5 Surprising Things We Learned About Miley Cyrus from Her MTV Doc

From being a control freak to idolizing Britney, Miley Cyrus: The Movement shows a different side of the pop star

Miley Cyrus's documentary Miley Cyrus: The Movement premiered on MTV Wednesday night, chronicling the four months between the release of her single "We Can't Stop" and her notorious performance of the song on the Video Music Awards. We were expecting the movie to be a big infomercial for Miley, which it kind of was. But it also showed us something we weren't expecting: the degree to which the 20-year-old singer controls her image and career. The twerking, nude wrecking-ball rides, and even her short buzzcut are all part of Miley's plan to recreate pop stardom on her own terms. The girl knows what she's doing. Even the fact that we're impressed by this documentary, which she produced, is further proof that Miley is one step ahead of us. Below, five new things we discovered about Miley Cyrus while watching Miley: The Movement.

1. Miley isn't out of control -- not even a little. Her sudden, dramatic image change could have seemed like careless rebellion. But every tweet, photo and performance is part of a master plan she calls "the movement." If people could look behind the scenes, she says,"they would know that this isn't just some mess. This is all thought out in my mind. Every decision goes into a bigger plan...Everything has to be new and creative, pushing the boundaries." And if you think about it, it's not like Miley has been peeing in buckets like Justin Bieber or having bizarre freak-outs like Amanda Bynes. She's definitely choosing what she puts out there, and she has her reasons.

2. Miley's concept for her infamous VMAs performance was to create a "strategic hot mess." "I'm coming out in pigtails, looking like a giant adult baby, but doing really naughty stuff. That's obviously funny," says Miley, sounding somewhat exasperated. "If I really wanted to come out and do a raunchy sex show, I wouldn't have been dressed as a damn bear." Originally, she wanted her VMA antics to be even more over-the-top: Miley says she requested to perform topless, and was negotiated down to a flesh-colored vinyl bikini. She was also supposed to arrive on the red carpet in a police car, a plan that was thwarted at the last minute. 


3. Britney Spears is Miley's idol. Surprised? Even though Miley's image is a huge departure from "pop princess," she thinks of Britney as her template. Spears was the first star she idolized as a girl, and Cyrus vividly remembers her provocative videos and past VMAs performances. While recording a duet with Spears for Miley's Bangerz album, Cyrus tells her in the documentary, "When the 'Slave 4 U' video came out, I remember my dad was like, 'My eight year old is going to want to be a stripper. I'm scared.' But I wanted to be hot like Britney." Miley uses her love for Britney as a way to understand her longtime fans; for them, she says, "I'm their Britney."

4. Miley sees the ex-child-star thing as an advantage, not a handicap. "I'm so lucky to be able to not have to fit in," she says. The way Cyrus sees it, she gave up her childhood to become a star on someone else's terms. Now, she gets to do it her way. "People always want to call it a 'transition,' (but) I'm the same human I was five years ago. It's not a transition; it's a movement, it's a growth, it's a change," she explains. "People feel like they really know you...Most people don't have their kid photos put up and then be like, 'She's changed.' Well, yeah, if you put a picture of Lady Gaga at 8 next to Lady Gaga, yeah, she's changed."

5. She can snap in and out of wild Miley mode. On social media and through her music, Cyrus is giving the impression that her life is one big party. But in the documentary, she's actually a control freak. In the film, we watch as Cyrus chews out her team for messing up her VMA red-carpet entrance; somehow, the limo failed to connect with the police car in which she was supposed to arrive. She's angry and frustrated at the change of plans, but exits the limo anyway. The moment she hits that red carpet, she's got her hands in the air, her tongue sticking out, doing goofy poses for the crowd, like she'd been chugging champagne in that limo instead of trying to coordinate an elaborate plan. She's giving the crowd the Miley they want. It's just part of her strategy to look like she's making it up as she goes along.

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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