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.