Imagine a secret laboratory in Nashville, where Hayden Panettiere’s DNA is spliced with Dolly Parton’s. The resulting creature, a faster, blonder, longer-legged Carrie Underwood, would be a lot like Taylor Swift. Her debut, Taylor Swift, has sold almost 3 million copies — and she rules MySpace, with 40 million page views. The eighteen-year-old country-pop sensation — a one-time Abercrombie and Fitch model raised on a Christmas-tree farm in rural Pennsylvania — is equally appealing to tween girls (who can relate to TRL-dominating songs like “Teardrops on My Guitar”) and grown men (those legs). “I don’t care how people look at me,” says Swift. “As long as they look at me.”
This is a story from the May 1, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone.