In the most recent issue of Vogue, Taylor Swift name-dropped her former middle-schoolmate Sarah Jaxheimer, describing her as, “That seventh-grade girl who looks like she’s 25.” Swift then muses, “How do you do it, Sarah Jaxheimer?…Why is your hair always so shiny?” The phrase itself sounds like the title of a Judy Blume novel: How Do You Do It, Sarah Jaxheimer? The cadence of her name is almost too perfect. This got us musing: Is Sarah Jaxheimer the short-skirted “cheer captain” whom a sneakered Taylor envied from the bleachers? Is Sarah Jaxheimer the reason Taylor felt as if she were “On the outside looking in?” Is Sarah Jaxheimer the urtext to the entire Swiftian canon and the answer to all of our hair-related woes? Is Sarah Jaxheimer going to pick up when we call?
“Yes,” is the answer to that final question. Sure, we felt a bit of that old middle school nervousness calling her up, like the voice-cracky nerd who gets lab-partnered with the prettiest girl in school. “One of my friends goes, ‘Taylor Swift said your name in Vogue,” recalls Jaxheimer, a senior Communications major and Social Chairman of the Phi Mu Sorority at Miami University in Ohio. We asked Jaxheimer to describe the Wyomissing, PA middle school experience, desperate to add color to the picture Swift paints in so many of her songs. “The school was pretty small, about 150 kids per grade.” Surely, in a group of 150, a name as deliciously intimidating as “Sarah Jaxheimer” won’t fall by the wayside, but there had to be more to it.
Is Sarah Jaxheimer the “cheer captain?”
“No, we played volleyball together, I wasn’t a cheerleader.” Darn. When asked if either she or Taylor were in the “Popular Group,” Jaxheimer recalled, “I don’t think we had such specific stereotypes. There weren’t ‘jocks’ or ‘geeks.’ I just think our two groups of friends were both popular, and we had our close friends who came together for birthday parties.” Birthday Parties, eh? “Yeah, I remember [Taylor's 13th] birthday party at her house in the basement.” So, she’s not the infamous “cheer captain,” but there had to be a reason Sarah Jaxheimer’s name traveled from Taylor’s lips to Vogue’s pages.
Is Sarah Jaxheimer the reason Taylor feels like an “outsider?”
“An outsider? No, I’d just consider us in different groups.” She followed with her best impression of a popular girl: “I guess never had the experience of feeling left out, or that my friends were picking on me, I can’t really relate to the experiences in her songs.” Okay, I think she officially outed the group she was in, but still…
Why are you in Vogue, Sarah Jaxheimer?
“Maybe she just really liked my hair? I can’t think of any reasons.” Unlike Carrie Bradshaw before us, we resisted the urge to impress S-Jax with some vague idea/Vogue idea wordplay, and insisted she give it some more thought. “It was a huge compliment, but in the context of the article it could be construed differently.“ A valid point, as Taylor’s hair envy directly followed a mention of “mean girls.” We asked why “mean girl” and “Sarah Jaxheimer” might be linked together in Swift’s mind. “Well, I think it might have something to do with the fact that I was dating the boy she liked,” Here we go! “But at the same time it was junior high and nothing was serious, just crushes. Taylor never yelled at me or anything. I don’t think any of her songs are specifically about me.” She’s so humble, she doesn’t think those songs are about her.
Is Sarah Jaxheimer a mean girl?
Her words: “I’m not a ‘mean girl.’ I love her music and I listen to the songs about how [middle school] was hard. I don’t relate because I loved [middle school].” Our words: Sarah Jaxheimer is not a mean girl. She’s not a Regina George, or a Courtney, or one of the Heathers. Sarah Jaxheimer and her shiny hair won the affections of a boy whom Taylor really liked, very possibly fueling a couple lyrics we really like. We say she’s more of a Cher: Adorably and harmlessly faux-oblivious to the effect that she and her hair had on pre-pubescent onlookers. “I’m just gunna take it as she remembers me and she liked my hair…I also think Taylor’s hair is beautiful, and she’s blessed to have the curls she has. ” Aw. Still, one question remains, and it’s all Taylor’s:
How do you do it, Sarah Jaxheimer?
“I’ve never really done anything special. I just buy whatever shampoo and conditioner I think smells good.” Too cool to pimp for an endorsement deal? You go, Sarah Jaxheimer.