To hear a mass of infatuated fans tell it, the appeal of Taylor is not that she is the snarky cool kid that was Miley or a pre-adolescent manifestation of sexual tension a la Justin Bieber. Taylor is a normal girl who has a big heart and helps people. Of course, it is worth noting the irony that legions of people passionately obsessing over someone based on the virtue of “normal” instantly makes that person anything BUT normal… But that is really another article all together. The point here is that Taylor has captivated a nation – and obviously a large group of kids in Kentuckiana – and her influence seems to be more good than bad.

    Need an example? Meet Whitney Hall.

    Whitney is 22 years old, on the verge of graduating college and getting married, and busy starting her own non-profit organization based on the themes and influence of Taylor Swift.

    “I decided to start Project Sparkle because Taylor inspired me to be fearless,” Whitney explains. “When I was growing up, I wasn’t the girl that all the guys wanted to date. I wasn’t the homecoming queen and I wasn’t some big-shot athlete. I was the girl that people didn’t seem to notice. I always struggled with my self-esteem and self-confidence. I started listening to Taylor’s music my senior year of high school and she started to help me over-come all of those issues. I decided that since Taylor inspired me so much - why couldn’t I help other girls that have the same issues I did?”

    So how does Whitney plan to do this?

    “The first steps of Project Sparkle are plans for me to do different speaking engagements at schools in Louisville and around the Louisville area. [I would also like] to have different events where girls can attend & have guest celebrities give motivational talks to… help mentor and build self-esteem and confidence.”

    “My husband is in his 4th year of dental school,” Whitney continues, “and when he has his own practice we would also like to take some of the girls and give them free dental care. The girls shouldn’t just feel beautiful on the inside, but we want to give them a smile that sparkles and never fades away. I want Project Sparkle to be an ongoing process in a girl’s life.”

    While it is easy to get annoyed at high-pitched screams, oversold concerts and the extremes that general youthful exuberance sometimes leads to, stories like Whitney’s make it a little hard to be irritated by Taylor. Just maybe avoid the heart of downtown Saturday night…

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    Brian Eichenberger's picture

    About Brian Eichenberger

    I love Louisville neighborhoods, live music and hanging with friends and family!

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