Is Miley Cyrus just another spoiled starlet going off the rails? Joe
Yogerst thinks not, and spoke to her about being stalked by the
paparazzi, playing Demi Moore’s teenage daughter, and her dark sense of
Call it coincidence, but sometimes life has a strange way of
sending messages. Recently I undertook a pilgrimage to the Hollywood
Bowl to see Dolly Parton in concert. Halfway through the gig, the
country icon interrupted her songfest to talk about her god-daughter
Miley Cyrus. “She’s a good girl. She’ll get through this just fine,”
Parton said, suggesting that we should all remember what it was like to
be young, impetuous and a little bit wild. There was no way for me to
know that, just a few weeks later, I would be discussing that very topic
with Cyrus herself.
Parton was referring to Cyrus’ public and
often tumultuous attempt to morph from the child star of Disney
Channel’s runaway hit TV Series Hannah Montana
into a young
adult actor and singer. While not in the same league as those of Lindsay
Lohan and Paris Hilton, Cyrus’ early adult career has been fraught with
controversy. There was Annie Leibovitz’s Vanity Fair
shoot in which the then 15-year-old Cyrus appeared to be wrapped in only
a bed sheet. Racy photos were hacked from her e-mail account and
circulated on the web. Celebrity gossipmongers TMZ released a video
showing Cyrus smoking from a bong. Thought she hit back saying it
contained a legal substance, the footage was scandalous enough for her
father, country star Billy Ray Cyrus (of “Achy Breaky Heart
fame), to scold her publicly. Critics say her concert outfits and music
videos are too risqué. And even on and on it goes – all minor stuff in
the annals of showbiz scandal, but shocking for those raised on
goody-two-shoes Hannah Montana.
Gossip aside, what sets the
18-year-old apart from so many starlets of her generation is that she
has talent. In addition to her television and film performances, when it
comes to a song she can hold her own. Cyrus can also shift records;
she’s had top-40 hits in at least a dozen countries and is the youngest
artist of all time to chalk up four number-one albums in just three
With the “Queen of Country Music” as a godmother and a singing
legend for a father, Cyrus – who was born and raised in Nashville – is
descended from country-and-western royalty. Her birth name was Destiny Hope
but that didn’t stick. According to family legend, she grinned so much
as a baby that people started calling her Smiley, later shortened to
Miley. Another family table holds that she caught the showbiz bug at age
eight, when she saw a stage performance of the music Mamma Mia!
is known for sure is that Cyrus was a virtual unknown in 2006, when she
auditioned for a daytime TV series about a young California girl with a
double life as a pop star and schoolgirl. Despite her lack of acting
experience, Cyrus’ country twang and down-home charm made her a natural
for the role. A modern take on The Prince and the Pauper, Hannah Montana
became the biggest hit in Disney Channel’s history, and made Cyrus as
internationally famous as previous Disney creations Britney Spears and
By 2007 she was on the concert circuit, touring
first as her alter ego Montana, and then under her own name. But the
teenage hormones were kicking in and Cyrus was growing up, evolving from
the little girl – who had basically done whatever the Disney brass had
asked of her – into a teenager with attitude and ideas about the
direction her career should travel. While music remains her forte, Cyrus
has two movies – LOL: Laughing Out Loud and So Undercover
set for release this year, and she has made it known that she wants to
expand her acting career beyond the “singing girl next door” role that
has dominated her path thus far.
With Parton’s words still ringing in my ears, I settled in to interview Cyrus about her roller-coaster life and work.After even years in Los Angeles, are you a Southern or California girl these days?
I’m not a big fan of LA, I’ve got to be honest. I
like being able to work here, but any chance to go back home [to
Tennessee], I love it. People really take life for granted in
California. It makes me sad sometimes.
