independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Miley Cyrus: Good girl gone bad

After a raunchy performance at the VMAs, the former Disney star's transformation is complete

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards

Miley Cyrus and I have always had something of a connection. I started my career in journalism at around the same time her Disney alter ego Hannah Montana was becoming a household name, and as my first job was on a teen magazine Miley soon became an every day part of my professional life.

Born Destiny Hope to 'Achey Breaky Heart' crooner Billy Ray Cyrus and his wife Tish, nicknamed Smiley which soon morphed into Miley, she was super cute and incredibly precocious. I remember interviewing her on the phone when she was 15 years old and thinking she sounded like a seasoned Hollywood veteran far more mature than her years.

Flash forward to 2013 and she's a lascivious, twerking nightmare, all tongue and buttocks and brazen sexuality. Sure, it's become the sad norm in pop music for it to be more about skin than singing voice, but Miley Cyrus isn't Rihanna. Her sexy persona is not innate but forced, and as someone who's watched her evolve (or devolve as the case may be), it feels so unnatural – violently inappropriate, actually.

Lest we forget, Miley was the first massive female tween star, a devotee of the now obsolete purity ring and a good, clean-livin' country girl. The comparisons to Britney Spears are inevitable, especially now Miley is managed by Larry Rudolph too. But Miley was much more squeaky clean and child-friendly than her predecessor ever was.

The actress/singer poses provocatively during a photoshoot with Terry Richardson

Miley's performance at the weekend's MTV Video Music Awards was like watching a train that had been teetering on the tracks for a while finally derail. Miley is a genuine talent with a strong voice and heaps of influence. It saddens me to see her so desperate to fit in to an industry already chockablock with sex-sodden pop stars.

The life of Miley

1992 – Born and raised in Tennessee, Miley's family are part of the Southern Baptist church and devout Christians. The family moved to Hollywood in 2005 so Miley could pursue her burgeoning acting career.

2006 – Disney's Hannah Montana burst on to TV screens, with Cyrus playing both blonde pop star Hannah and her high-school alter-ego Miley. The show was a massive hit, making Cyrus an international superstar and the poster-girl for nice young ladies everywhere. She had an innocent teen romance with fellow Mouse House cohort Nick Jonas and was the darling of mummies and kids alike.

2008 – The first signs of child star rebellion emerge, as Miley releases an album called Breakout with a slightly rockier sound and sexier image. Still, she's synonymous with Hannah Montana, which has by now spawned a 3D concert movie, a narrative film and a world tour with The Jonas Brothers as well as thousands of lunchboxes and pencil cases.

2009 – Releases an LP called Can't Be Tamed and starts dating male model Justin Gaston who is almost five years her senior. The couple are frequently seen attending church with Miley's family. Miley also appears in Vanity Fair at just 16 wearing nothing but a white bedsheet. The photos, taken by Annie Leibovitz, cause uproar and her parents are accused of allowing their daughter to be sexualised too young.

2010 – A 17-year-old Miley meets her future fiancé Liam Hemsworth on the set of her first "grown-up" movie role, romantic drama The Last Song. The couple became engaged in 2012, but their relationship is dogged by rumours of trouble to this day. A couple of movie flops follow before Miley decides to return to music.

2013 – Having chopped off her hair and emerged a shorn, platinum, post-punk version of herself with a Pilates-honed body, Miley gears up to release new album Bangerz with an increasingly controversial campaign. Sleazy photoshoots with the infamous Terry Richardson, more revealing outfits than ever before, and lyrics relating to drug use and partying, culminate in a VMAs performance that's sure to go down in history as a classic example of when a good girl really went bad.

Irish Independent

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