Q & A with Miley Cyrus
At age 15, Miley—the daughter of country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus—has already accomplished a lot, skyrocketing to stardom on Hannah Montana. In the show, Miley plays Miley Stewart, who lives a normal teenager's life—until she dons a wig and transforms into rock star Hannah Montana. Miley is a real-life multi-platinum recording artist, as well, selling out tours across the nation.
Not every teenager has enjoyed so much success, so Oprah wants to know—what's it like to be Miley?
"It's fun and it's exciting, and there's a lot of cool perks and things that I get to do, but it's also a lot like normal kids," Miley says. "I still have to do school, and I still make time to hang out with my friends, because that's what's most important."
Billy Ray says he told his daughter to just enjoy being a kid—but Miley had other plans. "She would study from the greatest coaches that she could find. She worked very diligently at it, and she would go to auditions and she would come home and her little heart would be broken. I'd say, 'See, I told you. You don't need this business. This business has a whole lot more pain than there are happy moments,'" Billy Ray says. "[But] for Miley there was no other alternative. She was going to be a great actress, a great singer-songwriter, and she wasn't going to take no for an answer."
To help her learn through her struggles, Billy Ray gave Miley an important piece of advice. "Every time that you fail, you eliminate one way that won't work. Therefore, you're one step closer to the one that will," he says.
Miley's perseverance finally paid off when she landed the part of Hannah Montana. "You have to keep believing in yourself," she says.
Miley says she does have people to help with her look. "I say what I'm comfortable in and what I like and nothing that's too out there," she says. "I like to look kind of like what girls would want to look up to, and their moms and dads will say, 'Hey, that's cool. That's different.'"
Once the makeup comes off, Miley says she looks like a normal girl. "I look way young, and that's the way that's more comfortable for me," she says.
What's your biggest influence in life, for music?
"My dad—he's a big influence not only just because of the music, but growing up around him. I've never seen him treat anyone less than with respect and love for everyone, down to the fans that wait until 3 in the morning until his bus pulls out at 5," Miley says.
Who inspired you to become an actress and a musician?
"Hilary Duff ... because she's someone that I got to watch, and I'm like, 'Hey, she's a normal girl and she's going to do things,'" she says. "I'm sure it wasn't always easy for her, and it's not going to be that way for me either, so I have to keep going. That was someone I could look up to because I thought she was just like me and made it through."
"To be Hannah is crazy. It's a lot harder than to be me," Miley says. "It takes a lot of work, which I couldn't do all the time. It obviously includes a wig, which is hard because you have to take all of this mop and put it underneath this wig. Then there's lots of glitter and lots of cool clothes. It definitely takes some extra hard work to get ready, but it's also really fun."
What's it like being two people?
Miley says it's confusing! But knowing whether she has Hannah's wig on helps. "Sometimes you get really confused and lost when you're in the middle of a scene, knowing kind of what your motivation is and what you want to do and what you want to get out of that scene, and that's hard," she says.
"Ever since I can remember it's been my dream, especially growing up around country music," Miley says. "That's just kind of what I breathe. It's just what I do. It keeps me alive."
What was your favorite episode of Hannah Montana to shoot?
"There's been a couple crazy moments where I got to do crazy things," Miley says. "I've gotten to parasail in a chicken suit. ... And I've had spaghetti dropped on my head!"
"Lime green and purple," Miley says.
When is your birthday?
What is your favorite song?
"My favorite to perform—I'm sure you've seen it, they play it on the [Disney] Channel all the time—is 'Nobody's Perfect.'"
"We're actually neighbors, so we hang out all the time and we go back and forth to each other's houses," Miley says. "Being on tour, it's really weird. She's shooting a movie right now, and not being with her every day is really hard. She's really cool."
Is Emily Osment one of your best friends?
"Yeah, she is. We're really close," she says.
Who's your best friend that's a star?
