Miley Cyrus Says Don't Be Mad -- She's Just Playing a Character!

The controversial singer says her antics are just part of her new pop star persona

Miley Cyrus has carefully cultivated her wild-child image -- but is it all for show? In a revealing interview with the New York Times, Cyrus says that the outrage about her sexy antics and drugged-out lyrics is misplaced. She says she's just doing what any other musician or actor does: playing it up for her fans.

"I went from people just thinking I was, like, a baby to people thinking I'm this, like, sex freak that really just pops molly and does lines all day," Cyrus, 21, complains. "It's like, 'Has anyone ever heard of rock 'n' roll?' There’s a sex scene in pretty much every single movie, and they go, 'Well, that’s a character.' Well, that’s a character. I don’t really dress as a teddy bear and, like, twerk on Robin Thicke, you know?"

Well, technically, Miley did do that. But maybe she really does have a mild-mannered alter ego who appears when she gets offstage. (Although we've seen enough pictures of her wild club parties to think otherwise!)

Regardless of who the "real" Miley is, the professional Miley has become an expert on building a rock-star image. In the Times, she reveals an interaction with Ariana Grande, who is cautiously trying to step outside of her own teen-idol comfort zone.

"This is terrible. I was backstage with [the rising pop star] Ariana Grande," Cyrus recalls. "I'm like, 'Walk out with me right now and get this picture, and this will be the best thing that happens to you, because just you associating with me makes you a little less sweet.' She’s trying. I see her wearing the shorter things."

The "Adore You" singer admits that she studies other pop stars' music videos obsessively, "to the point where I'm O.C.D., looking at every single thing they're wearing and what they're doing." At that same time, she says that other celebrities are afraid to be friends with her, because her no holds barred image is a little too controversial for them.

"I’m with artists sometimes, and I’ll take a picture of them or whatever. They make me delete it," Miley reveals. "Yeah, it’s insane. I’ll get someone to, like, flash me, and they’ll be, like, 'You have to delete it!'...I’m like: 'Dude, you’re 30. Like, why can’t someone see a picture of your [breasts]?'"

Cyrus also has a few words for Joe Jonas, who recently claimed that Miley and Demi Lovato pressured him into smoking pot as a teenager.

"If you want to smoke weed, you’re going to smoke weed. There’s nothing that two little girls are going to get you to do that you don’t want to do. I thought maybe he was saying that like it was going to make him look badass," Cyrus scoffs. "We were so young that it’s actually like, 'How did you get peer pressured by me?'"

Throughout this year, it really does feel like we've seen two different Mileys. There's the crazy, experimenting, naked-all-the-time Miley, who is the epitome of a fun, immature, idealistic 20-something. And then there's professional Miley, who is taking everything in, observing people's reactions, and carefully planning her next career move. If she can keep those two sides of herself in balance, Cyrus has a good shot at achieving her goal: becoming a Madonna-caliber pop legend.

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

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