How playing Hannah Montana gave Miley Cyrus body image issues

Being thrust into the spotlight at an early age (or, honestly, at any age) is bound to do a number on a person. As People reports, Miley Cyrus explained in her cover interview for the September Marie Claire issue, that playing Hannah Montana as a preteen was rough on her self-image

“From the time I was 11, it was, ‘You’re a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing,’” Cyrus explains in the interview. “Meanwhile, I’m this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup. It was like Toddlers & Tiaras. I had f—— flippers.”

Playing this character was particularly rough on Cyrus’ body image. “I was made to look like someone that I wasn’t, which probably caused some body dysmorphia, because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then when I wasn’t on that show, it was like, ‘Who the f— am I?’ ”

It’s heartbreaking to hear Cyrus talk like this. We know that the media is constantly churning out images that can make your average person feel less-than, but what’s amazing about what Miley is saying here is that these images ALSO make the celebrities who participate in the creation of them feel weird. In other words, these images of Miley Cyrus were so distorted, that her own photographs and videos were causing the actress body dysmorphia.

As Cyrus tells it, the stress really got to the young star on set.

“I would have anxiety attacks. I’d get hot flashes, feel like I was about to pass out or throw up,” she tells Marie Claire. “It would happen a lot before shows, and I’d have to cancel. Then the anxiety started coming from anxiety.”

As an adult, Cyrus is trying to move past the image issues that troubled her as a teen, but as she reveals in her interview, those issues are no easy thing to get past. “When you look at retouched, perfect photos, you feel like s—,” she said. “They lighten black girls’ skin. They smooth out wrinkles. Even I get stuck on Instagram wondering, ‘Why don’t I look like that?’ It’s a total bummer. It’s crazy what people have decided we’re all supposed to be.”

We love how Miley is using her platform to call the entertainment industry out on its promotion of unrealistic beauty standards that not only harm its audiences, but also do real damage to the artists who are a part of the system. We need more people like Miley speaking out and demystifying the inner working of the industry so we can understand just HOW unrealistic these unrealistic beauty standards are, and once and for all, ditch a system that’s not working for any of us.

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[Images via Instagram, Facebook and Disney Channel]

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