— shai swift (@kedsswift) March 15, 2014
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.
Taylor Swift is in downtown Charleston. I WILL find her.
— Lori Pimental (@LoriBethhhh) March 15, 2014
TAYLOR SWIFT: WHERE ARE YOU IN CHARLESTON I NEED YOU SO WE CAN BE BFFS AND TEXT
— Bailey (@b_duffs) March 16, 2014
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.’”
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!”