Charleston woman mistaken for Taylor Swift, ‘Swifties’ circulate picture across Internet

It must be hard to be Taylor Swift. The global superstar can’t even walk along the street without a candid shot of her appearing on fan blogs and social media within minutes, igniting a flurry of tweets from excited “Swifties” determined to seek her out.

But wait. What if that’s not Taylor Swift?

That picture above, which widely circulated on Twitter and other social media networks, is actually of Gabrielle Hadley, a Charleston native who was shopping downtown with her sister Saturday when someone’s friend’s aunt evidently snapped the picture of her, thinking she was Taylor Swift.

Unbeknownst to Hadley, the picture made it around Twitter and the Internet several times, before Hadley noticed it on Twitter later that evening.


Hadley, a 20-year-old Charleston native who is a singer and songwriter with Volcanoes in the Kitchen, a Charleston band she started with brother Drew and sister Hannah, said she gets confused for Swift quite often but Saturday was something new.

“I’ve been getting it for the past few years of my life,” she said. But Saturday is “the first time I’ve seen it hit social media as hard as it did.”

The timing of it was particularly odd.

Hadley was eating breakfast with a friend at the Lost Dog Cafe on Folly earlier that morning when someone confused her for the singer. The friend joked that they should start the rumor that she was Swift. She said no. “I said, ‘I’ll never do that.’”

Volcanoes in the Kitchen: Gabrielle Hadley, left, sings with brother Drew Hadley and sister Hannah Hadley, during the Fourth Sunday event downtown in December. Photo by Marie Rodriguez/Charleston Scene.

Volcanoes in the Kitchen: Gabrielle Hadley, left, sings with brother Drew Hadley and sister Hannah Hadley, during the Fourth Sunday event downtown in December. Photo by Marie Rodriguez/Charleston Scene.

Hadley said she has a great deal of respect for Taylor Swift and is flattered by the comparisons. She’s happy with any incidental attention that might benefit her own band – they’re releasing their first single next month, followed by their first EP – but said she doesn’t do anything to promote the confusion.

Hadley said she even cut her hair earlier this year and when Swift famously did the same a couple of weeks later it was just another weird parallel in their lives.

She’s happy being herself and performing what the band calls “folkish pop” at venues around Charleston. “It’s great growing up here,” she said. “We love Charleston and we love being the local band from Charleston. It’s our favorite place in the world.”

News of the mistaken identity has been steadily making its way back around Twitter (though nowhere near as fast as the original mistake) and Hadley said she’s picked up a couple of hundred new Twitter and Instagram followers since it happened.

She may have even picked up a few new fans.

So don’t be surprised if you see Hadley and her siblings walking along a Charleston street. Heck, one day you may even take her picture and tweet “Gabrielle is in downtown Charleston!”


8 thoughts on “Charleston woman mistaken for Taylor Swift, ‘Swifties’ circulate picture across Internet

  1. It’s slightly creepy the way that every single one of her photo’s is staged to look exactly like or compare to photos of Taylor. Many of the dresses/shoes/sunglasses and the overall style that this girl wears has also been previously seen on Taylor herself.

    Just a bit suspicious that her band has a single + EP coming out + all of a sudden all of these “Swifties” are promoting it for her. PR Stunt? Most definitely. A clever idea, but just not necessary. Her voice is actually quite something + she could get recognised for that if she wasn’t pulling the whole “Swift lookalike” scenario. She’s done what she’s set out to do; the people buzzing about her + some free promo for their band. You’ve just done that by giving her a news story on your page.

    Can people not become famous off of their own backs these days? She’s not gonna get anywhere being the “Taylor Swift Lookalike”. If she were to become famous in the future, then she would just be compared to Swift in every single way. It wouldn’t be about her voice or her music, it would always be about “that girl who looks like Taylor Swift.”

    All in all, a good stunt for five minutes of fame, but if she want’s to stay in the long run, keep working hard, show people some individuality + get a new haircut.

    • Its not a PR stunt. I’ve known her for a while and she has always had that style and she had her haircut a couple of weeks before Taylor Swift had her’s done that way.

    • Indeed, it is not a stunt. I, too, know her, and it is utter coincidence.
      A complete stranger started the rumor – there’s no way she could’ve orchestrated that.

    • You speculate so much for knowing so little. Its better to be invisible on the internet than leave a comment and have people know you’re a complete moron.

  2. are you kidding she has copied SO much of taylor it’s so uncomfortable and creepy. her face doesn’t look her, its the way she styles her hair, make up, clothes, pictures (!!!) even the way she captions her photos. ( yes I know she got it short first blah blah ) but her past photos obviously are copying taylor. she needs to be her own person or her band won’t get signed becsuse she keeps trying to look like someone else its really going to affect her career. There are other girls out there that actually look like taylor and don’t do what this girl does, probably because they know that it’s weird and they should be there own person. This girl needs to do the same thing if I was her I’d have a reality check and reinvent myself