Primary 5 student scores Taylor Swift’s ‘22 hat’ at first night of Eras Tour gig in S’pore


By AGENCY

Giselle Heng gets a hug and hat from pop star Taylor Swift during her performance of '22' at the Eras Tour opening night at the National Stadium on March 2. Photos courtesy of Vicky Chang

What does it feel like to hug Taylor Swift? It is apparently a little bit salty, according to Singaporean Giselle Heng, who turns 11 in June.

The girl not only got to hug and high-five the American superstar, but was also given the fedora hat Swift dons for the performance of 22.

This happened during Swift’s first of six nights of her Eras Tour at the National Stadium on March 2.

Over the telephone with The Straits Times, the Yishun Primary School pupil recounts: “I gave her a friendship bracelet that says 22. I told her, ‘I love you’, and she told me, ‘I love you’, too. I hugged her and a bit of her hair went into my mouth. It tasted a bit salty because of her sweat, but I don’t care at all.”

Since kicking off the tour in Glendale, the United States, in 2023, Swift has made a tradition of bestowing the fedora – dubbed the “22 hat” – on stage to a lucky fan.

Giselle’s mother Vicky Chang, a 39-year-old executive assistant at a law firm, did not manage to get tickets for the concert. But her friend, who is also the mother of Giselle’s classmate, had snagged three Category 2 tickets, which cost S$328 each, for her family.

The friend’s husband decided not to go, leaving one ticket available for Giselle.

The Category 2 tickets were later redesignated as Category 1, moving the trio to just behind the VIP 1 pens.

Chang sat outside the stadium with her younger daughter, Elyssa, who will turn eight this year, for the entire 3½-hour show.

Giselle was dancing along to Swift’s song Look What You Made Me Do when a man in black, who looked like a bodyguard, approached to ask for her chaperone’s permission to take her to the stage.

She remembers screaming “yes” repeatedly and adds: “I was confused at first, I thought they were just moving me closer to the stage. But then they took me through the gate of the VIP section and I thought, ‘It’s really happening.’ I knelt in front of the stage and saw the whole performance of 22 right in front of me.”

Giselle plans to keep the fedora, which bears Swift’s signature, in her room and save the shirt she wore to the concert – a Junior Jewels T-shirt she made two years ago, which replicates what Swift wore in the music video for You Belong With Me (2008).

She says: “I’m never going to wash it and I’m never going to wear it any more because this is the shirt Taylor hugged me in.”

There are other young fans hoping to get the 22 hat and a personal moment with Swift over the next five nights of her concert.

They include Keira Chia, a nine-year-old pupil from Nanyang Primary School, who was diagnosed with diffuse midline glioma, a type of terminal cancer tumour that begins in the brain, over a year ago. She loves singing and dancing, but is now using a wheelchair, having lost strength in her legs.

Singapore-based charity Viva Foundation for Children with Cancer has teamed up with home-grown bag brand Aupen to sponsor Keira with a private suite that costs more than S$30,000 to attend the March 7 concert with her mother.

A spokesman for Aupen told ST: “We wanted to fulfil Keira’s wish to see her favourite artiste live in concert. We hope that with everyone’s support, Taylor Swift will give Keira her black hat during the performance of 22.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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