Miley Cyrus Details Her “Identity Crisis” Following Hannah Montana

In a new interview with Spotify's Rock This, Miley Cyrus talked about how playing a character for so long on Hannah Montana made it difficult to find her own voice.

By Kaitlin Reilly Mar 05, 2021 7:07 PMTags
Watch: Miley Cyrus Will Always Rock Our World: Live From E! Rewind

It wasn't the best of both worlds after all for Miley Cyrus

In a new interview with Spotify's Rock This with host Allison Hagendorf, the Plastic Hearts artist talked about how her early days of fame on Disney Channel's Hannah Montanain which she played a teen also named Miley who had a secret identity as a superstar—messed with her head. 

"Bangerz was the first record that I made after not being on my TV show for the past 10 years," she explained. "And again, like talk about an identity crisis, like I had gone from being a character almost as often as I was myself. And actually the concept of the show is that when you're this character, when you have this alter ego, you're valuable. 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."

Hannah Montana premiered in 2006, when Miley was just 13. It ended its run in 2011, after releasing a theatrical film and launching a concert, which coupled the second Hannah Montana soundtrack with Miley's debut album, Meet Miley Cyrus

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Of that time in her life, Miley told Rock This that it was "drilled" into her head that without Hannah Montana, "no one cares about you," and that she "really had to break that" in order to grow as an artist. 

Rob Latour/Shutterstock, Byron J Cohen/Disney Channel/Kobal/Shutterstock

The Black Mirror alum also explained that some of her more extreme stunts—such as twerking on Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMAs— were the result of her creating a character around her image, thanks to her Hannah Montana experience. 

"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 shared. "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. Like when I noticed that people gave a shit that I would stick my tongue out. When they told me, stop sticking your f--king tongue out, I would do it more."

This isn't the first time the "We Can't Stop" singer has spoken about how her Hannah Montana days have left a lasting mark. In December, she told Rolling Stone, "I had to evolve because Hannah was larger than life, larger than me. I felt like I was never going to amount to the success of Hannah Montana."

Fortunately for the real-life superstar, that prediction turned out to be very incorrect.