Without a doubt, one of pop culture's most dramatic transformations is that of Miley Cyrus. The pop superstar, who turns 21 in November, has been hell-bent on a journey to "growing up" – one that may seem on extreme fast-forward, but as she reveals in a cover story for Rolling Stone, has been brewing for a while.
As Cyrus explains, she really began feeling her "vibe" a full three years ago, while filming the movie LOL in Detroit. "Detroit's where I felt like I really grew up," she notes. "It was only for a summer, but that's where I started going to clubs, where I got my first tattoo. Well, not my first tattoo, but my first without my mom's consent.
Cyrus doesn't expound on which of her numerous tattoos her mother did condone, but apparently this one was bad enough to hide: "I lied to the guy and told him I was 18. I got a heart on my finger and wore a Band-Aid for two months so my mom wouldn't find out."
That was just the beginning of Cyrusgate, as some of her fans who still revere her as the innocent Disney star would agree. Cyrus claims that the real transformation took place last summer, during a stint in Philadelphia with then-fiance Liam Hemsworth: "Have you ever been to South Street in Philly? That's where I got my first chain. Sixteen bucks – not real," she tells RS. "I was away from people for a minute, and I just started feeling my own vibe. I bought a pair of Doc Martens. I shaved my head. Driving a f***king Ford Explorer around. Just blending in."
Given some of the other revelations in Cyrus's interview, It doesn't come as a big surprise that the star would eventually take a crooked path. She explains that as a child, one of her "jobs" was to go onstage after her country-superstar father Billy Ray Cyrus's concerts, and collect all the bras tossed by adoring female fans. "I'd get a really big one and be like, 'Dad! I found your biggest fan!'" she related. (By the way, she scored a whopping $10 for this particular chore.)
The fun didn't end there. Cyrus was sent to a private evangelical school, where she promptly got kicked out – and Miley being Miley, it was for creative reason. (She's not exactly sure, but it was either for stealing her teacher's motorized scooter or explaining to her classmates how to french kiss.) From there, she rebelled in yet another way out of the average-kid realm: She auditioned for "Hannah Montana" against her dad's wishes. From that point, of course, it was all history.
These days, the pop star has a good relationship with her parents, lives down the street from them, and sees them both weekly. Her connection with Billy Ray, which has been famously strained at times, is much better – perhaps due to some shared recreational interests. "I never knew my dad smoked weed," she noted to RS.
One thing that does ring universal in Cyrus's decidedly arcane world: Her mother's love, no matter how crazy her daughter behaves. Tish Cyrus, who dreamed of being a performer herself, often travels with the pop star.
Oh yeah, and still makes her cringe at times: "When we were getting ready for the VMAs, I was about to put on my teddy-bear costume and she's like, 'Sweet girl, do you need to potty before you put your costume on?'" the all-grown-up Cyrus gripes.
"I'm like, 'Mom! Kanye is standing right here!'"