It seems Miley Cyrus has been on everyone's mind lately, as her rapid transformation from a child pop star to a much more provocative and mature solo act takes place before our eyes. On Wednesday, the MTV documentary Miley: the Movement debuted, giving the world a close and personal look at the woman, and making us question how much we really know about her. Here's what we learned.
One of Cyrus’ comments about growing up really stuck with me: "People get a connection. They feel like like they really know you, and get really entitled ... and then [they say], 'She changed.' Well, yeah!"
Her point is a good one. Don’t we all, at some point, go through a transformation? The path from childhood to adulthood is tricky for nearly everyone, between social pressure from peers, media influences, and guidance from parents and teachers. Add the attention of the entire world into the mix and you’ve got a tricky situation. A lot of child stars fade from fame as they grow and later reemerge as a full-fledged adults, but Cyrus is different, because she never really left the spotlight. We’ve been watching her grow up, and to define herself as an adult.
Cyrus is right to address the negative attitudes toward her change. She’s entitled to form her own identity, and the people complaining because she’s not the same probably haven’t considered that celebrities are people, too.
Cyrus spoke about how much her mother means to her, demonstrating her real maturity. She said, "If I win, she wins. Not because she’s my manager, because she’s my mom." We all know that it can be difficult to deal with family, and it must not be easy for Cyrus to be in close proximity to her mother at all times. Cyrus seems to have found a balance: she’s respectful, but maintains her independence.
Cyrus talked briefly about the time she spent living in Philadelphia. She explained that it was a relief to be away from her career for a while: "No one’s bothering me. No one’s talking to me. No one’s taking my picture." It wasn’t somewhere people expected to see her, so she was bothered a lot less, and got to live life as a regular person.
Even though Cyrus appreciates privacy, she is very active on social networks, and even visited Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Cyrus is artfully juggling being a celebrity and being a regular person. She regularly interacts with the media and with her fans, but makes sure to take time for herself.
If there’s one thing we learned from MTV's Video Music Awards (VMAs), it’s that Cyrus is a very different person than the adorable little girl we once knew. The VMAs were the moment when the world realized just how different she’d become. Cyrus made it clear that she doesn't regret her decisions, and that she's dedicated to being true to herself.
Speaking about her performance at the VMAs, Cyrus said, "I am very comfortable with sexuality. I like pushing the boundaries." The quote could easily apply to the rest of her transformation. Her recent hits, "We Can’t Stop" and "Wrecking Ball," both displayed the ways in which she’s changed over the past few years.
Cyrus said that Britney Spears has been powerful influence for her, which makes sense, seeing as Spears topped the charts when Cyrus was growing up. "The way I am about Britney," Cyrus said in the documentary, "That’s the way a lot of people are about me. She was my first record. I was a lot of people’s first album. First idol. I’ll be a diehard fan for Britney, always.”
The similarities between Spears and Cyrus are particularly striking in the documentary's footage of the two talking to one another. The fact that Cyrus has achieved so much by trying to be like her idol is something we can all learn from: with hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of luck, it’s possible to achieve our goals.
Another quote from Cyrus really spelled out her attitude toward all the attention that’s been focused on her lately. In it, she once again put her values and convictions on display: "We’re in 2013. I live in America, the land of the free, and if you can’t express yourself, you're not very free." Cyrus is her own person, and she was well within her rights to transform as she did. And if nothing else, Cyrus has made quite a name for herself.