Miley Cyrus’ name is still synonymous with stardom and spectacle, but in a new interview with CBS, the singer reminds us that she isn’t just the image she created over the years.
Cyrus spoke to CBS‘ Anthony Mason about being a teen sensation, growing up in the spotlight, and making people uncomfortable over the years with her public persona.
Cyrus’ sixth album released on Sept. 29. The album has more of a country feel, which draws from Cyrus’ early influences and family legacy, whereas her fifth album was largely experimental. She’s come a long way since the Disney Channel.
“I think what was hard for me was balancing everything,” Cyrus said of her Hannah Montana days. “I think it got harder when I started touring as both – I toured as Hannah Montana and as myself.”
“I think that’s probably what’s a little bit wrong with me now!” she added. “I mark that up to doing some extreme damage in my psyche as an adult person.”
Cyrus also reflected on her 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance, perhaps one of her most talked-about public appearances in a decade.
“I woke up and, you know, it was on every news channel,” she said. “And everyone had their opinion about it. At that time it was like, ‘Oh my God, she’s dressed as a bear with no pants on.’ Bears don’t wear pants!”
Even with years of hindsight, Cyrus stands by her artistic choices, saying that she was doing what she wanted and “wasn’t hurting anybody.” She noted that there’s something enjoyable about making people uncomfortable and realizing one’s own star power.
“I made Paul McCartney feel uncomfortable one time,” she recalled. “I, like, went and introduced myself with nipple pasties on. And he turned bright red. Like he looked so red, and that I really liked… I would be so freaked out to meet Paul McCartney, that then he was freaked out to meet me! So the roles just reversed.”
Cyrus recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to join the show’s female staff in reading Thank You notes to Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t feel like I got knocked down, but I got that women-judgment double-standard in a heavy dosing,” Cyrus said of her career thus far. “And I’m okay with that. You know, I just recently read Hillary Clinton’s book. And now I think of things in a whole different way. I always think, if she can lose an election, I can do this.”
Cyrus’s latest album, Younger Now, is on sale.