So I have to give myself that reality check every once in a while and go back home. Everyone
[in LA] is so busy and everyone is trying to be better than the other
person, and everyone has got so much going on. Nashville life is just so
laid back and people enjoy every second of life that they haveDo you miss Hannah Montana?No [laughs]. I miss the family vibe, but I don’t miss the routine at all
I was so bored doing the same thing every day. It’s a lot easier not
being on a show, to live my life a little bit and do some of the others
thing that I want to do, I don’t have to be back at a certain time. You’re
not worrying about a cast schedule or what the producers are going to
think. I’m so grateful that I was able to be on that show, but even my
little sister, who’s 11, wants to go into acting. I just say, “Just
wait, dude.” Because the way you’re going to be when you’re my age and
the way you are right now are so different. Don’t put yourself in a
situation where people are going to think of you as only one thing.
You’re going to change a lot. It interferes with your growing up if
you’re not strong enough and you’re not sure who you want to be. I’m
glad I’m not a character anymore and able to be me.During the run of Hannah Montana, did you ever fantasies that you had a secret life as an ordinary schoolgirl, like your character Miley Stewart?
were times, for sure, when I thought that – it would be amazing. There
are some artists who get a chance to do that sort of thing – people who
have such a different personality when they go onstage and when they
take time off – and that’s kind of what I’m doing right now. But there
were times during Hannah Montana
when I wanted that, for sure.What sort of things would you have done if you could have had that secret life?
People lose a lot of respect for other human beings when they find out you’re famous, because they’ve never experienced it. I’m
with my boyfriend, for instance, and we’re walking around. We’re sure
that no-one is taking our picture. We are sure of it. No one has
followed us. No is here. And then, a few hours later, it’s life, “Miley
Cyrus Alert.” She was seen with a Liam in public, they were kissing and
hugging, and you’re like, “What the hell? I didn’t see anybody taking
our photograph that day.” I think that’s what I would have enjoyed most –
just being able to be in public and not feel like I’m being watched.
You know, my dad and me, we’re pretty good with fans. We don’t mind
taking pictures if they ask. But when they don’t ask, that’s a whole
different level of weird.The Gypsy Heart Tour
was earlier this year, and you went to cool places in South America and
Australia. When you’re on tour like that, do you have time to be an
I make sure of that. I’ve wanted to go on tour for a while, get back on the road. But
I did this tour mainly because I wanted to travel, I love to travel. I
made it so that we had a show and then two days off, a show and then two
days off. I got to enjoy places a lot.
It was funny [because] some
places were out of control and I couldn’t walk around. But other
countries were really respectful and [people] wanted me to know that
they wanted me to have a good time in their country. There are some
places I’d really like to go back to and see more of, but be a little
more incognito.What are some of the spots that really stuck out from the tour?
in love with Argentina. I would not mind staying there for a while
because I had the best time in Argentina. We went out and just walked
around one night and found some food, but not with a tour guide. Let’s
find what’s fun, let’s meet cool local people. And the hotel we stayed
at, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was so beautiful. Australia
was one of my favorites too. My boyfriend is Australian, so getting to
go there and perform for his family and friends was insane and really
important. It was a really cool bonding experience.You played to huge audiences in Australia – more than 25,000 people in several places.
Even though I’d never been there before, my albums have always been really successful in Australia. It’s
one of the places that my albums kind of blow up, and my singles. It
looks really good when your boyfriend is from there. Its like, “Hey, I
sold this place out.” That makes you feel pretty awesome.You’ve been making movies lately. Tell us about So Undercover and LOL: Laughing Out Loud.
There are things I do for me, and there are things I do for the fans, and So Undercover was something I really wanted to do for the fans. It’s the kind of comedy that they’re used to seeing on my show.
It’s more for the 13-, 14-, 15-, 16-year-old crowd. LOL: Laughing Out Loudis still for the younger kids, but we did it independently and we shot
it with Demi Moore and me. It’s more like real life. It’s a really cool
story about a mom and a daughter, and the girl becoming a teenager and
the mom going through a midlife crisis, and how a lot of things that
they are going through are actually the same. It’s funny how life kind
of works like that.Does Demi Moore make a great mom?
