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She wants to have a long career, not get tossed away like most teen stars.

"I've not seen many people work as hard as Taylor," says Kellie Pickler, a good friend.

Now she is preparing to launch her first headlining arena tour of 52 cities in April (a date at the Staples Center in L. Her impeccably crafted songs easily translate to pop radio, and Swift is clearly taken with the notion of crossing over, though she's nervous about alienating her core audience.

"You can't forget who brought you to the party, and that's country radio," she insists.

It's self-preservation, really."Self-preservation is one of Swift's favorite phrases, and she uses it in reference to both her professional and personal lives.

She scours the fridge but comes up empty-handed, irritated by the foolishness of her mother, whom she surmises was shopping absent-mindedly. "Mom did that."wift likes to do everything the right way, and most of the time that means she likes to do everything herself.

She may be a five-foot-11-inch blonde, but she does not have the carefree soul that usually goes along with that physiognomy, and her back is starting to hunch a little from stress.

"You should never judge a person until you know the full story," she explains, matter-of-factly.

Swift is certain she would never let herself get caught up in such shenanigans. "When you've been on a tour bus for two months straight, and then you get in your ear and drive wherever you want, that can feel rebellious."f this is Swift's game face, it must be tattooed on, because it never drops during hours of press on a recent weekday in New York, a day that includes mind-numbing patter on Sirius XM and Clear Channel, a voiceover for a new style show on MTV and a sickeningly saccharine luncheon for her L.e.i. It's a tour de force: Swift engages easily with the teen-fashion journalists following her around, bantering about blow-dryers and bachelorette parties; then, she's gracious to the misshapen radio hosts, calling everyone by their names and administering warm hugs by the dozen.

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