The Evolution of Miley Cyrus and Why It Matters

As unpopular as some of her actions may have been over the years, there’s a lot to learn from Miley Cyrus.
November 11, 2017
9 mins read

For many, adolescence came with confusing feelings, trends some hope to be forgotten and one of the most uncomfortable moments in life for most people. Imagine having your childhood and your journey into adulthood broadcast for all of the world to see. Well, that’s exactly what it was like for Miley Cyrus.

Starting at a very young age, Miley starred on the Disney channel’s “Hannah Montana,” playing a girl who lived a dual life as a normal teenager by day and a pop singing sensation by night. Millennials grew up watching Miley on television, wishing that they could live her life for just one day. Miley changed as she got older, just as any normal person does, and the public’s view began to shift.

Growing up is hard enough, so when you add in the limelight factor, things are bound to get to a person, which seems to be the case for this pop celebrity. Although there are certain aspects of her life that many have scrutinized, I think there are also some important lessons to be learned from Miley’s evolution.

It Takes Time to Find Yourself

When first starting her career at Disney, Miley seemed as if she had been molded to fit with their standard. Just as many people do, she grew up and realized that the life Disney created for her was not who she was or who she wanted to be. So, as almost everyone has done at some point in their life, Miley began to reinvent herself, entering the “Can’t Be Tamed” era just after the series finale of “Hannah Montana” happened. Afterward came the infamous “Wrecking Ball” and “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz” eras, which Miley has most been scrutinized for.

Finding yourself isn’t something that happens overnight. There are many aspects that make a person who they are. It takes time to figure out what each of those qualities are and how to put them all together to create the most authentic version of yourself. Miley teaches millennials that it’s okay to experiment and test out different traits before figuring out what makes you who you are.

Embrace each awkward stage and try not to regret anything, because when finding out what doesn’t work for them, a person is one step closer to figuring out what it is that makes them unique. Even in college, many are still finding themselves, and that’s completely alright. There is no time limit on when you become the person that you are meant to be.

Never Forget Where You Come From

Being the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus and the goddaughter of Dolly Parton puts Miley in a position that can arguably be considered country music royalty. Even when she was the pop singing sensation Hannah Montana, Miley never lost sight of her country roots.

Though Miley began experimenting with other genres as she got older, she never forgot where she came from. Whether through giving her own rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” at almost every concert she has or dressing like a retro 1960s cowgirl for her “Younger Now” music video, Miley takes a little bit of Nashville everywhere she goes.

While in college, it can be hard to take a minute and remember where you come from amid all your responsibilities. I know for me at least, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the privileges and opportunities I was given growing up. So, how do you remember where you came from in college? It’s as simple as calling your parents occasionally and thanking them for everything they have done for you.

Whenever I get stressed, I connect with my roots by putting on one of my favorite childhood movies. Memories last forever and it’s important to take those memories wherever you go, just as Miley does anytime she performs a country song or embraces her country roots.

Take Ownership of Your Actions

Miley’s most recent musical period, the “Younger Now” era, is one in which she really reclaims her identity and takes full ownership of her past actions. In a recent interview with NPR, Miley opened up about her past and said that she isn’t afraid of the person who she used to be. A lot of the things that Miley did during the “Wrecking Ball” and “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz” era have been scrutinized by the entire world and put on display for all to see.

In recent months, Miley has acknowledged and taken ownership over many of these actions. One of the most prominent decisions she has made is taking ownership of her past issues with drugs and alcohol and sharing her journey to sobriety with the rest of the country. In an interview with Billboard Magazine in May, she opened up about why she decided to get sober, mentioning that it is important for her to surround herself with the people that make her a better person and that the community that she was a part of during her drug usage just wasn’t doing that for her.

As a college student, I know that I personally make a lot of mistakes. I choose to go hang out with friends rather than doing homework, I occasionally lie about doing my reading for class and I leave work until the last minute. It’s an incredibly admirable trait to be able to take ownership of those mistakes and that is a lesson that the entire millennial generation, as well as older generation, should take from Miley’s book.

It’s like Hannah Montana used to say, “Everybody makes mistakes,” but it’s what you do with those mistakes and how you learn from them that helps you reach your fullest potential. Past mistakes make a person who they are and not taking ownership of those mistakes means that you are losing a little bit of yourself along the way.

Just like everyone else in this world, Miley still has a lot to learn on the way to becoming the person that she wants to be. Her past actions may not be perfect, but they have gone into helping her become the person that she is today. Her ability to use these past mistakes to fuel a brighter future is something that I think everyone can learn from and implement in their own lives.

Eliana DuBosar, Florida State University

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Eliana DuBosar

Florida State University
Editing, Writing and Media

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