Miley Cyrus is working to bring some light to her fans during the dark times of the coronavirus outbreak with a Monday to Friday Instagram live stream called “Bright Minded.” But in Tuesday’s episode, where she chatted with fellow child-star Demi Lovato, Cyrus revisited darker times in her career while opening up about struggling with body image issues.
“I basically went through two or three years where I wouldn’t wear shorts. I stopped wearing skirts on stage, all this s***, because after the VMAs and I had on my cute new bodysuit, everyone started comparing me to a turkey,” Cyrus explained. “I was like just so skinny and so pasty and they kept putting me next to this turkey, and I was feeling so bad about myself that I did not wear a bikini for like two years.”
Cyrus’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013 became one of her best-known as she sang and danced in a fuzzy bodysuit and a set of latex underwear alongside Robin Thicke. At the time, she seemed carefree, but she admitted that the response was hurtful.
“No one thought that that would’ve ever made me feel some type of way,” Cyrus said of the memes created to mock her. “It was just really really hurtful to be so body-shamed like that. And it really affected me in my personal life.”
Aside from playing a role in determining what she was comfortable wearing, Cyrus said that the negativity also left her conflicted about who she really was versus who she was portraying for her fans and the media.
“What was so hard about it was my brand has always been about being so unapologetically myself and being confident, and the worst thing that I would feel like I would be to my fans would be lying or a fraud,” Cyrus shared. “I felt like having this persona of being the most confident girl on the planet was actually kind of fraud because I was so insecure on the inside that in my personal life I wasn’t even wearing bathing suits and shorts. And when I was wearing like my little leotards and things, I had on f***ing four pairs of tights because I was so insecure.”
Lovato, who has long been open about struggling with body image issues and eating disorders, said that wearing multiple pairs of tights was something she did too. Both women agreed that the shame they felt from the industry itself is what brought them to do “bigger” things.
“I kind of made a vow to myself that when I get older I just wanna represent what I didn’t have, and I want to be that for somebody,” Lovato said, noting the lack of role models she had while being young in Hollywood. “I’ve talked about my struggles with food and stuff, and yeah, I’m glad that I did because it’s brought me and my fans closer. It, I feel like, helped young people learn to accept their bodies when it starts to change.”
Cyrus said that her experience was the catalyst for The Happy Hippie Foundation, which she founded in 2014. “I just needed something bigger than this industry because it just made me feel so bad about myself,” she said. “That was just such a wakeup call to me on wanting to use my platform for a bigger purpose.”
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