Becoming “The Man” isn’t so easy.
On Friday, nearly one week after Taylor Swift premiered the music video for her feminist anthem “The Man,” the 30-year-old singer released a behind-the-scenes clip that gave fans a closer look at how she transformed into “Tyler Swift,” the misogynistic and disrespectful titular character she played in the video.
Taking on the role meant that Swift had to spend a significant time in the glam chair, at the hands of makeup artist Bill Corso and his team.
As Swift explained, the process “took five hours every morning” — with Corso and company using prosthetics, wigs, and makeup to turn her into the brunette, bearded man. She even wore muscle suits under her clothes in order to fill out her manly look.
Though it was an intensive task, Swift put a lot of trust in Corso.
“It’s been a joy because Bill Corso’s been doing it,” she said. “I’ve worked with him once before when he turned me into a zombie for the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video.”
“I had no idea what they do to your body to make it look different, I have muscle suits on underneath things,” she explained. “I don’t even want to talk to what else, I don’t even want to tell you about it, this is a family show.”
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Of course, to truly embody the character, Swift not only had to learn to talk the talk, but she also needed movement coaches to help her walk the walk.
“I was so stoked to have a movement coach help me with things,” she said in the clip of her coaches Stephen Galloway and Spenser Theberge. “Like I never thought about how men walk, it’s never something that interested me before, but you know they walk differently than we do.”
Swift was also unfamiliar with how she should look at other girls in the music video.
“How do you check somebody out?” she asked one of her coaches. “You check out their boobs and then their butt? Butt and then boobs and then back to butt? Okay cool.”
The behind-the-scenes clip also showed Swift learning new mannerisms like smoking a cigar and fixing one’s underwear placement.
“I’ve never smoked a cigar before, I don’t have real lips on, these are rubber lips,” she laughed, also sharing that she “never adjusted [her] underpants like that,” while sitting down.
At the end of the video, the line “No men were harmed in the making of this video” sarcastically appears across the screen.
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During outtakes from her Woman of the Decade interview with Billboard, Swift shared the reason behind wanting to write the empowering anthem.
“It was a song that I wrote from my personal experience, but also from a general experience that I’ve heard from women in all parts of our industry,” she said. “I think that, the more we can talk about it in a song like that, the better off we’ll be in a place to call it out when it’s happening.”
She added, “So many of these things are ingrained in even women, these perceptions, and it’s really about re-training your own brain to be less critical of women when we are not criticizing men for the same things.”
Swift also spoke about the pressures women in the industry face in her Netflix documentary Miss Americana. “We do exist in this society where women in entertainment are discarded in an elephant graveyard by the time they’re 35,” she said.
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