The evolution of Miley Cyrus from the clean-cut Disney character she played years ago to the racy and provocative pop star she is today is a much-discussed phenomenon. And it's nearly impossible to avoid a conversation of that nature when someone says they miss the "old Miley" or that she was "so good" back in those days. Well, the 22-year-old has made a reveal in a new Marie Claire interview that might make people rethink that opinion. Miley Cyrus says Hannah Montana wasn't always the most positive experience for her as a young girl and may have given her "some body dysmorphia."
She told the magazine,
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." 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 f*cking flippers.
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, and then when I wasn't on that show, it was like, Who the f*ck am I?
First and foremost, I applaud Cyrus for speaking out about this possible side effect of the show. Body dysmorphia — defined by the Mayo Clinic as "a type of chronic mental illness in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined" — is no small issue. The singer speaking out about this may bring awareness or support to others who are struggling with similar body image problems.
On top of that, as it pertains to Cyrus specifically, this reveal really turns the tables on anyone who laments the loss of the image she had while on Hannah Montana. Cyrus' character on the show — an ordinary teen girl by day, secret international pop star by night — is just that, a character. While it may be easy for kids and parents alike to associate the actor playing the character with the character, it is important that a distinction between the two be made. We already hold celebrities to the highest standards possible, so do we really need to hold them to a standard that is literally fictional?
Also, it is important to remember, as Cyrus points out, she was a kid herself when first starting out on the show. That means from an early age she learned to pretend to be someone she wasn't for the sake of a show — appearance included. All of the people who miss Cyrus' "good role model" image, may not be missing Cyrus at all, but rather Hannah Montana.
There are a variety of opinions on whether Cyrus constitutes a "good role model" nowadays. Some write her off due to her ridiculous outfits and provocative dance moves. Others think she is awesome for finally being herself. Others think she isn't a positive role model because of accusations of her cultural misappropriation of black culture. And others think she is due to her activism in the LGBT community and her advocacy for homeless youth.
Regardless of whether you think she is a "good role model" today, whatever that may mean to you, it is worth keeping in mind that the "person she was before" definitely was not all it was cracked up to be. Because it wasn't even her in the first place.