Miley Cyrus has been a lot of things, and she's done a lot of things. We all remember her 2013 VMAs performance with Robin Thicke, in which she twerked at him in a latex two-piece with a foam finger. Before then, we knew her as Hannah Montana, the girl who lived a charmed double life on the self-titled hit Disney TV show.
Today, Miley is leading a more relaxed public life. Since reconnecting with her fiancé Liam Hemsworth, she's softening her boisterous image. She's now opting for a more mature vibe that reflects her growth (and perhaps doesn't alienate so many fans). In the meantime, she's come to terms with her recent past as a poster party girl. She tells MTV in an interview, "I can be proud of all the Mileys I've ever been, instead of trying to run away from the 11 year old [Hannah Montana image]." She's "stoked" to have experienced that part of her life. Her new single "Younger Now" reflects her thought processes as she's aged, and she quoted the lyrics, "No one stays the same/You know what goes up must come down/Change is a thing you can count on/I feel so much younger now."
To many outside observers, it seemed like Miley was intentionally sensationalizing her image in order to shed her Hannah Montana image. She donned fake dreadlocks (a questionable style choice for a white woman) and embraced marijuana (though she's since given up the devil's lettuce). And while I applaud her choice to be as loud and as visible as she wanted, I'm torn between her aesthetic decisions that veered into cultural ignorance. She should not be let off the hook simply because she's trying to move away from her former image.
That said, I am happy to see her settle into this new stage as a happy woman who embraces her past. Growing up changes us so drastically, but the core of who we are will never change. Part of life is being able to accept that core in spite of our flaws, and this journey can take a long time. Miley affirmed that she's "okay with who [she] used to be" and this makes me look forward to seeing more of her growth.
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