Vanity Fair

Since August 31, 1997, I've secretly devoted much of my brain-space to learning facts about Princess Diana. Why that specific date? Because it was the day she died, and also my eighth birthday. Every single year (presumably for my birthday), the media presents segments reliving her tragic death in Paris and subsequent funeral watched by an estimated 2.5 billion viewers worldwide. Such a good birthday memory, omg.

With this latent knowledge of Princess Di, though, comes my latest Taylor Swift-inspired eye-roll:

Vanity Fair, September 2015

Vanity Fair's September 2015 issue seems like it's trying to trick us into thinking Princess Diana and Taylor Swift had more in common than being white, tall, rich, famous, and making headlines through breakups.

Take, for example, the series of photos that Mario Testino (the photog behind the last major photo shoot Diana ever did for Vanity Fair in July of  1997…) took of TayTay as they compare to Diana's shoot:

Mario Testino for Vanity Fair

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Interesting dress, Tay. It's pretty similar to Diana's iconic day-after-divorce-announcement dress with the black hose…

Mario Testino for Vanity Fair

Notice the mix of black and white images with color throughout both shoots.

And sure, this is just a conspiracy theory at the moment, but consider:

YouTube / Vanity Fair / Getty Images / Ted Graham

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The heavily rimmed eyeliner, feathered hair, hotel and/or palace backdrop, and "pussy bow" that Taylor wore during a word association game video on Vanity Fair's site. This is not Taylor's everyday look, y'all. And don't even get me started on:

Mario Testino for Vanity Fair

All in white with a TIARA? Come on!

Additional (less impressive) factors for this conspiracy theory:

  • I was born in 1989, same year as TSwizzle
  • Taylor's interview took place in England
  • Princess Diana was on the cover of VF's September 2013 issue

Princess Diana WAS the people's princess. She was one of the first celebrities to talk about and physically touch those suffering with HIV/AIDS. She walked through a minefield in Angola to start an international conversation about the associated dangers for civilians.  She very much wanted to stay out of headlines.

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Vanity Fair

Comparably, Taylor Swift sometimes comments on randos' Instagram pics to tell them they're "beautiful the way they are," and recently rhymed "blood" with "love" in a pop song about hating another pop star. Princess Diana would NEVER have agreed to be in the Bad Blood music video and the closest Swift has gotten to walking through a minefield is reading her Twitter notifications after she inexplicably threw shade at Nicki Minaj.

In the VF piece,  Taylor does express a desire to use her platform for good in the future (citing Angelina Jolie and Oprah as inspirations), but she also spends a good chunk of the interview patting herself on the back about getting Apple Music to pay artists during users' free-trial periods — a deal she stands to benefit from the most — and throwing shade at Spotify.

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Take away that crown! She's no Princess Di.

Akilah Hughes is a comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion's culture section. You can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. 🍕