An Ohio woman named Jeanette Paras has spent more than 30 years elaborately painting and designing large pumpkins to resemble various celebrities. This year’s celebrity is Taylor Swift, which she decided to name “Taylor SwiftKin”.
SwiftKin weighs just under 400 pounds. To recreate Swift’s 2023 Grammys red carpet look, Paras used nine wigs for her blonde tresses and sweet potatoes for her ears. While the pumpkin may sound large, it actually isn’t the biggest one the artist has made. In 2021, Paras crafted a Ted Lasso-themed pumpkin named “Ted LassoKin” weighing 705 pounds.
Her process for decorating pumpkins is exactly the same every year, choosing a famous face and sketching them from an inspiration photo. She then picks a pumpkin to make sure the sketch correlates with the pumpkin’s size. Instead of growing the pumpkin’s herself, Paras reaches out to local farmers from her hometown in Dublin, Ohio, or sometimes attends pumpkin growing contests.
This year’s pumpkin came from local residents Jason Johnson and Kurt Rossbach, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “It’s a real science,” Paras told the outlet. “These growers are the nicest people.”
The last step in the process is to paint her pumpkin and add embellishments, such as Swift’s hair and earrings. “This is top-secret stuff. I have to cover the windows of my studio/garage because no one knows who the subject will be until the reveal each year,” Paras told local news outlet WBNS. “And when I crack up because of one of my pumpkins, that’s when I know I’ve picked the right subject. It’s so much fun to do this every year. I love the reactions from my neighbours and all the people who stop by to take pictures.”
Speaking to the Columbus Dispatch, Paras explained that the attention surrounding Swift’s Eras Tour and her rumoured relationship with NFL star Travis Kelce influenced her decision in choosing the singer for her annual pumpkin. The artist even went so far as to design a 20-pound gourd with a Kansas City Chiefs jersey to represent Swift’s beau. “She was just the head of the pack for the pumpkin,” Paras told the outlet.
Meanwhile, she explained to WBNS that because Swift has been a “bright star in today’s pop culture”, Taylor Swiftkin really stood out to her. “When she was romantically linked to two-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce, that certainly made her more interesting. As I like to say, I don’t make the news, I pumpkinize it,” Paras joked.
In addition to creating a giant pumpkin display, the artist is also a two-time breast cancer survivor - although she prefers the word “thriver” - according to the Columbus Dispatch. Because the month of October celebrates both Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness month, Paras has partnered with the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at the Ohio State University and will match the first $2,500 donated to the fund at www.give.osu.edu/ParasPumpkins.
“That’s one reason I do this,” she told the Columbus Dispatch. “The other reason is that I think I’m funny.”
The Independent has contacted Paras for comment.