Miley Cyrus is Growing Up!
Miley’s Moving On…
“They grow up so fast!” is an observation that parents around the world have always made as their teens hurtle toward adulthood.
Chances are it’s also what many of Miley Cyrus’s legions of Singapore fans are thinking as their Hannah Montana heroine sheds her sweetheart image for something a bit more grown up.
As the latest season of the hit Disney series Hannah Montana kicks off, normal high-school teen Miley Stewart — and her pop singing sensation alter ego, Hannah Montana – begin to tackle the rites of passage encountered on the “far side” of the teenage years. In various episodes, Miley gets her driver’s license, discovers that appearance isn’t everything (when she goes out with a really cute guy who’s a lot shorter than her), and faces the unexpected consequences of a thoughtless comment she makes on a TV show. Miley even has to come to grips with the disturbing fact that her best friend may have a crush on her little brother! (Hey…even kid brothers grow up!)
In the real world, Miley has been maturing even faster than her on-screen persona. In early 2008, candid photos taken from her My Space account popped up all over the web, revealing the star dressed in only a wet t-shirt and posing seductively in her underwear. Then on 25 April 2008, the popular US TV program Entertainment Tonight reported that 15-year-old Miley had posed topless in a photo shoot for Vanity Fair magazine. When released, the actual photos showed her bare back exposed, but her front covered with a bedsheet. Not exactly risqué, but racy enough to cause many parents to be outraged.
Oops. Miley Cyrus the Good Girl – and multi-million-dollar Marketing Phenomenon – was in the soup for setting a bad example. Responding to the widespread Internet circulation of the photo and ensuing media frenzy, Miley apologized (with a statement that said: “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.” Result? Her career kept flying high…but the world realized she wasn’t a kid anymore.
A few cynical observers also wondered if the scandal in a teapot hadn’t actually been orchestrated by Miley’s handlers. When the video of the shoot was posted on Vanity Fair’s website, it racked up 1.8 million unique visitors (60 times more than normal) and a record-breaking 17 million page views in a single day. As the saying goes, “even bad publicity is good.”
Miley continued to spread her wings in a less controversial fashion several months later with the release of “Breakout,” her third album and the first with no Hannah Montana connection The album debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 371,000 copies (more than any other female artist in 2008, with the exception of Mariah Carey). On October 17, 2008 it was certified Platinum with more than one million copies sold in the U.S. “I wanted to embrace my older audience a little more, kind of taking shackles off and doing the music I wanted to do,” she said of the disk.
In February 2009, the teen queen found herself in yet another on-line pickle when a snapshot surfaced of her posing with an Asian friend, pulling her eyes sideways. The Organization of Chinese Americans called on the singer-actress to apologize. She did, saying “I have learned a valuable lesson from this and know that sometime my actions can be unintentionally hurtful.”
What’s next? Who knows? The betting is that Miley will come through it all a little bruised and a lot wiser. Just like the rest of us.