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Miley Cyrus: From Disney Channel Starlet to Pop-Punk Princess

Image Courtesy: Vijat Mohindra

It’s easy to say that Miley Cyrus has been the voice of a generation. From her time as teen pop-sensation Hannah Montana and her unhinged Bangerz era, to her channeling the spirit of The Cranberries’ singer/ vocalist Dolores O’Riordan in cover performances, she has changed 10 times over. With her millions of fans watching and cheering on from the sidelines, she has lived out a decade of constant growth and transformation; something which she has always been met with severe scrutiny for – as all celebrities are.

Drew Barrymore, Macaulay Culkin, Demi Lovato, and Amanda Bynes are past examples of childhood stars who have all been caught in the midst of tabloid scandals and consequently driven to extremes from the pressures of stardom; Cyrus being no exception. With Hollywood children being trapped beneath the public eye throughout their formative years and beyond, they are bound to become the targets of relentless criticisms and are allotted no privacy in their personal lives – resulting in many more unnecessary hardships in their already unordinary lives.

From fashion and relationships to weight fluctuation and drug experimentation, celebrities are constantly a form of clickbait to the media and a controversial conversation to those who follow. For this reason, they are constantly under the pressure of conforming to the images that have been created for them, so as to avoid any implications. Cyrus has discussed the effects of this in past interviews – like the character she played on Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, the actress had always felt the need to have multiple versions of herself and lead a double life. She has since opened up on how it prompted many difficulties for her while growing up.

Gearing down toward the end of her Hannah Montana era, Cyrus began to face much pushback for contradicting the pristine Disney Channel representation that she had upheld for so many years. Between her controversial pole-dancing choreography at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards to her viral 2010 TMZ bong rip video – Cyrus has been met with a large response, especially when having a following as large as she did. But what many people didn’t realize at the time was that she wasn’t out of control with her actions; for the first time in her life, she was the one in control.

Image Courtesy: NBC Insider

Despite paying this price of fame, she has been most revered by supporters for her unwavering authenticity and strength to stay true to herself in the face of twisted media headlines and parental disapproval. This is something she celebrates in her newest single and promotion of self-love, Flowers.

The song has gained much popularity for Cyrus’ clever recycling of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” to tell her own story about (what fans suspect to be) her very public divorce from her ex-husband, Liam Hemsworth, in early 2020. Throughout the number one Billboard Hot 100 song and in its music video, Cyrus supposedly leaves her fans with several easter eggs hinting to the house where Hemsworth has been rumored to have cheated on her with 14 different women during their relationship; one of which is believed to be his Hunger Games co-star Jennifer Lawrence. This rumor has been fueled by the resurfacing of an old interview clip where Lawrence admits to have previously shared an off-screen kiss with Hemsworth. At the film’s 2012 premiere, Lawrence wore a stunning gold Prabal Gurung gown – a piece which fans suspect to have even inspired the gold dress that Cyrus dons in her latest music video, alluding to the possible affair.

Image Courtesy: Vijat Mohindra

She has spoken out previously on shows like the Joe Rogan Experience podcast about how she had been villainized throughout her divorce. In the show, she vents on how the public assumes that there’s no gap in time that remains out of their vision, and that the tabloid headlines they read are completely true and chronological – something which is so clearly not the case. Stories are filtered, edited and cropped in so many different ways to maximize sales, a pattern which has unfortunately followed her throughout her career.

Despite this, time after time, Cyrus has implored her fans to stay true to themselves and not limit themselves to fit into the boundaries or boxes that have been built by those around them. In last year’s release of Attention: Miley Live, she begs her fans to give into their own evolution and not fear going against the grain – because it’s what makes us all unique.

As we count down to the release of “Endless Summer Vacation” on March 10th, it’s important to remember what Cyrus stands for and ask ourselves – what era is she in now and what does she have planned next?


Sofia Ramos is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When she's not surfing Twitter or re-organizing her Spotify for the millionth time, you might catch her chugging coffee and procrastinating at Library West. You can reach her on Instagram, @sofience.


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