Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth

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Is Miley Cyrus trying to upstage her boyfriend now that Liam Hemsworth is in a huge movie with The Hunger Games? Why else would she be flashing what may or may not be an engagement ring?
—McKenzi L, via the inbox

Plenty of stars have a long history of manipulating paparazzi when it suits them, only to strong-arm the same photographers as soon as the celebs get cranky.

That said, I'm not sure I buy your theory about Miley Cyrus trying to one-up her box office-hogging bf Liam Hemsworth. Let's run this one through my cynicism machine and see what survives:

First, you speak of two incidents.

The first was a Twitter photo Cyrus posted last week, ostensibly to show off a manicure. Noting that she was "soooo obsessed" with a certain nail foundation, Cyrus also happened to flash what looked like a huge diamond rock on That Very Special Finger.

Then came Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XVVIII, in which the same ring emerged on the same finger, and on a red carpet to boot.

Despite breathless speculation that the 19-year-old Cyrus had promised herself to Hemsworth for future marital relations, the one-time Hannah Montana remained mum over the weekend. Only after the engagement rumors had reached a fever pitch—and the epic debut of The Hunger Games had run its course—did Cyrus bother to issue a denial today.

If it all sounds just a little too timely to be coincidence, you're probably right, says Mark Pasetsky, onetime managing editor of OK! magazine and now the head of the publicity firm Mark Allen & Co.

"She knows exactly what she's doing," Pasetsky tells this B!tch. "Anybody who is this level of a star, who has been in this business for this long, knows how the game works. They know how to extend the moment."

In other words, when Cyrus complained today that "people just wanna find something to talk about," it's likely a red herring; when you're Miley Cyrus, you don't flash a shot of your ring finger like that and expect nothing to happen.

But did jealousy really motivate this slick demonstration of PR flair? Might seem so—if you're in junior high school.

"I suspect she's doing whatever she can to help him out," Pasetsky speculates. "I don't think she's trying to take anything away from him. This actually helps him. It's perfect timing."

Think about it: Hemsworth isn't the main star of The Hunger Games. In fact, if you went to see the movie over the weekend, you know he was barely in it.

And yet...

"Suddenly, we're talking about him" even more, Pasetsky notes. "Mission accomplished."

Mission accomplished indeed.

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