Miley Cyrus' Crazy Transformation Is As Stunning As It Is Complicated

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miley cyrus transformation

Her drastically changing looks are gorgeous, but not without controversy.

By Ruby Buddemeyer

Real talk: Who doesn’t love a walk down memory lane? We mean, our embarrassing as-hell high school yearbooks will forever be off limits, but we can’t deny the joy in digging through the major hair and makeup moments of celebrities who’ve been in the public eye since birth.

And if anyone’s been in the spotlight for 10-plus years, it’s without a doubt, Miley Cyrus. But unlike Zendaya or Emma Watson, Cyrus’s beauty evolution hasn’t exactly been an endless stream of on-point looks.

Sure, Cyrus made her debut as really-freaking-cute Disney Channel star. But in her misguided attempt to graduate from her squeaky-clean, Hannah Montana-image, she went through a problematic, three-year phase of cultural appropriation: She practically twerked her way through much of 2013, used black women as props in her music videos and live performances, and even wore dreadlocks to the 2015 MTV Movie Awards—and she has a massive span of red-carpet photos to show it.

Fast-forward to 2017, and the 24-year-old has officially ditched the cornrows for a wholesome, all-American façade, just in time for another album drop that’s decidedly (and conveniently) less wannabe-Missy Elliot and more, well, “American Idol”-pop.

She’d told E! News last year that she was ready to connect with her audience “in a deeper way,” which we’ll assume means in the absence of illegal psychedelics. And in a July interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Cyrus explained, “[Acting erratically] became something that was expected of me. I didn’t want to show up to photo shoots and be the girl who would get my tits out and stick out my tongue.” She added: “Like, people will say, ‘You’ve changed.’ And that’s supposed to be derogatory. But you are supposed to change all the time.”

We get it: People grow and change constantly, but what’s missing from Cyrus’s interview is an acknowledgment of stealing and using another culture for profit, only to label it as a phase.

And while Cyrus’s white privilege will allow her to move on—another problem in itself—not all of America has such a short-term memory. Put simply by an outraged Twitter user, “Miley Cyrus moving away from hip-hop is a nice example [of] cultural appropriation… black culture is used when it’s convenient.”

Whatever side of the fence you’re on, Cyrus’s beauty evolution has been a tricky one—see it all, ahead.

December 2006

At the VH1 Big

June 2007

At MTV’s “TRL”.

November 2007

At the Patrick McMullan Archives.

February 2008

At the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

September 2008

At the City of Hope Benefit Concert.

November 2009

At “Rock of Ages” On Broadway.

March 2010

At the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

June 2010
At the 21st Annual MuchMusic Video Awards.
November 2010

At the Patrick McMullan Archives.

February 2011

At the “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” Lost Angeles Premiere.

December 2011

At the American Giving Awards.

December 2011

At the 2011 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.

February 2012

At the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

December 2012

At VH1 Divas.

August 2013

At the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

October 2013

At the 30th Annual Night of Stars Presented by The Fashion Group International.

October 2014

At the 2014 amfAR LA Inspiration Gala.

February 2015

At the 23rd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party.

May 2015

At the 2015 Met Gala.

August 2015

At the MTV Video Music Awards.

December 2015

At ONE and (RED)’s “It Always Seems Impossible Until It Is Done”.

December 2015

At the “A Very Murray Christmas” New York Premiere.

September 2016

At the "Crisis in Six Scenes" Press Conference.

May 2017

At the SiriusXM Hits 1 Channel.


This article was originally published at StyleCaster. Reprinted with permission from the author.