"All my friends are on the Disney Channel, because they're the only people I get to hang out with all the time," Miley says. "But one of my friends which I miss more than anything on tour is ... Ashley Tisdale. I miss her so much. She's on tour right now, and it's going really [well], and every time that I'm home when I want to go see her, she's working too. So I miss her a lot."
Yes—and Billy Ray had a very special reason for giving her that name. "I had this vision that it was her destiny to bring hope to the world," Billy Ray says. "And as a baby, she just kept smiling all the time. So her name was Destiny Hope, but I started calling her Smiley. Then as you start talking to a baby, you start dropping the S's off the front end, and pretty soon Smiley became Miley."
"I haven't. I've got my top five maybe narrowed down. ... one girl, she made like her entire room wallpaper of pure pictures of me and it's something crazy like 25,000 pieces of me," Miley says. "It's so awesome to get to see this."
Does the intensity of your fans ever make you feel weird?
"Only when my sister is one of those people that have the bedspread, the pictures, all that kind of stuff," she jokes. "That's weird."
Do you ever get annoyed when fans come up to you?
No, she gets nervous! "What am I supposed to say? Oh, my gosh. What do they expect? Do I look the way that they would want me to?" she says. "[Then I think], 'Okay, this is me and what they want to do is meet the real me.' So I think that's really fun. But I do get nervous sometimes."
"I like to play guitar, sing and write music," Miley says. "So practically the same thing that I do when I'm working. But I hang out with my friends and stuff like that. I've been teaching them to play guitar, so I think that's really fun."
What do you like to do most with your family?
"We like swimming the most. We like to go out by the pool and have cookouts and hang outside," Miley says.
Miley says her family only calls these get-togethers cookouts. "We don't really cook. We get takeout," she says.
"I have messed up in a song in a show and it was bad. It was the first concert that I did all the new songs from season two," Miley says. "It was during the song Bigger Than Us, which was an episode of Hannah Montana, and I forgot the words completely and I was standing there like, 'Okay, what do I do?'"
Miley says someone told her if she forgot the words she should lip-synch saying "pink elephant" over and over. "It looks like you know what you're talking about when really you have no idea. So I started saying it," she says. "I keep saying it over and over and my mom said, 'Stop, stop, stop!' So we started over."
"That's really fun because all the crazy stuff we get to do. We get to learn together and we all get really scared when we have to do crazy things, so we work through it together which is cool because we have a cool experience," Miley says.
"I've got lots of those," she says. "I like anything sour. I like the faces that you make when you take something. That's my favorite," she says. "I like peach rings. I love gummy worms. They're my favorite. Anything sour and with the most sugar possible."
What's your favorite cereal?
"I don't really eat cereal," she says. "I like Pop-Tarts. ... S'mores [flavored]."
Ephesians 6:10-11 is Miley's favorite verse: "Finally, my brother, come close to the Lord for if you put on the full armor of God you can stand against the walls of a devil."
Miley says she and her family go to church together, but they're not always on time. "Daddy usually makes us late," she jokes.
"The best part has probably been getting to meet so many different people because I've learned so much from everyone else and I get to meet all these people that I can learn so much from," she says. "I think it's really cool having a relationship with those people."
"Yeah, this is always what I've wanted to do and this has been what I've loved since I was little, so I definitely feel like this is my dream and this is my goal and I'm doing it to the best I can," she says.
As the rest of the family headed off to California, Billy Ray stayed back to tie up some loose ends. "As they drove off, it was that moment of realizing that I was letting go, you know, that my little girl was growing up and there was a lot of change around the corner. And I walked in the house and leaning against the wall there was my old guitar," he says. "For me, music has always been my greatest form of therapy and I just picked up that guitar and this song just came to me, and it's about letting go as a parent."
Watching Miley sing it on The Oprah Show makes Billy Ray emotional. "It was a very surreal moment sitting here," he says. "And to think that we're sitting here watching little Miley sing that song for my dad is a special moment in my life."
See how Miley surprised her biggest fans!
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