Hannah Montana may have been Miley Cyrus’ star-making role but the experience of it wasn’t all rosy.
On Spotify’s Rock This with Allison Hagendorf podcast on Friday, Miley Cyrus revealed that playing Hannah Montana triggered an “identity crisis” for her.
“Talk about an identity crisis,” the Wrecking Ball singer said about the character and the show. “The concept of the show is that when you’re this character, when you have this alter ego, you’re valuable.”
“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.”
Hannah Montana ran for four seasons from 2006 to 2011. It saw Cyrus play the role of a teenager, Miley Stewart, who moonlights as a pop star.
“That was drilled into my head that, without being Hannah Montana, no one cares about you. That was the concept. I really had to break that,” she added.
Cyrus then referenced to her 2013 album Bangerz, describing it as her first real attempt to find her identity outside the Disney show.
“I think that’s maybe why I almost created a characterised version of myself at times,” she further explained. “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**t that I would stick my tongue out, when they told me, ‘Stop sticking your f***ing tongue out,’ I would do it more,” she added.
Miley Cyrus on how Hannah Montana wasn’t just a character
In an interview with Rolling Stone in December 2020, Cyrus said that she “had to evolve” because the character of Hannah Montana was “larger than life.”
“Really, Hannah Montana was not a character,” she added. “The concept of the show, it’s me. I’ve had to really come to terms with that and not be third-person about it.”
She talked about how artists like Lil Nas X and Troye Sivan grew up watching the show and got inspired from Montana. “When my peers are having these experiences and accepting themselves because of something that I demonstrated while they were a kid, that’s when I go, ‘S—, I f—— am Hannah Montana.”