ELLE UK celebrates its 30th anniversary with our boldest issue yet; covering the end of gender, fluid sexuality, and the trans revolution.
And who better to be the face of such a daring new issue than Miley Cyrus – pop star, provocateur, LGBT activist (and the sure to be controversial host of this weekend’s VMAs).
In the issue Miley, 22, talks about her role as a gender activist and a politically engaged young woman, on a mission to make the world more tolerant, and gender and sexual identities less fixed.
Miley discusses why she decided to use her power, and popularity, to do something important by setting up her charity The Happy Hippie Foundation. ‘I was kind of embarrassed that I got paid money to shake my ass in a teddy bear costume,’ she says, ‘I should not be worth the amount I am while people live on the streets.’
As a provocateur she’s acutely aware of how to command attention to get her voice heard, ‘If you get your tits out, and they are all looking, then you can use that space to say something and get them to listen,’ she continues later.
She then goes on to discuss her opinions on gender, and relationships saying, ‘I’m very open about it – I’m pansexual. But I’m not in a relationship. I’m 22, I’m going on dates, but I change my style every two weeks, let alone who I’m with.’
Read the fascinating interview in full in this month’s issue of ELLE Magazine.
The cover is shot by Matt Irwin and styled by Alison Edmond Miley wears a white Emporio Armani suit.
A homemade “good vibes only” banner provides a cheery welcome when entering Miley Cyrus’ recording studio, a cozy space adjacent to her home in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, furnished with an inviting couch, cluttered work desk, and hanging light fixtures that resemble clouds. The coffee table boasts photo books, an ashtray, doodle pads, a bottle of Cîroc, stickers, Polaroids, a sculpture of a brain. Her microphone is wrapped in rainbow tape. A blow-up plastic alien doll leans in the corner.
Cyrus, 22, is proud of her unpretentious, low-tech studio. A country girl at heart, she is not a big believer in conspicuous consumption or unnecessary excess—at least not outside the emotional or theatrical realm. “These big fucking studios other people put in?” she says of some of her colleagues. “You don’t need that stuff. All you need is a microphone and a computer.”
She feels the same pull toward simplicity in the house she is remodeling a short drive away, where she’ll have acreage for the rescue horses she plans to add to her menagerie, which includes four dogs, a pair of cats, and her pig, Pig. “My contractors keep trying to sell me all this shit, and I’m like, I’m not going to build a fucking house that’s got an outdoor shower,” Cyrus says, as she walks from her studio to her main house. “I don’t need fancy floors my dogs will ruin.”
Cyrus, who says her taste runs toward the “janky,” is pointedly not about the Benjamins. “People in this industry think, I just gotta keep getting more money, and I’m like, What are you getting more money for? You probably couldn’t even spend it all in this lifetime. People get more famous, so that they can make their brand more famous, so that they can sell more shit, so that they can make more money. It’s a never-ending cycle. Getting more money, having more hits, being the lead in the movie—those things might stimulate you, but they don’t make you happy. I’ve experienced it all already, and I’m telling you firsthand, it doesn’t.”
As she opens her front door, Cyrus’ dogs circle around her ankles, barking excitedly. Like her studio, her home is hospitable and unaffected—there is nothing to suggest global superstar celebrity. There is, however, a 5-foot-tall embellished bong and a dildo covered in pink and red puffballs, art projects of Cyrus, though, she emphasizes, “The bong works.”
To read the rest of Cyrus’ candid cover interview, pick up the September issue of Marie Claire on newsstands August 18. Here, a few highlights:
On Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video: “I don’t get the violence revenge thing. That’s supposed to be a good example? And I’m a bad role model because I’m running around with my titties out? I’m not sure how titties are worse than guns.”
On the reason she created the Happy Hippie Foundation: ”A lot of us are born into some shit, you know what I mean? Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about my being gender-fluid and gender-neutral. And some people snarl at that. They want to judge me. People need more conventional role models, I guess. But I just don’t care to be that person.”
On sexism and her sexuality: “There is so much sexism, ageism, you name it. Kendrick Lamar sings about LSD and he’s cool. I do it and I’m a druggie whore.”
On being herself: “I don’t really stress too much about being out there. There’s nothing left to catch me doing. You want to hack my e-mail so you can find my nude pictures? I’ll just fucking put them up.”
On her body: “I feel like a 15-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 22-year-old girl.”
