On Oct. 29, Miley Cyrus appeared on CBS Sunday Morning for their For The Record series, featuring interviews with some of today’s most influential artists. For this episode, Anthony Mason visited the Cyrus family’s farm in Tennessee, discussing the evolution of Cyrus’ career.
In 2013, Cyrus’ image made a drastic shift into a provocative, twerking persona with Billboard 200-topping album Bangerz. That record pushed boundaries while also showing a raw, vulnerable side to her, becoming a bonafide pop star. With songs like “Wrecking Ball,” her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Cyrus combined an emotionally charged breakup ballad with what was at the time her most risqué video, featuring her swinging on a wrecking ball naked.
The video holds more than 900 million views and quickly became iconic — as did the album. “I didn’t realize [Bangerz] was going to shift me into truly being my own person. It changed my life.” She added, “I felt like that divide, that boundary was cleared.” At that time, she also notoriously appeared in the VMAs dressed up as a sexy teddy bear and twerked in a nude-colored outfit on Robin Thicke while he performed his controversial hit “Blurred Lines.”
Cyrus acknowledges to Mason that there was a certain power in her new image: “Everyone in the entire world knew I had dressed up as a teddy bear and danced with Robin Thicke. Everyone talked about it for a really long time.” She adds, “I was just doing what I wanted to do and I wasn’t hurting anybody, so that was the good thing.”
Her dad Billy Ray Cyrus, who is a country icon in his own right, concurs, “Her cornerstone is solid. She knows her heart is good, her mind is good…” With this new, over-the-top, scandalous persona, Cyrus found power in her way of making people feel uncomfortable. She recalls meeting Paul McCartney in 2015 at Joan Jett’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and being the one to reverse roles by making him feel uneasy.
“I went and introduced myself with pasties on and he turned bright red — he looked like, so red,” recalls Cyrus. When Mason asks why she enjoyed that, she responds “I just liked that I freaked out Paul McCartney because I would be freaked out to meet Paul McCartney and then he’d be freaked out to meet me.”
Even after facing scrutiny for her giving-no-fs persona, Cyrus hasn’t let her haters get to her. After recently reading Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened, she feels empowered and inspired by Clinton’s relentless drive and her way of remaining strong amid backlash: “If she can lose an election, I can do this.”
Watch the interview segment below.