Clara Bow’s Family Reacts to Taylor Swift’s New Song, Says Actress Would Have Been ‘Protective’ of Singer

The late actress’ great-granddaughters Nicole Sisneros and Brittany Grace Bell talk with PEOPLE exclusively about the upcoming Taylor Swift track named after Clara Bow

Clara Bow and Taylor Swift

Clara Bow; Taylor Swift. PHOTO: BETTMANN/GETTY; CHRISTOPHER POLK/PENSKE MEDIA VIA GETTY

The family of Clara Bow is sharing their thoughts on Taylor Swift’s upcoming new song.

During the 2024 Grammys, the “Bejeweled” singer made the surprise announcement that she would be releasing her 11th studio album The Tortured Poets Department later this year. However, no one was more surprised than Bow’s family when they discovered that the late actress is the namesake of a new track.

Speaking exclusively with PEOPLE, Bow’s great-granddaughters, Nicole Sisneros and Brittany Grace Bell (who are the granddaughters of Bow’s son Rex Bell Jr.), say they were stunned when Swift revealed the album would feature a song titled “Clara Bow.”

“We could not believe it,” Sisneros says. “We were shocked and then the intrigue set in because no one from our family has been contacted or knew about this prior. We found out via the Instagram post like everybody else.” Sisneros adds that she reached out to Swift’s team but has yet to hear anything back.

“[During her Grammy speech Swift] said she was working on this the past two years so [we] just want to know what prompted it and where the connection is coming from,” Sisneros continues.

Clara Bow and Taylor Swift Grammys outfit

Clara Bow; Taylor Swift.EUGENE ROBERT RICHEE/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY; MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY

Being both mothers and longtime Swifties, Sisneros adds that the new song is extra special for her and Bell as they now get to experience it with their children.

“[I] took my oldest daughter to the [Eras Tour] concert and just to see it through her eyes and see this megastar who appeals to people of all ages,” Sisneros recalls. “When we told her [about the new ‘Clara Bow’ song] she was excited and looking forward to telling her little friends.”

“It’s important to us to continue Clara Bow’s history and pass on stories about her,” she adds. “And in both of our homes, we have original 1920s photos from her movie sets, so to pass on her legacy to our children is really important. And it seems like a great touch point too, that’ll just further her story for other generations.”

Though it’s unclear what Swift’s new song will be about, Sisneros and Bell hope the new track captures the “perseverance” of their late great-grandmother. “She came from a really tough background and she really made it happen for herself,” Bell says.

“I hope she conveys a positive image of Clara Bow, which I think she will,” Bell continues. “I would imagine that Taylor uses this as a way to highlight her accomplishments, her accolades, her talent. They’re both people that have really strong raw talent.”

Clara Bow and Taylor Swift

Clara Bow; Taylor Swift.HULTON-DEUTSCH COLLECTION/CORBIS/CORBIS VIA GETTY; AMY SUSSMAN/GETTY

Sisneros points out that there are many parallels between Bow and Swift, from their classic styles and signature red lips to how they dealt with intense media scrutiny in the spotlight. “Clara faced that as well and rose above and had to block it out. Her tenacity to focus on her career [is] very similar to Taylor.”

“They’re both pioneers in their field,” Bell adds. “Clara Bow was one of the first really big movie stars and had to pave a way,” she says of her great-grandmother who was nicknamed the first “It girl.” “She just had that larger-than-life presence on screen and was able to portray any role. Acting back then was just you. You didn’t have your voice, you didn’t have sound, you didn’t have special effects, crazy special makeup that we have today. It was just you and your acting ability. She had such a raw talent. So many people were just drawn to her like a moth to the flame.”

Sisneros notes that Swift is very much the modern-day personification of an “It girl.” “I think the Eras Tour solidifies that,” she says. “Truly, that one performer can carry such a load and perform at such a grueling pace. And night after night, these three, four-hour shows with 40 odd songs on a set list that has hundreds of thousands of people captivated truly shows her place in this industry.”

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 19: EDITORIAL USE ONLY Taylor Swift performs onstage during "Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour" at Gillette Stadium on May 19, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

SCOTT EISEN/TAS23/GETTY

Though Bow died in September 1965, Sisneros and Bell think their late great-grandmother would have been very protective of Swift in the same way she was of actress Marilyn Monroe.

Bell references a quote Bow previously made about the Some Like It Hot actress featured in Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild, where she said, “I never met her, but if I had, I would have tried very hard to help her, assemble as a heavy load to carry. Wouldn’t one as tired, hurt and bewildered?”

Relating that same quote to Swift, Bell adds, “I think Clara Bow would feel the same kinship and protectiveness over someone who’s of the same level of fame as her in dealing with the media and how heavy the crown is to carry.”

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