5 Ways Miley Cyrus Embodies Courage-SliderPhoto

5 Ways Miley Cyrus Embodies Courage-MainPhoto

Miley Cyrus is a hot topic right now, weeks after her controversial performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. But say what you will about the former tween sweetheart turned wild child—she’s shown courage and savvy in her career choices and in how she manages her image. Here are just a few examples, many from long before she twerked her way into the headlines.

  • When she was 11 she was turned down for the Hannah Montana lead role, because she was “too young and too small.” She did not give up and landed the lead. The rest is history.

  • In 2006, when suggestive photos of a 15-year-old Cyrus were leaked on the internet, she was realistic and unapologetic (and some might say, predicting her future) when she said: “I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect.”

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  • Early in her career, she began lending her personage and voice to a long list of charitable causes, including cancer research and training programs, environmental causes and Haitian earthquake relief efforts.

  • Her 2009 hit single, “Party in the USA” cemented her popularity within the gay community. To show her solidarity with the LGBT community, she even has a tattoo on her finger with the equal rights for gays symbol.

  • By her late teens, an increasingly bold and independent Cyrus started taking charge of her own career, and stepping free of the shadow of her famous dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, and her squeaky clean Hannah Montana image.

  • In 2012 she changed her signature long hair to a pixie cut and debuted a much more sexualized, provocative image. In an interview with the Daily Mail (UK), she said of her decision: “I’m trying to break out of that long hair, big boobs stereotype that women feel they have to conform to. I mean, we’re not living in the freakin’ 1950s—short hair is OK. In a normal job you have to live by someone else’s rules, but I’m in a job where my work is play and I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not.”

Her scandalous performance at the VMAs was just another example of the artist taking charge of her image. As she told the Today Show afterwards, the performance with Robin Thicke went “exactly as planned—it’s a month later and we’re still talking about it.”