She was an awesome mom. In this movie she was so much like the way she is with her own daughters. She’s so amazing. She’s
been in the industry since she was my age and has gone through a ton of
stuff. She’s taking her time and gone away to raise her kids, and come
back and shown you can still have a real life and be in this industry.
Every day I would learn from her.
Hopefully I can take what she did to the next step.You don’t have any other movies fixed up right now, do you?
in the middle of going back and forth on a couple of films and trying
to figure out what I really want to do. Right now I just want to focus
on the sort of movies that I would rush to go see. There have been a few
films that have been brought to me that have been interesting, but
nothing is definite. I just want a really good game plan right now.
This is when I’m going to work and this is when I’m going to be off,
that sort of thing. Hopefully, by the end of this year I’ll be working
on something.Do you want to do serious drama?
What I watch and the movies I like to do…I’ve
got kind of a weird, dark sense of humor, really dry humor, so I would
love to do more comedies, but not the comedies that people have seen me
in. More kind of dry, that kind of style, independently shot, but also
some laugh-out-loud funny stuff and drama as well.
When you become a
character, you want to make sure that it’s a part you want to open up
and explore for yourself. So I think the next few things…there’s a comedy that I’m working on now and something a little darker.I
have two teenage daughters, about six years apart. Both follow your
career after Hannah Montana. That suggests that you appeal to a broader
base than many think.People have very mixed
opinions on me; I’m a great role model, or I’m completely inappropriate
for anyone under 13 and I am controversial. I don’t know how I became
this. There was this magazine article the other day, showing all the
younger celebrities. I was the Girl Next Door or whatever, and I fell
under the category of Good Girl Gone Bad. And I was like, “What the
hell, man?” I stay in the house pretty much every day. I don’t go out.
I’ve had same boyfriend for two years.
So I think there are two very different reviews.I
think the ones who do look up to me as a role model… I think it’s
because I’m so real. If they tell you that I haven’t tried this or
haven’t experimented with that, they’re lying
. And I’ll never do
that because personally I can’t, because there will be some proof on the
internet. It’s weird…two complete extremes. I’m not some crazy lady
who’s gone off the deep end, because I definitely haven’t. I just always
try to be real. Every 18-year-old explores sexuality and experiments
and tries things. For me there’s no reason to change that. You have to
be true to yourself. [Veteran rocker] Joan Jett has been in my life over the past year and has taught me a lot about that.
got locked down for talking about sexy and drugs or whatever. They were
life, “How dare a woman say that. How dare a girl come out admit those
things,” when every other girl her age was doing the same thing. She
just went on stage and sang about it.My last album, Can’t Be Tamed, was such a statement for women everywhere. The song “Liberty Walk“, I wrote it about abuse and women but put down. I think the last album is what made the older fans follow me.
I am now is very different from who I was when I was 11. I had to grow
up extremely quick. When you live in LA you see a lot. You are exposed
to a lot more than people in other places. That’s just LA, especially in
show business.Is there anything that people don’t know about you that might surprise them?
I think people who meet me, especially if you come into my space where I live – it’s weird describing myself this way – I
think it’s kind of how simple my life is. I’m really driven, obviously,
I’ve always been that way, but my life is just really mellow, and I
like hanging out. I think if they walked into where I live, they’d
realize how the [public] perception of me is so different from who I
really am. My dad is Native American, so I spend 90 percent of my time outside, going on hikes.
That’s my lifestyle right now. The press seems to think that I’m trying
to make this big turn and become a bad girl, and really I’m trying to
be more connected with the Earth, more connected with myself and figure
out who I am, try to understand the world a little more. I’m not doing
this for anyone else but me.
I just had this talk a few nights ago with my mum – just about looking at life in a completely different way. I’ve
obviously been very blessed, but with every blessing there’s a curse.
I’m very content with where my life is right now. People would be
shocked to know that I’m very thankful for what I have, but my career is
not my main priority, it’s not my life anymore. I really just want to
enjoy life and explore nature and become who I am to the fullest. ( Read more...Collapse )source