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A Look Into Every Era of Miley Cyrus: Journey from Child Actor to Pop Icon

Pop Culture

August 03, 2023

Miley Cyrus. Whatever I write about her is not enough. She is a force of nature.

She is and forever will be remembered as one of the greatest singers of her time. Her songs are popular and widely appreciated because of the raw and guttural feel to them. The audience can actually feel every single word that she sings deep in their souls. She has pure talent and that is clearly portrayed in her work. She is ever so real with the way she projects herself and the raw talent with which she sings.

Smiley Miley

Her sunny and outgoing personality as a child gave her the nickname of "Smiley Miley", which was later shortened to Miley. She changed her name, Destiny Hope, to Miley Ray Cyrus in January 2008. 'Ray' was added as a tribute to her grandfather, Ronald Ray Cyrus, whom she loved to pieces, and 'Miley' to honour her childhood nickname. She was so heartbroken by the passing away of her grandfather that she wrote a song "I miss you" just to cope with it.

Most of us know her as an extremely powerful and raw singer. But what we fail to remember is that she was an actor first and a singer second. She grew up in the world of show business.

Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, was a country singer and an actor. And she subsequently followed in her father’s footsteps. Her first acting role came when she was around 8 years old. She played alongside her father in the movie Doc. She later went on to play several other roles in movies like Big Fish.

The Hannah Montana Phase

But her big break came a little later in 2005, when she landed the lead role in the Disney series Hannah Montana. This show put her on the map and she became extremely popular among children and teens. She played the role of a teen living a double life as a pop star, which is quite ironic because she was technically one herself.

The show was a smash and hit record, sell-out tours and merchandising deals soon followed. One thing which is not common knowledge is that she had originally auditioned for Lilly - Hannah's best friend, but her audition went so spectacularly that she got the lead role.

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Building up on her role as Hannah, she debuted as a singer in Hannah Montana 2. This marks the end of Hanna’s career. Following her Hannah Montana song debut, her music career flourished abundantly.

Miley Cyrus’s album- Breakout, topped the billboard album chart in 2008. Her song “Party in the U.S.A” was in the Billboard Top Ten for 16 weeks, which is extremely amazing. Alongside this, she continued her acting career by playing roles in movies like Bolt and the adaption of the novel The Last Song. Later on in that year, she released another album that included some very popular hits, like See You Again and 7 Things.

The Rebellion and the Bangerz Era

Due to years of working closely together with her father, she became extremely rebellious. During the 'bangerz' era, she was known for sticking out her tongue, for which she explained the reason to Billboard in 2017 that she was confused as to how to act and sticking her tongue out was an instantaneous reaction.

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"I was so ­embarrassed to be on the red carpet and so many of those f------ disgusting ­photographers would tell me to blow a kiss, and that's not me! I don't want to blow you a kiss. I didn't know what to do with my face, so I stuck my tongue out, and it became a rebellious, punk-rock thing," she added.

As she matured and turned 20, she was unable to connect with her previously written songs and those songs she was singing written by others. This led to her 'bangerz' era. Bangerz was in a completely opposite spectrum to her previous albums.

Those were centred around pop, while it took an adventurous route and was more around hip-hop. Although her songs "We Can't stop", "FU" and "Love Money Party" were hits, the opening track "Adore You" was the song which re-introduced Miley Cyrus with a tender and loving side. The main goal behind banger was to show Miley's fun side with a touch of maturity. Oren Yoel, who co-wrote and produced Bangerz with Miley, was greatly inspired by her and said that while the album embraces excess, it also showed tenderness. It portrayed Miley as a humble person.

​​”What's great about her in general is that she's willing to just put herself out there and to show her true feelings,” he said. “That's real art, and there's not a lot of people that are willing to do that.” - Oren Yoel

In her ongoing musical career, she has collaborated with a lot of sensational singers, such as Ariana Grande, Lana Del Ray, Dua Lipa and Billy Idol. Her music and acting career has been a huge success, with almost all of her songs being greatly appreciated by her fans. She has also written a single "Inspired" for Hillary Clinton during Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

"Thank you, Hillary, for being a constant beacon of strength, hope, and determination for me and millions of other young women," Miley Cyrus expressed her gratitude to Hillary Clinton on an episode of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" in 2017.

Recently, in January 2023, she released a single “Flowers” which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Global 200 and Global 200 Excl, U.S charts. This song also accomplished in beating her most popular single “Wrecking Ball”. Miley Cyrus released flowers after her divorce from her short-term husband Liam Hensworth and it depicts her overcoming his alleged betrayal and becoming a strong and self- assuring individual.

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Like most celebrities in Hollywood, she was also exposed to drugs and was for a very long time completely consumed by them. In her early 20s, she was explicitly seen as using drugs. She has stated in many of her interviews that weed is the best drug ever.

She is known for dabbling in various different types of drugs like weed, salvia and [censored]. But never [censored]. That she believes is an extremely dark and dirty drug. But since then, her relationship with both drugs and alcohol has taken a 360-degree turn.

In one of her interviews she said " haven’t done drugs in years. Honestly, I never try to, again, be a fortune-teller. I try to not be naive. Things f—--- happen. But from sitting here with you right now, I would say it would have to be a cold day in [censored] for me to relapse on drugs."

One of her major reasons behind becoming sober was that she did not want to join the 27 group- celebrities who die due to substance abuse before the age of 27. This was her major motivation to become sober. Although she did have a relapse during the pandemic, she quickly recovered and has been sober ever since.

She also claimed in her interview for Apple Music's New daily news that she loves the feeling of being sober and is moving above her peers' views of what is expected and not. All in all, becoming sober has been very favourable to Miley Cyrus.

"It's really hard because, especially being young, there's that stigma of 'You're no fun,'" she added "It's like, 'Honey, you can call me a lot of things, but I know that I'm fun.' The thing that I love about it is waking up 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. I don't want to wake up feeling groggy. I want to wake up feeling ready."

unpopular facts

1. Myley Cyrus is the founder of The Happy Hippie Foundation. According to their website, their mission is to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.

2. The country legend Dolly Parton is her godmother.

3. She is also an extremely talented visual artist, along with being a singer and an actor.

Miley Cyrus is the perfect example to show that people can evolve over time. She began her career as a Disney actress, faced several obstacles, conquered them and is now an extremely successful singer whose songs resonate in the hearts of millions of people.

Adhya Aggarwal
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Writer since May, 2023 · 3 published articles

Adhya Aggarwal is a senior in High School. She is an artist, a writer, a dreamer, a reader but most of all a learner. She is an extremely curious individual and tries to learn everything from greek and roman mythology to how sea shells are made to the workings of the economic world.