Miley Cyrus Says Taking Back Her “Topless” Pic Apology Is What Makes Her A Role Model

by Parry Ernsberger

Sorry, not sorry! After revoking her apology for posing topless at 15, Miley Cyrus explained why she took back her "nude" pic apology for the Vanity Fair photoshoot that caused a pop culture controversy. And the reasons she's no longer sorry showed so much maturity.

On April 30, Cyrus appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and was asked by Kimmel about a now-viral tweet she'd sent out the day before. The tweet was of a New York Post cover from a decade ago, and the headline read, "Miley's Shame: TV's 'Hannah [Montana]' apologizes for near-nude pic."

That headline — from April 29, 2008 — was in reference to a photoshoot she did that year with Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair, and in honor of its 10-year anniversary, Cyrus decided to take back her apology. "IM NOT SORRY, F*Ck YOU #10years ago," she tweeted alongside the old Post cover.

Kimmel had printed out a screen-grab of Cyrus' tweet for the interview, and asked the singer if she'd kept a copy of the "Miley's Shame" Post issue after all these years. "No, I found this [online]," she said. "I don't really keep track of the years that have gone by since something like this."

After realizing that it had been exactly 10 years, though, Cyrus explained,

"I think a lot of things have changed, and I think the conversation has changed a lot. And something I really thought about was — sure, some people thought I did something wrong in their eyes — but, I think it was really wrong of someone [to write] that this is my shame, and that I should be ashamed of myself."

The crowd on Kimmel applauded her response, and Cyrus reiterated her statement. "That's not a nice thing to tell someone, that they should be ashamed of themselves," she said.

"No, it's not," Kimmel agreed. "At that time, did you apologize for doing [the photoshoot]?" he asked. "I think I did, but I'm sure someone told me to," Cyrus said, "but, you know what? That's why I don't do what people tell me to anymore, because that idea sucked."

After letting even more applause from the crowd die down, Kimmel asked Cyrus if she recalled who made her apologize at the time. "I think at that time I just wanted this to go away," the singer said. "And I think I also was trying to balance and understand what being a role model is. And to me, I think being a role model has been my free spirited-ness, and sometimes my unapologetic attitude for decisions that I feel comfortable with."

Cyrus also told Kimmel that she never felt sexualized while on the set of the 2008 photoshoot, and that her younger sister had been there watching. "It was everyone else's poisonous thoughts and minds that turned it into something it wasn't meant to be," she said. "So, actually, I shouldn't be ashamed, they should be."

When the controversial photos came out in 2008, Cyrus was 15 — she was still starring on Hannah Montana, and Vanity Fair had christened her, "the biggest child star since Shirley Temple, give or take a couple of Macaulay Culkin movies, or an Olsen twin." She'd yet to carve herself a path outside of her Disney Channel fame, but she was on the brink of doing so.

In the '08 interview, Vanity Fair asked the young star if she was "anxious" about the shot — the one that critics called "topless." Cyrus responded, "No, I mean I had a big blanket on. And I thought, 'This looks pretty, and really natural. I think it’s really artsy.'"

After the media caused an uproar over the Leibowitz photos, Cyrus did issue an apology to her fans, but it'd end up being one of the last times she'd do what she was told. Now, at 25, Cyrus does what she wants, and she is who she is — and she definitely deserves it.