Nestled amid the roar of 40,000 fans, with their red capes, scarlet costumes, crimson fairy lights, and cherry-coloured lipstick, 16-year-old Mikaela Brinkworth beamed up at the stage, singing along to every word.

Their excitement was all for 24-year-old American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, who toured Australia in early December last year to share songs from her newest album; Red.

“Red is the colour of the crazy emotions, the ones that teach us to be who we were meant to be,” Taylor told her fans between songs. 

This truthfulness has had a deep impact on young people, including Mikaela, who had struggled at school until Taylor Swift’s music inspired her to learn to play the guitar.

“The connection with Taylor has provided a rich platform for us to engage with her in music and storytelling,” explained Mikaela’s dad Andrew Brinkworth.

The heartfelt melodies and inspirational lyrics of Taylor’s music also resonated with 14 students who travelled almost 3000 km from Alice Springs’ Centralian Contarf Academy and attended the show.  

The boys, aged between 16 and 18, were guests of the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation, and found themselves roaring along with the rest of the crowd.

“We were screaming louder than the girls,” laughed student Michaelis McMasters.

But it was Mikaela, one of the first in line for the concert tickets when they went on sale, whose night ended with a surprise back stage pass to meet her musical heroine.

"I dreamt about this moment for years and it finally came true,” Mikaela said. "Taylor Swift hugged me like a big sister!"