Miley Cyrus is done with all those flesh-colored bikinis and clear plastic minidresses … for now. In her cover story for the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the pop star explains why she has a new, more modest look — and it doesn’t mean she regrets her Bangerz days.
“It became something that was expected of me,” she said of the revealing outfits that characterized her look from 2013 to 2015. “I didn’t want to show up to photo shoots and be the girl who would get my tits out and stick out my tongue. In the beginning, it was kind of like saying, ‘F*** you. Girls should be able to have this freedom or whatever.’ But it got to a point where I did feel sexualized.”
Cyrus is careful to say that her current look, characterized by minimal makeup and the flowy florals and soft sweaters she wears in the Harper’s Bazaar spread, isn’t any more the “real Miley” than her 2013 MTV VMA outfit was. It’s just more representative of who she is now.
“I’m not saying I’ve never been myself,” she told the magazine. “Who I was on the last record was really who I am. It’s just myself has been a lot of different people because I change a lot. … People get told that it’s a bad thing to change. Like, people will say, ‘You’ve changed.’ And that’s supposed to be derogatory. But you are supposed to change all the time.”
Cyrus also explained that her more shocking outfits of years past were part of her rebellion against her days as a child star on Hannah Montana. “It should be more shocking that when I was 11 or 12, I was put in full hair and makeup, a wig, and told what to wear by a group of mostly older men.”
Other musicians have protested the system that seems to dictate what women must wear to be famous. For years, Taylor Swift famously refused to wear costumes that showed her belly button, because, as she told Lucky in 2014, “When you start showing your belly button, then you’re really committing to the midriff thing.”
Last year, Camila Cabello said one of the reasons she left Fifth Harmony because she felt “inappropriately sexualized” in the group she’d joined at age 15.
“Especially with being a girl group, there’s been a lot of times where people have tried to sexualize us to just get more attention,” she said on Lena Dunham’s “Women of the Hour” podcast. “There’s definitely been times where there’s stuff that I have not been comfortable with and I’ve had to put my foot down.”
What’s interesting about Cyrus’ transition is her timing. Shortly after she came in like a wrecking ball (ahem) and spoke up about freeing the nipple, other stars and public figures got onboard with the message that people should feel free to show as much skin as they like. Some women protest being censored on Instagram, while others strut the red carpet in nearly nude dresses. The fact that everyone’s doing it has actually turned her off.
“Even at the Met Gala, everyone had their boobs out, everyone had their ass out, so what’s punk about that now?” she asked Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s more punk actually for me to not.”
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