Taylor Swift continued to make MTV VMAs history tonight, something the singer also did last year when she became the first artist to win Video of the Year three times. Tonight, she won it for the fourth time. Swift is the first artist to receive the award two years in a row, too.
Swift won three other awards during the broadcast: Best Pop Song, Best Direction, and Song of the Year, all for “Anti-Hero”.
She used each of her speeches to address the different facets of the music video that each award recognized.
She started by discussing her feelings on writing in the pop genre when she won Best Pop Song early in the broadcast. That was her first win of the night.
After recovering from *NSYNC giving her the award, Swift said: “I love making pop music, I love making pop music videos, I also love making country. I love slinking around different genres, and the only reason I’m allowed to do that is because you, the fans, gave me the opportunity to do this.”
She added that it’s “one big adventure, and it’s all so much to challenge myself to make music that’s different than what I made last, and I just love you for it. But I really love making pop music, so thank you so, so, so much.”
The second award she won, Song of the Year, led Swift to reflect on her love of songwriting and her longtime working relationship with Jack Antonoff. She said:
I want to say I’m really, really lucky I get to write songs with one of my best friends in the world. His name is Jack Antonoff. He is so talented, it is incomprehensible, and I’m so lucky I’ve been making music with him since we made an album called 1989. And we’ll continue working together until 2089. I…the math doesn’t math. I am so, so happy because this is validating my favorite part of what I get to do. I started writing songs when I was 12, and it always starts with a very isolated emotion, like a very specific type of insecurity or self-loathing that I feel like I’m the only one who is feeling in that moment, but then when I go out on tour, I’ve got a stadium singing the words back to me. It brings me to this very relaxing feeling of maybe we all have the same issues so thank you so much to the fans. I love you so much. This means the world to me.
While accepting her third award, for best direction, she brought her collaborators Chancler Haynes and Rina Yang up on stage with her. She discussed directing, saying:
So if there is one thing that I’ve learned about direction that it is absolutely a team sport so I brought my team with me tonight. I’m so lucky to work with these brilliant, brilliant collaborators. I brought my editor Chancler Haynes. I’ve got my cinematographer Rina Yang. We’ve worked together so many times, and every time it is so much fun. And I’m just so lucky because I also want thank the actors who played my nightmare horrendous future children [in “Anti-Hero”]: Mike Birbiglia, John Early, and Mary Elizabeth Ellis. Thank you so much! You absolutely played the parts perfectly. I’m so, so lucky to get to direct and write my music videos. I love it so much. So thank you so much to the VMAs and the fans for honoring me. Thank you.
And finally, Swift ended the night making history by winning Video of the Year for the second year in a row. She let Haynes and Yang speak first, then she added her own final remarks to close out the big event. She told the crowd:
This is unbelievable. I just to say that the fact that this is a fan-voted award means so much to me based on the memories that we’ve made recently. I’ve just been on a tour that is the most joyful and exhilarating experience, and we’re not even halfway done with it. It’s really felt like the adventure of a lifetime this past year. I cannot believe that it was a year ago at the VMAs that I announced the Midnights album, and all I have to say tonight is thank you. I’m blown away. Thank you so much to the fans. I love you so much.
Swift was up for eight awards tonight, including Artist of the Year. Her music video “Anti-Hero” had seven of those nominations: Video of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Song, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Editing.
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.