Music / Reviews

A “quick” and unofficial intro to Miley Cyrus written by a totally biased adult fangirl

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Miley hits up the ACC here in Toronto tonight and I have been counting down the days since I bought my ridiculously priced for a poor non-student on a student budget tickets 136 days ago.

If I could pinpoint the moment I decided to attach my fangirl heart to the life of Miley Cyrus, I’d say it was early in university (yes, university) when my best friend and I joked earnestly about how we are a parallel representation of Hannah and Lily, Miley’s and Emily Osment‘s characters on the Disney TV show and Miley’s “claim to fame” Hannah Montana. We were just waiting to get famous.

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Miley and Emily, then and now.

While I’m at it, I must admit, the second cassette I owned (after Tiffany) was Billy Ray Cyrus’s Some Gave All. I used to listen to Achey Breaky Heart on repeat and, when I came across Hannah Montana, I couldn’t turn a blind eye. The daughter of such a talented man? I thought back in 2006… I’m in.

Over the years, I haven’t hidden my support for the woman. I think she makes brave and often groundbreaking decisions given her life experiences and all that she’s publicly learned along the way. She’s also a social media queen. A lot of people have asked me why I like her and I’m happy to finally share it here. Here goes a quick and unofficial intro to Miley Cyrus, written by a totally biased adult fangirl:

  • Born November 23rd, 1992 – a fellow Scorpio – to Tish and Billy Ray down in the lovely state of Tennessee.
  • She was nicknamed Smiley which transformed suitably into Miley, and she eventually changed her name legally from Destiny to Miley at the age of 16.

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  • In 2001, Billy Ray filmed a TV show called Doc in Toronto and the whole fam moved to the city. I heard they lived in the Beaches which is where I first moved in Toronto but totally coincidentally, I swear. Miley went to acting school here, too.
  • Miley landed the lead role of Miley Stewart on Disney’s Hannah Montana in 2006, a show about a pop star trying to live a double life as a regular girl. Her nickname and other great things are present throughout the series and in the show’s movie of the same name – like Billy Ray playing her father. Her brother on the show, Jackson, was played by Jason Earles who is supposed to be about 2 years older than Miley Stewart on the show but is 15 years old in real life.  When he played a 16 year old, he had a wife! I read somewhere he had two kids, too, but I can’t find that anywhere now. Priceless. Dolly Parton, who is Miley’s godmother in real life, played her grandmother on the show. I also must mention that John Cena and an Obama look-alike make guest appearances in later seasons. It’s amazing.
  • Miley became a pop star through her role on the TV show. The Hannah Montana soundtrack has two songs I’d recommend: the single, The Best of Both Worlds, and Who Said, both of which are featured in the movie. She released  a second disc under herself (not Hannah), which featured See You Again. The album went triple-platinum.
  • In 2008, her phone pics got hacked and all these “scantily clad” pics of Miley got leaked to media. She apologized, but I believe only because the media made her feel bad for being human.
  • At this point, Miley is 15, and is photographed by world renowned and incredibly talented photographer Annie Lebowitz for Vanity Fair. The photos stirred a lot of controversy, mainly a minor being photographed naked. The photos are beautiful, but 2008 proved to be a year that Miley proved she’s not a Disney cut-out.

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  • She had a youtube show called The Miley and Mandy show with her bud. It’s silly and awesome. Why it’s important is because it gave her fans the insight into the normalcy of her home life. Here’s an example.
  • Her second album Breakout was also released in 2008. On it, she co-wrote the majority of the songs. This album reminds me of someone who’s trying to find themselves.
  • In 2009 Hannah Montana: The Movie came out and I went to see it at a shoddy theatre in London with my bestie. We snuck booze into our extra-large sodas and sung all the songs to the screen. The theatre was practically empty and that made us sad because we wanted to the world to love Miley like we did. But I digress.
  • In 2009 Hannah Montana: The Movie came out and The Climb brought her to a new level in her musical career. Her audience widened.

  • In 2009, Miley released Time of Our Lives and the single, Party in the USA, brought her a world tour. It was the first album, in my opinion, that actually sounded like a confident and blossoming Miley. She fought to have her voice heard, despite the type of music Disney was hoping/pushing/provoking her to make (she parallels Kate Nash who sounds completely different before and after her label dropped her).

