I’m in my mid-twenties, so Hanna Montana is a little after my time, but I do know it’s about an international teen pop superstar living a double life. That story started becoming a little too true for Miley Cyrus, star of the hit Disney show.
As you learn from many celebrities, all that glitters isn’t always gold. Miley told Marie Claire magazine about the beauty standards set for her as a teen idol, and how little power she had over her look.
“From the time I was 11, it was, ‘You’re a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing,'” Miley says. “Meanwhile, I’m this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup. It was like Toddlers & Tiaras. I had fucking flippers.”
Miley also talked about the long hours she had to work on the set. She said people were bringing her coffee all day, so she’d say awake and she started experiencing seasonal affective disorder. Even as a teen, Miley was expected to keep it going, even when she got her first period while filming in white pants.
“It was so embarrassing, but I couldn’t leave,” she says. “And I was crying, begging my mom, ‘You’re going to have to put the tampon in. I have to be on set.'”
Although it seemed the Hanna Montana character never experienced identity issues, that wasn’t the case for Miley. After the show, she struggled with body-image issues, still following some of the beauty standards she learned on the show.
“I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show. I was made to look like someone that I wasn’t, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long,” she says, “and then when I wasn’t on that show, it was like, ‘Who the fuck am I?'”
Now, it seems she’s learned, who she really is and embraces it. From shedding a light on what it means to be genderqueer, how she uses feminism to break down double standards and helping homeless LGBT youth with her Happy Hippie Foundation, the real Miley is helping to change the world. While she’s still doing those quintessential celebrity things, like being the beauty spokesperson, it’s now on her own terms.
“I’m probably never going to be the face of a traditional beauty company unless they want a weed-smoking, liberal-ass freak,” she told Marie Claire. “But my dream was never to sell lip gloss. My dream is to save the world.”
You can read more about Miley in the September issue of Marie Claire, which hits newsstands on Aug. 18.