Miley's Scandalous Words-That Don't Have Anything to Do With Pole Dancing

Miley Cyrus had a truly great media moment last week. It didn’t have anything to do with faux pole dancing, or leaked photos, or being photographed wearing a bed sheet, so naturally it didn’t appear on any newscast or on any gossip web site. But it was notable, especially if you’re concerned about the impressionable young Hannah Montana fans who live at your house.

The 16-year-old actress appeared on the TODAY show singing her new song “Party in the U.S.A.”, which was released specifically to help promote Cyrus’s new clothing line at Walmart, but it’s what she said afterward that mattered. She basically dismissed the single as a complete promotional vehicle, and said point-blank that she wants to “step it up” on her next album.

Seeing a young star—one from the all-powerful Disney cannon of famous tweens at that—outwardly dis her own record? It was more than a little bit surprising. And more, Cyrus’s words made it clear that she knows exactly who holds the power in her career, and it’s not a marketing or PR department. And yeah, she wants her next record to be rock and not like this one—pop. She wants it to be hers.

In that moment, Miley didn’t seem so much like the irresponsible teenager who snapped pictures of herself in her undies. Or the manipulated kid whose semi-unclothed photo graced the cover of Vanity Fair. Or the underage star with the poorly-planned awards show dance routine. She seemed fearless—the kind of girl who was willing to deal with the fallout of her actions. And for little girls across America looking for a role model, she seemed like a pretty good choice.

See Miley Cyrus's TODAY show interview with Natalie Morales:

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