Crowded House frontman Neil Finn has given his stamp of approval to Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande’s new cover of his band’s 1986 classic “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”
The pair’s video, which features them performing while clad in footie pajamas, hit the Web yesterday. It’s part of Cyrus’ “Backyard Sessions” to raise awareness for her Happy Hippie Foundation, which aids homeless and LGBT youth.
Cyrus recently surprised fans by covering Dido’s “No Freedom” on her own and the Replacements’ “Androgynous” with help from Joan Jett and Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace.
“What a life that song has had,” Finn tells Billboard exclusively of “Dream.” “I’m happy to see them enjoying it so much and hope it inspires some donations to a good cause.”
“Don’t Dream It’s Over” is arguably the best-known song in the catalog of Crowded House, who rose to fame in the 1980s from the ashes of seminal New Zealand rockers Split Enz. “Dream” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1987 and has since been covered by everyone from Sixpence None The Richer and Susan Boyle to Faith No More and Diana Krall.
Crowded House split in 1996 but reunited a decade later, and has since released two studio albums and toured extensively. Finn tells Billboard he is writing songs for a new album, performing rare solo shows in Melbourne and Sydney later this month and has just produced an album for young New Zealand artist Jesse Sheehan. What’s more, “I’m studying volcanoes in my spare time,” he says.
MIKE WILL MADE-IT IS HIP-HOP’S NUMBER-ONE PRODUCER AND ALSO ONE OF ITS YOUNGEST. AS POP PRINCESS MILEY CYRUS EXPLAINS, WHEN SHE TOOK HIS SOUND MAINSTREAM, IT WAS A MATCH THAT COULD ONLY BE MADE IN AMERICA.
Mike Will [Mike WiLL Made-It] had a vision for me first, before anyone else knew I was going to have this revolution. He saw it before he even knew if I was working on music. He was like, “Someone get ahold of Miley Cyrus. I don’t know if she’s making music, but she’s gonna be working on it when she hears this song!” There isn’t a huge difference between urban culture and country music culture. People don’t realize that cowboys and gangsters are the same thing. I’ve talked to Mike Will about growing up around Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, and he would be like, “They’re gangsters.”
In 2013 I did the MTV VMAs. Mike was inspiring me a lot that year. To me, hip-hop was similar to how my mom described the good rock scene when she was young. Hip-hop became the new punk because that was the rebellious place to be making music. The idea of innovators versus imitators is something that he and I battle with a lot. Mike has such a sound now, it’s hard to go to a club without hearing that sound. Even with me, you have to take it as a form of flattery, but people try to make a Mike Will sound—and a knockoff isn’t ever as good. Some people can’t tell, but there is a sophistication to Mike’s sound.
People are shocked by the fact that he’s 24 years old. It’s the same thing with me…people can’t believe, when they talk to me, that I’m only 22. It’s the lifestyle and the ambition. The reason people always listen to me in my business meetings is because nobody knows where young people are going more than young people. He’s like me because when we want something, we don’t take no for an answer. When you have that drive, people forget how young you are. He’s more than a producer. I think he’s building an empire. When you look at what 50 Cent did with Vitaminwater or what Dre did with Beats, it all started with music, and Mike knows how to build himself. That’s like Dolly Parton. It’s funny to mention her, because Dolly is a country star with big titties and glitter, but inside she is a businesswoman. I’m a musician, and at one time I was less credible than I am now—although a lot of people accepted it because this is America—and I know that Mike has so much more he can do within art and fashion and business. He’s only 24 so he has forever to do it.
Of course, we have differences. I never had a problem, with my parents flying me in and out of L.A. to become who I am, but Mike had to do it all himself, out of a basement in Atlanta. He wasn’t born into this, he got here strictly on music, which is more than a lot of people can say. That’s where he got “Mike WiLL Made-It.” He really got here because of himself and that’s the most respectable thing. I love when people are underestimated. He started making beats at 14 and was working as a manager, hustling these three kids around Atlanta. He’s always been above his age and trying to hustle. He would take risks and stay out late from school, and look at how his life has changed.
Fans can now see Miley Cyrus come in like a wrecking ball once again.
The singer’s iconic video shot (but this time, clothed) is the latest wax figure on display at Madam Tussauds Las Vegas.
Together, the figure and the ball weigh more than 200 pounds, according to a press release touting the newest addition. The release also notes that along with a 30 foot long chain, the top of Miley’s head to the bottom of the wrecking ball will stand higher than 10 feet, and the figure and the ball took a team of 20 artists more than six months to create.
Following today’s unveiling, Cyrus’s figure will be installed in the attractions’s Music Room.