‘Hannah Montana’: Why Miley Cyrus Made ‘A Characterized Version’ of Herself Just Like Miley Stewart

Many teens learn who they are in a school setting. But Miley Cyrus had to grow up in front of the world while being Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. The star experienced her mistakes and growing pains on a global stage. So, she found a way to process it all that worked for her. Cyrus recently revealed that she created a “characterized version” of herself, just like her character Miley Stewart on Hannah Montana.

Miley Cyrus in a blonde wig with her hands on her hips
Miley Cyrus in ‘Hannah Montana’ | Disney Channel/Joel Warren

This was the premise of ‘Hannah Montana’ on Disney Channel

On Hannah Montana, the character Miley Stewart knew she wanted to be a pop star. Her dad, Robby Ray Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus), worked in the music industry as well. Miley, who grew up in the fictional Crowley Corners, Tennessee, decided early on as a tween that she would live a “double life” so she could keep herself grounded while being a celebrity.

The show emphasized that the public was most fascinated with Hannah Montana — which was Miley in a blonde wig and glittery outfits. When she was just Miley, she was a normal girl, unbothered and hidden from the masses. Hannah Montana drove the idea home that “plain” Miley wouldn’t be successful — but a character of her would.

For Cyrus herself, the premise of the show engrained in her at a young age: People like you when you’re a character, and not yourself.

Miley Cyrus had a difficult time after the show

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Cyrus played the character for five years. On Rock This with Allison Hagendorf, in episode 15, Cyrus admitted just how much the premise of the show affected her psyche.

“The concept of the show is that when you’re this character, when you have this alter ego, you’re valuable,” she said. “You’ve got like millions of fans, you’re like the biggest star in the world. And then the concept was that when I looked like myself, when I didn’t have the wig on anymore, that no one cared about me. I wasn’t a star anymore.”

“So that was drilled into my head like, you know, without being Hannah Montana, like no one cares about you,” she reflected. “And that was the concept. And so I really had to break that.”

She created a ‘characterized version’ of herself to cope

To cope with the idea that “no one cared” about her when she was being herself, Cyrus said she mimicked the show’s premise and created her own character of herself — an exaggerated version of reality — for the public.

“I think that’s maybe why I almost created like a characterized version of myself at times, like in the way of being aware of how other people see me is more what I mean,” she revealed.

“I never created a character where it wasn’t me, but I was aware of how people saw me and I kind of played into it a little bit,” Cyrus continued. “Like when I noticed that people gave a sh*t that I would stick my tongue out.”

She added: “When they told me, ‘Stop sticking your f*cking tongue out, I would do it more.”

Cyrus’ latest album, Plastic Hearts, is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.