AMERICA’S BADDEST BAD GIRL DOESN’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK OF HER.
“She’s cool, she’s scandalous,” Kristal, an apple-cheeked 13-year-old, shouts over the din. “I like her hair,” adds Morgan, a 12-year-old standing next to her. “She’s a slut,” declares Kaylee, a sullen 14-year-old with a fading magenta dye job and a mouthful of bubble gum. “I’m here for Ariana Grande.” For all I know, she’s referring to a Microsoft Word font or a new kind of latte. This is not my scene. I am in the oppressive mayhem at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, packed on this December night for the Jingle Ball, a concert series featuring of-the-moment pop artists. Kristal and Morgan are Smilers, as Miley Cyrus diehards call themselves. Some carry a torch for Hannah Montana, the Disney Channel role that made her a star. Others favor the edgier persona introduced with her 2013 album, Bangerz. But all are fiercely devoted, waiting hours for a glimpse of Cyrus.
Onstage, the lights dim. Red sequins flash through a smoke-machine haze. Cyrus, in a spangled two-piece ensemble hiked high enough to require intensive bikini waxing, steps out. Behind her, a tall black woman sways in a Christmas tree costume that Cyrus will later overturn, pointing at the women’s rear end and impishly wagging her tongue at the audience. Next to her, a little person prances in a silver leotard with conical foam breasts. Cyrus kneels and squeezes them playfully. Eighteen thousand audience members explode into unhinged jubilation. “Oh, my God,” Kristal shrieks, near tears. “I love her!”
Read the full interview HERE.
Check out the photoshoot HERE.