It’s been 10 years since Hannah Montana went off the air — and Miley Cyrus is opening up about being on the Disney series affected her. The 28-year-old confessed that the show, which featured Miley playing a fictionalized version of herself by day and a wig-wearing pop star at night, gave her an “identity crisis” in a new interview on Spotify’s Rock This with Allison Hagendorf podcast.
“The concept of the show is that when you’re this character, when you have this alter ego, you’re valuable. You’ve got millions of fans, you’re the biggest star in the world,” Miley said to host Allison Hagendorf on March 4. “Then the concept was that when I looked like myself, when I didn’t have the wig on anymore, no one cared about me. I wasn’t a star anymore,” she noted. In the series, only a small close-knit group of people close to the Miley character knew about her secret double-life as a musician.
“That was drilled into my head [that], without being Hannah Montana], no one cares about you,” the Plastic Hearts singer went on. “That was the concept. I really had to break that…[I] had gone from being a character almost as often as I was myself.” Miley was just 13 when she was cast as the lead on the Disney Channel show, playing the title character until she was 18. The show also spawned the popular film Hannah Montana: The Movie in 2009, featuring one of the Tennessee native’s earliest hits — “The Climb.”
Shortly after, Miley began releasing her own solo pop songs such as “Party In The U.S.A,” and 2010’s controversial “Can’t Be Tamed.” She shed her good-girl Disney image by the time she released Bangerz, which was her first musical project outside of Disney’s Hollywood Records. On the 2013 album, Miley freely sang about drug use and sex for the first time.
“I think that’s maybe why I almost created a characterized version of myself at times,” Miley said, reflecting back on the album — which included iconic singles like “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can’t Stop.” She added, “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 s— that I would stick my tongue out, when they told me, ‘Stop sticking your f**king tongue out,’ I would do it more,” Miley also said of her past behavior.
Last year, the actress confirmed she would be open to rocking the Hannah wig again — but when the time is right. “You know when something like a good vintage t-shirt, enough time has to go by for it to be good again? It goes through a period where it’s bad because it’s old, but then it’s so old it’s good again. That’s why we have to wait,” Miley reasoned in a Sept. 2020 interview on Capital Breakfast with Roman Kemp. “Hannah [Montana] is like a fine wine. We gotta wait until she’s ready.”