When it comes to Taylor Swift’s “girl gang” there is one girl that is not like the other, and her name is Jaime King.
I don’t even feel comfortable using the word “girl” to describe King. She is a woman. She is also a successful actress, a wife and a mother. Yet, she is mingling on the weekends with Swift and her cadre of Hollywood ‘It’ girls, looking more like a groupie than a woman who has spent more than 20 years in the business.
Now, instead of being known for her acting credits, she is known more for her friendship with the “Bad Blood” singer. And this friendship runs deep. When you type Jaime King’s name in Google, the third result that comes up, after ‘Twitter’ and ‘baby’ is ‘Jaime King Taylor Swift.’ King just named Swift the godmother of her second child. They bake cookies together and exchange air kisses at Hollywood parties. They even completed the Ice Bucket Challenge together.
And yet, it seems so unnatural.
How did a 35-year-old actress become best friends with a 25-year-old pop singer, and her group of friends ranging in age from 18 through mid-20s?
In a new bi-monthly column with ELLE magazine, XO Jaime, King opened up about her high school years and it all makes sense. In a post titled “How Jaime King Went From A Poser To A Member of Taylor Swift’s Girl Gang,” King revealed her insecurities growing up and how girls tend to put each other down.
“I don’t know if you remember your first experience, like in school where you were bullied or talked about, but, for me, I was 12 or 13. I was pretty, and I looked a certain way, but I didn’t have the money and I didn’t have the address. I was very creative—and in Omaha, where I grew up, that wasn’t something that was really acceptable. You had to be a cheerleader or a jock at the school that I went to, and I remember the feeling at that point, like, Oh, okay. What do I do? Maybe if I change the way that I am, if I try to be more like my sister… My sister was very popular and she was accepted. I knew if I emulated her then finally people would love me. I started doing my hair and makeup like her. I started stealing her clothes so that I could try and look like her—whatever I could do to get out of feeling like I would never, ever possibly belong. And then, the interesting thing is, it got worse. People said I was a poser, that I was trying to be something I wasn’t. I didn’t understand. If I’m not acceptable how I am and I’m not acceptable when I fit into what you look like, then how am I ever going to be acceptable to you? It wasn’t the boys who were bullying me; it was the girls.”
Immediately my thought was: Is King reliving her high school years through Swift’s group of “popular” girls? Did she finally find the clique she has been looking for? Is King the Cady Heron to Swift’s Regina George?
Instead of ‘Mean Girls’ Swift has curated a group of “Nice Girls,” extremely talented and beautiful girls, each with a distinct quirk who prefer nights in to nights out on the town.
Swift is not the only friend who seems not age-appropriate for the actress. Her date to the Met Gala was Nicola Petz, 20, while she always name drops other young it girls on her Instagram, from Cara Delevingne, 22 to Sarah Hyland, 24. I would understand if King saw herself as their mentor, or an older sister even, but she sees herself as a core member of the girl gang.
In her column, King goes on to explain her group of ‘girlfriends’ and what role they play in her life.
“To me, there is nothing more profound than a deep conversation with one of my girlfriends. It’s so reinvigorating and refreshing because we get to be each other’s sounding boards. It’s my experience that men need to be acknowledged, they need to be told that they’re doing well, but women need to be heard.”
Can King or any woman in their 30s really relate to a group of teens and 20-somethings?
That decade in age difference is more than years. It is life experiences, it is maturity and it is a whole different perspective on life. Swift can write a great breakup ballad, but she is not a girlfriend you can talk to over wine about marital issues. She is not a girlfriend who has lived through the sleepless night and self-doubt that most new parents experience. King has not found a group of friends that “hear” her, she has found a group of friends that make her feel as if she finally belongs. She is finally a “cool” girl, and frankly, it is kind of sad.
Now, I have nothing against King. My guilty pleasure before its cancellation was “Hart of Dixie” (RIP Bluebell). King made Lemon Breeland likeable despite her serious character flaws, and brought depth to a character that on the surface was a caricature of a shallow Southern belle. She is good at what she does, but it doesn’t change my opinion that King’s friendship with Swift seems to stem from her high school insecurities. This has nothing to do with putting down a fellow female, or “bullying” someone, I just can’t wrap my mind around this May-December friendship.
Maybe I just can’t see myself giggling with 20 year olds when I am in my 30s, or maybe it’s because 10 years down the line I don’ want to be surrounded by the same drama I am experiencing as a 20-something. I won’t want to hear about your horrible Tinder date, I won’t want to sing “Happy Birthday” at an 18-year-old’s birthday party (yes, she did that) and I definitely won’t care about that girl at work that you don’t like. And neither should King.
So while right now I wouldn’t mind a girls night with T-Swizzle and her girl group, 10 years from now I won’t be hoping the latest Disney star invites me over for a sleepover and filling up my Instagram with selfies with girls almost half my age… at least I hope I won’t.