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  • Miley was on the cover of a magazine that photoshopped her legs to look extremely thin. She tweeted, “These are not my legs,” and stirred up awareness about photoshopping women in the media. It was awesome.
  • In 2010, The Last Song was released. It’s a heartwarming film about a rebel teen sent to hang out with her dad (ahem, Greg Kinnear) for the summer. Miley’s character also tries to save the turtles, and who doesn’t love a little animal activism. Most importantly, she met future fiance Liam Hemsworth (now split) on the set.
  • Somewhere in here, Miley begins to adopt dogs and becomes an advocate for doing so.
  • I heard rumours at the time that Billy Ray wanted her to continue her role on Hannah Montana because it also gave him a job. I also recall her tweeting about not speaking to her father over this (and I’m sure other things). I do know she wanted to break the Hannah mold and be herself, free of Disney. She spent time with her mother Tish and brother Trace Cyrus, who is in the band Metro Station.
  • Miley boycots twitter, telling the world via this awesome and homemade youtube rap.

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  • Miley turns 18 and a video surfaces of her hitting a bong. It’s actually a legal substance called salvia, and not pot.
  • Miley turns 19 and a video with herself and Kelly Osbourne surfaced where she said, “You know you’re a stoner when friends make you a Bob Marley cake. You know you smoke way too much fucking weed.” So that happened. Miley admits to smoking pot, and also repeatedly tells the tabloids that she’s not a little girl anymore.
  • Miley tries her hand at acting in a few other films but ventures back to music upon poor commercial and critical review.
  • A cover of her singing Dolly Parton’s Jolene hits the web. It’s amazing. I also think this video gained her a great deal of street cred. in the talent department.

  • Miley gets her hair cut. In a world that preys on visuals, what’s a more drastic way to tell everyone you’re shedding the shell of someone you no longer want or have to be anymore?

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  • Miley has a guest appearance on Two and a Half Men. She kisses Jake. Ew.
  • Twerking becomes a thing after she releases this iPhone video:

  • We Can’t Stop was reportedly written for Rihanna but Miley won the bid, wanting it and doing it well. Using social media, Miley gets over 100 million views in record time. Her sexualized public image in this video and her follow-up single Wrecking Ball gained her a great deal of media attention that she didn’t shy away from. She embraced it, and used to attention to push forward.
  • Controversies around Miley’s new and sexualized image continue to make headlines, especially after her MTV VMAs performance with Robin Thicke and his rape-y song, Blurred Lines. She said this about her performance: “I’m a freak. I want to come out of a teddy bear for Christ’s sake — with a hand — I’m just a freak. I don’t think it’s that I’m smarter than anyone else, it’s not that I think, ‘Oh, you don’t get it.’ It’s just who I am and if I’m gonna perform, I want things around me that I like…If I really wanted to come out and do a raunchy sex show, I wouldn’t have been dressed as a damn bear.”
  • In December 2013, Miley is interviewed by Barbara Walters and reveals, once again, an honest and humble side of the woman who wanted and worked hard to be #1. In the interview, we finally learn why she sticks her tongue out: “I get embarrassed to take pictures. I stick my tongue out because I don’t know what to do.” If you want any video on this page, be it this one:

  • Miley: The Movement Deluxe airs on MTV. In it, she describes her take on what’s happening in her career as a movement: “For me, the movement needs to be something bigger than just a record. For me, a movement is something that represents taking over the world.” She also hosts SNL and receives a great deal of positive reviews.
  • Miley is shot by Marc Jacobs and bares it all for W Magazine, breeding a high fashion side of the singer. Suspectly, this wasn’t as big a deal now that her image has changed. Does this mean she’s been accepted as she is? Finally.

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  • Miley continues to be awesome.

Miley’s twitter and instagram are first hand access to all she wants the world to know. Not only does she continue to speak up about tabloid inaccuracies, but she uses social media as a tool to shape her brand – a brand she fought hard to find, define, and invest in. Through her interaction with social media, she invites fans to become part of the process; to be at her shows, to see her home life, to hang out with her friends. Miley is a grand representation of someone working hard and earning all she’s got. And good for her.

#TEAMMILEY

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