Miley Cyrus is naked on the cover of Rolling Stone, but you shouldn't waste your energy focusing on that image because the content of the accompanying profile is far more interesting.
Rolling Stone's Josh Eels spent a significant amount of time with the polarizing pop star as she got "Rolling Stone" tattooed on the bottom of her feet, went out for sushi, and jumped out of a plane. But, really, the most compelling portions of the feature focus on Miley's transition from Hannah Montana to the young woman who twerked all over MTV and America back in August.
She talks about her performance and how it's helped her bond with another polarizing musician, Kanye West.
Miley admits that before the telecast, she was feeling a little nervous. But then she got a visit in her dressing room that made her feel better. Kanye West had seen her rehearsals and wanted to talk to her before she went onstage. "He came in and goes, 'There are not a lot of artists I believe in more than you right now,'" she recalls. "The whole room went quiet. I was like, 'Yo – can you say that again?!'" She laughs. "I just kept repeating that over and over in my mind, and it made me not nervous."
After the show, Miley and Kanye met up at a Manhattan recording studio to work on a remix for his song "Black Skinhead." The next day he sent a text: "He said, 'I still can't quit thinking about your performance,'" Miley says. She also happened to mention that a pair of fur Céline slippers she'd bought were falling apart, and Kanye bought her five more pairs. "Kanye is the sh**," she says. "I kind of have a good relationship with him now. It's good to have someone you can call and be like, 'Yo, do you think I should wear this?' 'Do you think I should go in the studio with this guy?' 'Do you think this is cool?' That's what homies are supposed to do."
As far as the performance is concerned, Miley's not googling herself or paying much mind to the critics, but does resent the fact that she's been called racist.
If there's one thing that bothered her about the fallout, it was the idea that her performance was racist, or a "minstrel show," because, critics argued, she appropriated a dance style common in black culture and used black backup dancers like props. "I don't keep my producers or dancers around 'cause it makes me look cool," she says. "Those aren't my 'accessories.' They're my homies." Meanwhile, she argues, the idea that she's somehow playing black is absurd. "I'm from one of the wealthiest counties in America," she says. "I know what I am. But I also know what I like to listen to. Look at any 20-year-old white girl right now – that's what they're listening to at the club. It's 2013. The gays are getting married, we're all collaborating. I would never think about the color of my dancers, like, 'Ooh, that might be controversial.' What do you mean?" she says with a laugh. "Times are changing. I think there's a generation or two left, and then it's gonna be a whole new world."
*Insert Aladdin joke here*
Miley goes on to explain that she grew up a lot during her summer in Detroit filming LOL with Demi Moore, but that it was really last summer in Philly that shaped the new-and-improved(?) Miley Cyrus that breaks the Internet every time she leaves her house.
But it was last summer, in Philadelphia, where she really found her new style. She was living there with Hemsworth, who was filming a movie with Harrison Ford. "Best summer ever," Miley says.
"Have you ever been to South Street in Philly? That's where I got my first chain. Sixteen bucks – not real," she says, laughing. "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***ing Ford Explorer around. Just blending in."
The entire profile is worth 15 minutes of your time. She talks about kind of mentoring Justin Bieber and warning him not to become Vanilla Ice. She talks about how she spent so much time around adults and handlers as a kid that she just blew her life up and wanted to spend time with people her own age. She talks about collecting the bras and panties that women threw at her father while he was performing at concerts. She talks about how Steve Carell looks at her with disappointing sighs and crossed arms. She makes a bunch of Breaking Bad references because she's just like us, you guys!
Love her. Hate her. At least dive into the feature and get yourself some entertainment this afternoon. [Rolling Stone]