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Taylor Swift fans describe 'surreal' encounter at Heinz Field

| Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, 4:51 p.m.
(from left)Abigail and Julia, both 9, and their sister Katelyn of Upper Burrell pose for a photo after Taylor Swift's concert on Aug. 7 at Heinz Field. They were chosen by Swift's mother Andrea Swift, to meet the pop star backstage.
COURTESY MICHELLE JUNOD
(from left)Abigail and Julia, both 9, and their sister Katelyn of Upper Burrell pose for a photo after Taylor Swift's concert on Aug. 7 at Heinz Field. They were chosen by Swift's mother Andrea Swift, to meet the pop star backstage.
(from left) Lauren Letzelter, Taylor Swift and Alana Letzelter of Plum pose for a photo after Swift's concert on Aug. 7 at Heinz Field. They were chosen by Swift's mother Andrea Swift, to meet the pop star backstage.
COURTESY ALANA LETZELTER
(from left) Lauren Letzelter, Taylor Swift and Alana Letzelter of Plum pose for a photo after Swift's concert on Aug. 7 at Heinz Field. They were chosen by Swift's mother Andrea Swift, to meet the pop star backstage.

A trip to the restroom for sisters Alana Letzelter and Michelle Junod and their daughters turned into a face-to-face meeting and photo opportunity with pop star Taylor Swift.

The singer was performing at Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Shore on Tuesday when her mother, Andrea Swift, approached Junod and her daughter while they were walking to the restroom during the show.

“She told me my daughter looked so much like Taylor when she was that age, except Taylor always had a guitar in her hands,” said Junod of Upper Burrell. “Then she watched us and followed us back to our seats at the top of the stadium.”

Andrea Swift followed the fans back to the seats, escorted by security guards.

She asked the group if they wanted to meet Taylor Swift after the show.

Tentative at first, they were somewhat skeptical.

“When she first said she was Taylor's mom, I was like, ‘which one of my daughters has a friend Taylor,' and then I realized who she was,” said Letzelter of Plum. “She told my sister the girls were dancing, and screaming, even when Taylor Swift wasn't singing. They looked like they were having such a good time.”

They screamed even louder once they realized they were going to meet the star.

Fans invited into the highly coveted so-called “Rep Room” — either by Swift via social media or “Mama Swift” during the show — received special wristbands from an escort with a walkie-talkie standing beside the main stage.

The crew member walked them through the tunnels used by the Steelers to enter the field, an area transformed into a labyrinth of production equipment.

They were led to a single door adorned by slithering snakes.

Inside, they encountered a posh room of purples, blacks and gold featuring the ornately designed golden throne used by Swift during the music video, “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Black drapes hung from the ceiling, elegantly linked at the top of a large black post adorned by golden snakes slithering up from a black-cushioned seating island.

A bar featured cocktails named after Swift song lyrics — “Spilling Wine in the Bathtub,” “Swimming in a Champagne Sea,” “Drinking Beer out of Plastic Cups” and “I Knew it from the First Old Fashioned We Were Cursed.”

In a corner behind a black drape, a professional photographer took photos of fans next to Swift against a newspaper-style backdrop.

The fans were not allowed to bring anything with them to the meet and greet. They did have pizza and cupcakes and drinks for them while they were waiting.

“The girls were in seventh heaven,” said Letzelter, who with her sister are Burrell High School graduates. “Taylor noticed the shirts my daughter created for her and her cousins. She told my daughter, ‘good job.' The kids were star struck. Taylor was so appreciative of them being fans and told them that.”

It was an early birthday present for Letzelter's daughter, Lauren, who will turn 12 on Aug. 9.

“It really was surreal,” said Junod, the mother of 11-year-old Katelyn and 9-year-old twins Abigail and Julia. “It was pretty cool that a trip to the restroom turned into this.”

“She was so nice. I told her that her mother is awesome and she said ‘Isn't my mom the bomb?'”

The tickets were Christmas presents from the girls' grandparents Jack and Elaine Zajdel of Upper Burrell. They put the photos of them with Taylor Swift in Ziploc bags because it was pouring rain when they left the stadium around 1 a.m.

“I was dumbfounded,” said Lauren Letzelter. “I couldn't believe it. It was so sudden and at first I was speechless, but then I told her I really liked her concert and I will remember this moment forever. I am putting this picture everywhere.”

“It was so cool to meet Taylor Swift,” said Junod. “I couldn't believe it. I told her I was her biggest fan. There were thousands of fans in the stadium and she picked us. That was so cool and she was so nice. This all feels like a dream.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib. Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514 or nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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