Taylor Swift tells NYU graduates to ‘live alongside cringe’ in ‘iconic’ speech

Swift’s lengthy address at Yankee Stadium ran to nearly 25 minutes long

Tom Murray,Leonie Cooper
Wednesday 18 May 2022 18:07 BST
‘Cringe is unavoidable’: Taylor Swift speaks at NYU graduation
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Taylor Swift has been praised by fans for her lengthy commencement speech for the graduates of New York University’s class of 2022.

Swift, who also received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Yankee Stadium ceremony this morning (18 May), used her wide-ranging and 25 minute long address to give advice veiled as “life hacks” as well as speaking about female role models and the concept of cringe.

Opening her speech for the graduates of New York University’s class of 2022, she joked: “Last time I was in a stadium this size, I was dancing in high heels and wearing a glittery leotard. This outfit is much more comfortable.”

She added: “I’m 90 per cent sure the reason I’m here is because I have a song called “22”.”

In her emotive speech she told the graduate students that they must “learn to live alongside cringe.” Swift commented: “You will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. Cringe is unavoidable over the course of a lifetime... You can’t avoid it so don’t try to – for the entirety of 2012 I dressed like a 1950s housewife!”


Swift also tackled the challenges of working as a young woman in the music industry, and being surrounded by people who were at least a decade older than her. “I was constantly being issued warnings,” she said, and was made to feel like she had to be a “perfect young female role model”. If she didn’t, she quipped, she was warned that she would end up in “pop star jail”.

She also spoke about low points in her career. “Getting cancelled on the internet and almost losing my career gave me an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine.”

Fans online were quick to praise Swift’s speech, with one calling it “truly inspirational and iconic”. Many also celebrated the artist’s new status as an honorary Doctor.

Past recipients of honorary degrees from NYU have included Aretha Franklin, Ang Lee, Bill Clinton, Janet Yellen, Billy Crystal and Justin Trudeau.

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