The youngest pop imposition? A flashy brat? A publicity junkie, who pulls out a joint of her handbag on stage, who dances provocative with Robin Thicke at the MTV Awards and who licks a sledgehammer and sits naked on a wrecking ball in the video to her global hit Wrecking Ball?
The kinds of reactions already show that Miley accomplished the most important thing in the pop-business: she knows how to make people freak out. The 21-year-old polarizes the way Madonna and Lady Gaga did before they became icons. And Miley Cyrus knows exactly what she is doing. That is not only shown with her clear self-awareness in interviews, but also her biography. She’s a full professional in the entertainment industry basically since she was born. Her dad is country-rockstar Billy Ray Cyrus and country legend Dolly Parton is her godmother. Her actual name is Destiny Hope. Miley is just the short-version of her nickname “Smiley”, which is what her family called her because she was always smiling. The knowledge how the show business works was taught to her since she was little. And she already left her first world career behind: the starring role in the Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana”, which was produced from 2006 to 2011, turned her into a global teen sensation. But with 18, 19 year Miley turned away from the clean image and decided not to waste her youth on being everybody’s darling, but find the person, she would be one day. Even if you listen to “Wrecking Ball” only once, you will realize that the young and experienced singer shows expressiveness, maturity and passion. And when you have a look at Mario Testino’s photos of her you also see a confident young woman full of vitality, who is aware of the fact that now is her time and that the fun has only just begun. And: you see a born star.
Vogue: Lately you dress – uh - revealing and changed your entire style. Why that transformation?
Miley: I don’t know why there is such a fuss about that. I got bored with my long hair, so I cut it off. I didn’t want to provoke with it, but I have changed and grew up a bit. But a lot of people copy this hairstyle now. I don’t like that, so I guess I have to change my look again because I hate it when everyone looks the same. I am more for individuality.
Vogue: Even if you scandalize with it?
Miley: Well, I am not really a normal person. My job allows me to go out how I like it. There are no taboo’s when it comes to revealing outfits and crazy hair styles. In the end I work in the entertainment industry, which is a plus for me. Just because I can unfold myself without any problems. But at the same time I am convinced that all teenagers should free themselves from the things that constrict them. That’s why I want to encourage their self-fulfilment.
Vogue: Does that mean you want to be a role model for people your age?
Miley: Why not? Especially teenagers need someone they can identify with, someone who gives the impression “you and I, we are on the same wavelength”.
Vogue: Most parents would prefer it if you still were the lovely Hannah Montana from the TV show.
Miley: It was my desire to break away from this image. I’ve had enough from the ponytail. I didn’t want to be the nice one anymore. With my haircut I kinda broke off the chains and admitted to what I am: a young woman. I needed to be brave for that decision. I can’t hide behind my hair anymore. That people can stare right in my face all the time.
Vogue: Aren’t you used to that? You’ve been in the spotlight since you were a little child.
Miley: And I loved it. Even though I had less free time than other children, I never felt overstrained and I have never been under pressure. I’m just a fighter. I have five siblings and I am the middle child, so I always wanted to get attention. That’s what helped me a lot to establish myself in the show business.
Vogue: Is that the reason you were naked on a wrecking ball?
Miley: Well, this video was like a coup for me. I don’t have to keep this pretty façade alive anymore, but I can be myself.
Vogue: Does that shock your godmother Dolly Parton?
Miley: Not at all. She always stayed true to herself. I’ve learned from her that it is impossible to be loved by everyone. No matter what I do, someone will always dislike it. That’s why it isn’t worth it to pretend to be someone else. I think everyone should do what he or she thinks is right.
Vogue: Which dreams do you want to fulfil?
Miley: Tough question. Of course the entertainment industry annoys me a lot. It’s pretty uncomfortable to be photographed by paparazzi all the time. Sometimes I think: that’s it. I will quit my career and leave the public eye. I don’t know if that is gonna happen one day. I guess I am a walking opposition that changes her mind all the time. So, we have to see what the future brings.
Vogue: Maybe a new movie?
Miley: I don’t know. I haven’t been in front of a camera in a while. I’m not a passionate actress because I don’t like to pretend to be someone I am not. Why should I become a strange character when I prefer to be the real Miley Cyrus.
Vogue: For example while singing?
Miley: Exactly. When I recorded my album “Bangerz” I was my own director. I was able to realize all my visions instead of just listening to the director at a movie set. I liked that a lot. I love to have everything under control. But that doesn’t mean I will never act again. Maybe one day I will be inspired by a role. Like I said: I’m a walking opposition.
“…Angel. Politics, for example, mean a lot to me. No wonder: my grandpa was a politician and I learned a lot from him. For example, that all people have the right to be themselves. Regardless of the consequences, of course. What makes you happy, shouldn’t harm others. That’s why my grandpa always listened to people. He weighed all the points out before he formed his own opinion about a topic. Unfortunately I am not as smart as he was. I tend to be stubborn."
Vogue: That doesn’t prevent you from stating your political opinion on Twitter.
Miley: Although we are living in the twenty-first century and although America is so proud of being a free country, a lot of crazy things happen in our society. There’s racism and discrimination. I am fighting against it. I want more tolerance especially regarding homosexuals, who should be allowed to get married, of course.
Vogue: Your commitment shows that you are very mature for a 21-year-old.
Miley: There’s still something childish in me. I will never lose this part, not even when I am an old lady. Whatever. I don’t consider birthdays as something important because they don’t turn me into a new person. I am always Miley. Please don’t ask me if I feel like an adult at the moment. I don’t have an answer to that.
Vogue: Does that mean the 'Party Miley' continues?
Miley: Like everyone else in my generation I like to party. But my life isn’t all about partying. It’s actually the opposite. I don’t need action all the time. I don’t like talking to strangers. I prefer inviting friends to my house. At home it’s like at a hotel, there is always someone sleeping over at my place otherwise I would feel lost at my huge house.