Taylor Swift’s Grandma May Have Been a TV Host in Puerto Rico, Lived All Over Latin America
Whether you can sing along to all the lyrics of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” or you’re not exactly a Taylor Swift fan, one fun piece of information may surprise you.
In fact, you might not know that Swift’s grandmother, Marjorie Finlay, lived in various places in Latin America throughout her life. According to old newspaper clippings, Finlay is referred to as “a star in Puerto Rico.” Wait what?
As Instagram user @jgpunto recently pointed out, Swift’s grandma (or should we say abuelita?) was an opera singer who lived and performed throughout Latin America. Yes, while Finlay was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1928, she eventually lived in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
Swift’s grandmother was an opera singer who sang with orchestras throughout Latin America
Mindblown yet? Well, get ready — it’s a rollercoaster ride of fun facts that may come in handy at a carne asada one day.
As per a 1952 newspaper clipping from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Finlay was actually born Marjorie Moehlenkamp until marrying Robert Finlay — A.K.A. Swift’s grandfather. She attended Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, was in a sorority and was a talented singer.
In fact, as per the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the future Mrs. Finlay studied music in college. She also made her way to Massachusetts to take part in a music program and by 1950, won a radio music contest for her singing. This ignited her opera career at just 22 years old.
So where does living in Latin America come in? Well, it seems like that had a bit to do with her marriage in 1952.
As per that same dug-up newspaper clipping, Finlay’s husband Robert Finlay was from New York. However, at the time of the marriage, he lived in Havana, Cuba on an “engineering project.”
Another 1962 article from the same newspaper talked about Marjorie Finlay’s singing career and her solo show with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. In it, the writer called her an “attractive soprano,” and explained that her husband’s work commitments “took him first to Havana, then to Puerto Rico, then to Caracas [Venezuela], and back to Puerto Rico.”
So where was Swift’s grandma in all of this? Pursuing her singing career throughout Latin America, of course.
“At each stop, Marjorie sang with symphony orchestras and in opera.”
Several resurfaced newspaper articles say Finlay was an acclaimed TV host in Puerto Rico
Want to get even more mind-blown? Well, read on.
The St. Louis Globe-Democrat journalist explained in the article, “In San Juan [Puerto Rico], where the Finlays now live, [Marjorie Finlay] has had her own TV program, does concert, opera and supper club singing.”
Wait, wait… hold up. Taylor Swift’s grandma had her own television show in Puerto Rico? As they say, you either die a hero, or live long enough to find out Swift’s grandma was a Boricua TV star.
Swift included yet another St. Louis Globe-Democrat article about her grandma in her lyric video for her 2020 song “Marjorie.” The track is famously about her grandmother, with lyrics like, “What died didn’t stay dead, you’re alive, you’re alive in my head” (Finlay passed away in 2003).
The newspaper clipping in the lyric video shows a photo of Finlay, with the title, “She’s a star in Puerto Rico.”
If you pause the lyric video to read the article, it’s pretty fascinating. The writer described Finlay as “a singer in Puerto Rico,” explaining, “[She’s] the star of her own TV show in Puerto Rico,” titled “El Show Pan-Americano.”
It also said Finlay was “a personality” in her “adopted country” of Puerto Rico, saying people called her “Margie” on the street.
“Miss Finlay got into television in 1960, when an American girl who spoke broken Spanish was needed for a Pan-American bilingual show aimed at bringing better understanding throughout the Americas through their music,” it explained.
“I certainly qualified,” Swift’s abuelita joked. “My Spanish was bad enough to be funny and the audience loved it.”
“It was a great success, running six nights a week for 17 months,” she proudly explained. All the while, the article described how the Finlays lived in “a San Juan suburb” with their two girls. Does this mean their daughter Andrea Swift, Taylor Swift’s mom, lived in Puerto Rico, too?
The plot thickens.
Fans realized Finlay lived in Venezuela, too — all from Swift’s unearthed home videos
Since the rediscovery of Finlay’s Puerto Rican television program, Swifties continue to unearth more surprising fun facts. As in, Swift’s grandparents lived in Cuba and Venezuela, too, with Marjorie Finlay singing along the way.
For one, X users have resurfaced yet another newspaper article on Finlay titled “Margie — the Parr of Puerto Rico.”
That article testified that “thousands of Puerto Ricans [were] charmed and entertained” by Finlay every night on TV. She shared MC duties with another host named Pumerejo, originally from Cuba, and the show filmed in Santurce, Puerto Rico.
The piece gives us even more interesting details — including the fact that Finlay recorded an album in Mexico (!).
“She did concert work in several South American countries,” the writer explained. “She had sung with the Puerto Rican Symphony and had leading roles in musical productions and light operas in South America.”
The article also dives into other countries Finlay lived in, including Cuba and Venezuela. “[Robert Finlay] took his bride to live in Havana, his home office at the time, but as Cuban political unrest grew, [his construction] business moved to Puerto Rico.”
“From there, the Finlays went to Venezuela,” the writer continued. They later settled back in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and seem to have done at least some of their globe-trotting with both daughters in tow. AKA, Taylor Swift’s mom and aunt.
And because Swifties are everything, TikTok user @daniquinn3 realized Finlay lived in Venezuela through a home video. In fact, as they explained, Swift’s lyric video for “Timeless” includes footage of her grandma on a boat.
Well, this eagle-eyed fan looked at the background and realized Swift’s grandparents were actually in Playa Azul in La Guaira, Venezuela.
Here’s another clip, where Finlay may have the Venezuelan flag just behind her:
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