The re-education of Miley Cyrus

A lot has been said recently about Miley Cyrus.

The shock of seeing Hanna Montana grow up on TV and then doing that performance at this year’s MTV VMAs has got mothers everywhere covering their children’s eyes and late night show hosts rubbing their hands together like they’re at wilderness camp and needing to start a fire in a hurry.

In truth, Miley Cyrus is a brand. And like any brand, there are teams of people in the wings that strategise and plan her branding strategy moves like you would a cellphone or a soft drink. Nothing isn’t carefully calculated and amplified for maximum exposure and revenue.

Up until now the Miley Cyrus brand has been presented as wholesome viewing for the whole family. She was The Huxtables for Generation Z.

But you can’t pause time and Miley Cyrus has outgrown the image of the do-good all-American poster child for the-girl-next-door. As Simon Cowell recently said on the Jay Leno show, she needed to radically break from her childhood image and, to a point, there is no such thing as bad press in Hollywood.

She wants to be controversial, she’s selling controversial and is making lots of money from that decision. Slightly altering her brand image was never going to be an option. If Miley Cyrus was ever going to stay in the glaring spotlight of Hollywood, it would always have needed to be a radical move like this one. It’s a formulae that is working right now. Attention and controversy equals dollars.

This is show business after all. Nobody ever said that the industry and product was glamourous.

Photos courtesy of Terry Richardson’s diary.

  • http://www.jonathanpeel.co.za/ Jonathan Peel

    I really don’t understand all these arguments?

    Is nudity not showing vulnerability, not sexuallity?

    The “sexual” imagery in the video, kissing the hammer, straddling the ball, etc, look (to me) a lot more like it showing how much a person can love or want something or someone, even knowing how destructive it can be in your life. I don’t think it is supposed to be “sexy”.

    This is of course my opinion. I also don’t really have an issue with people being sexy if they want to.

    • cherryflava

      It’s aim is probably not ‘sexiness’, ’cause as you say – that would make it a failure. Terry Richardson [the guy who directed this video] will never be hired by Victoria Secret to shoot their spring collection.

      But what it does do is offer a jolt of shock to the perceptions of a public that have grown accustomed (and perhaps a little bored) of a Disney character that became part of the furniture.
      Safe is risky. And the team behind the Cyrus brand don’t wanna risk anything.

      • http://www.jonathanpeel.co.za/ Jonathan Peel

        I don’t see anything wrong with shock, isn’t that a large part of rock n roll.
        It also might be important for her to use the extreme, to “break out” of the picture people have of her.

        • cherryflava

          Don’t think there is anything wrong with shock at all. Rock ‘n Roll has always been about rebellion. From Elvis to Marilyn Manson – the industry has always sold controversy well.