The Paramore singer first met Taylor in 2011, when the artist rolled into town and invited Hayley to join her onstage one night on her Speak Now Tour.
“I really wasn’t aware that she covered different people’s songs every night, which now has become such a big part of her tours, like she’ll bring out friends that have big songs or whatever,” Williams recalled to Stereogum in 2020. “But it blew my mind because I didn’t really think—I mean ‘Misery Business’ had been a big song at the time, but I really did not imagine that that many kids would know ‘That’s What You Get.’ And it was so fun to get to do that.”
For awhile they were both living primarily in Nashville and started hanging out “after the big Kanye thing happened.”
“She’s really a sweet person and this harsh music industry tried to chew her up and spit her out a thousand times,” Williams said (though she noted that she doesn’t “really know [Swift] that well anymore”). And I think she always rises to the top because she’s actually a great writer and a great artist. And I do think that she is just a good person, you know?”
Recalling the “Bad Blood” video, “I think we can all clearly see that I don’t fit in,” Williams said, laughing. “It was really f–king cool. Like I had to do choreography for that fight scene, but then they brought in a stunt double for the things I couldn’t do. I definitely felt like I was in a world I didn’t belong in. I feel that way anytime Paramore’s ever done something that’s mega mainstream.”
At the time, though, Williams did appreciate being given full artistic freedom to follow her inspiration for The Crimson Curse.
“[Taylor] was like, ‘I just need you to pick sort of like a fighting style and like a name,'” Williams told MTV News after the video debuted. “I instantly was like I want to be like Leeloo [from The 5th Element] … and that’s pretty much the way we went with it.”
“All day was a dream [on set],” she added. “I still text [Taylor]…freaking out about the fact that I got to play basically a character that I’m obsessed with.”