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In 2013,Miley Cyrus wagged her tongue and set tongues wagging. Thanks to a handful of steamy videos,some outrageous wardrobe choices and an erotic comedic performance at the MTV Video Music Awards,Cyrus took the warp-speed path from directionless ex-child star (as the Disney Channels Hannah Montana) to the most directional of pop stars,sliding easily into the role of pops enfant terrible. Her album Bangerz (RCA) for which shell begin touring in February was notable for its risk-taking attitude in a year when her competition played it frustratingly smooth. Excerpts from a recent conversation.
I was struck in your MTV documentary Miley: The Movement by how aware of the VMAs importance you were.
But I didnt know that I was going to be the only one that was really going to push it like that. Its actually really funny how many people could watch my performance,and they think it was,like,sexist and degrading to women,and somehow people found that it was racist,which I couldnt even wrap my mind around. Because Im like: How do I win? If I have white dancers,then Im racist. If I have black girl dancers,then Im racist. We know were not racist,and I know Im not putting down women. People got a rise out of me saying that I was a feminist,but I am.
As people have brought these things up to you over the last year,has it changed your personal thinking about race?
No,I never let that change me. My grandma,who is alive,was living in a time where there was no way that she wouldve ever thought there wouldve been a black president. I mean,never. And my grandmas like,not even 80. I really thought about it a lot when Nelson Mandela passed away,because I couldnt even imagine living this life and seeing how much its changed. So,I look forward to when Im older,my kids being like,What do you mean people ever even talked about what colour your dancers were?
You obviously know that the primary visual imprint of you from the last six months is either the VMAs or your videos.
I went from people just thinking I was,like,a baby to people thinking Im this,like,sex freak that really just pops molly and does lines all day. Its like,Has anyone ever heard of rock n roll? Theres a sex scene in pretty much every single movie,and they go,Well,thats a character. Well,thats a character. I dont really dress as a teddy bear and,like,twerk on Robin Thicke,you know?
Last night,I was talking about some Madonna performances,and I said,At some point,everything becomes irrelevant. Like,no one even thinks about when she did Like a Virgin at the VMAs. That just becomes a standard,where its just like,Oh,thats her thing. So,I feel like now that I did the VMAs,that just kind of became a standard for me,and then anytime I do anything else,theyre like,Miley kept it tame tonight.
How closely do you watch what other pop stars are doing?
I watch everyones music videos,to the point where Im OCD,looking at every single thing theyre wearing and what theyre doing. Before,because I didnt have my own personal self yet,it was hard for me to watch that kind of stuff. I was jealous of what everyone else got to do,because I didnt get to truly be myself yet. But now I realise how much theyre not being themselves either. You dont have to be signed to Disney Channel to be put in a box,or to be rated PG. Im with artists sometimes,and Ill take a picture of them. They make me delete it.