Behind at least one of those smiling bear masks is a young woman who will always remember Miley Cyrus' Video Music Awards performance as something that made her feel "less than human."
The pop singer's racy performance with Robin Thicke stirred up a lot of buzz and raised a number of eyebrows, and now, Hollis Jane—who identifies herself as one of the little people who danced as a bear—has spoken out about the entire experience from a different perspective.
"I had never been in a performance where I was purely meant to be gawked or laughed at. I will never forget that performance because it is what forced me to draw my personal line in the sand," she wrote on her blog.
"After our first dress rehearsal in the costumes with the crew, publicists, performers etc watching us, I walked out of the Barclay Center shaking and crying. Thankfully, my best friends, Kelly and Kerri, happened to be NYC to visit me.
"They were waiting for me and I walked up to them and broke down. I love being the center of attention, but that was something different. I was being stared and laughed at for all of the wrong reasons. I was being looked at as a prop…as something less than human."
The 24-year-old actress continued, "When I did the VMAs, I did feel like that. For the first time I felt truly ashamed of being a little person. We were being used simply because we were little. It felt like society still saw us as a joke, despite the fact there is literally nothing different about me other than the fact I am small."
Jane also mentioned that she got an offer to join Miley on her tour, but turned it down.
"I wondered if it was worth feeling less than human again. And frankly, it wasn't."