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Though just a few years ago she was largely ignored by people who are not 12-year-old girls, it’s now hard to not have an opinion about the 20-year-old woman who dominated the news cycle for nearly a week straight just by raising her butt in the air. While the media and American public took issue with Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance (complaints ranged from hypersexuality to accusing her of accessorizing black people), however, a profile of the pop star in Rolling Stone’s upcoming issue reveals that the singer got a lot of support not only from her parents, but also from the hip-hop community. Here are the six most surprising revelations on Cyrus and her performance — including that she probably won’t twerk again (but not because she cares about what you think).
Miley wasn’t trying to be sexy:
“I wasn’t trying to be sexy,” she says. “If I was trying to be sexy, I could have been sexy. I can dance a lot better than I was dancing.” She knows sticking her tongue out isn’t hot and that those weird stubby pigtails aren’t flattering (“I look like a little creature”). And she even knows it’s ridiculous for her to twerk. “People are like, ‘Miley thinks she’s a black girl, but she’s got the flattest ass ever,’” she says. “I’m like, I’m 108 pounds! I know! Now people expect me to come out and twerk with my tongue out all the time. I’ll probably never do that shit again.”
But she is amused by America’s double standards:
Miley admits that her performance with Thicke got a little – her word – “handsy.” But she makes a good point: “No one is talking about the man behind the ass. It was a lot of ‘Miley twerks on Robin Thicke,’ but never, ‘Robin Thicke grinds up on Miley.’ They’re only talking about the one that bent over. So obviously there’s a double standard.” She was especially amused by the criticism from Brooke Shields, who played Miley’s mom on Hannah Montana and called the VMA performance “desperate.” “Brooke Shields was in a movie where she was a prostitute at age 12!” Miley says with a laugh.
“America is just so weird in what they think is right and wrong,” she continues. “Like, I was watching ‘Breaking Bad’ the other day, and they were cooking meth. I could literally cook meth because of that show. It’s a how-to. And then they bleeped out the word ‘fuck.’ And I’m like, really? They killed a guy, and disintegrated his body in acid, but you’re not allowed to say ‘fuck’? It’s like when they bleeped ‘molly’ at the VMAs. Look what I’m doing up here right now, and you’re going to bleep out ‘molly’? Whatever.”
Besides, she has her idol Lil Kim’s blessing:
She checks her phone and reads a text from Lil’ Kim out loud: “My little pumpkin, I just had to tell you you’re so fucking smart. I love you and all the press you are getting. Sad I didn’t run into you at the VMAs. Keep killing it, boo.” Miley laughs. “My little pumpkin!”
And Kanye’s, because they are “homies”:
Miley admits that before the telecast, she was feeling a little nervous. But then she got a visit in her dressing room that made her feel better. Kanye West had seen her rehearsals and wanted to talk to her before she went onstage. “He came in and goes, ‘There are not a lot of artists I believe in more than you right now,’” she recalls. “The whole room went quiet. I was like, ‘Yo – can you say that again?!’” She laughs. “I just kept repeating that over and over in my mind, and it made me not nervous.”
After the show, Miley and Kanye met up at a Manhattan recording studio to work on a remix for his song “Black Skinhead.” The next day he sent a text: “He said, ‘I still can’t quit thinking about your performance,’” Miley says. She also happened to mention that a pair of fur Céline slippers she’d bought were falling apart, and Kanye bought her five more pairs. “Kanye is the shit,” she says. “I kind of have a good relationship with him now. It’s good to have someone you can call and be like, ‘Yo, do you think I should wear this?’ ‘Do you think I should go in the studio with this guy?’ ‘Do you think this is cool?’ That’s what homies are supposed to do.”
And yeah, she is aware that she’s a wealthy white girl:
“I’m from one of the wealthiest counties in America,” she says. “I know what I am. But I also know what I like to listen to. Look at any 20-year-old white girl right now – that’s what they’re listening to at the club. It’s 2013. The gays are getting married, we’re all collaborating. I would never think about the color of my dancers, like, ‘Ooh, that might be controversial.’ What do you mean?” she says with a laugh. “Times are changing. I think there’s a generation or two left, and then it’s gonna be a whole new world.”
Who mentors Justin Bieber:
“People don’t take him seriously, but he really can play the drums, he really can play guitar, he really can sing. I just don’t want to see him fuck that up, to where people think he’s Vanilla Ice. I tell him that. Like, ‘You don’t want to become a joke. When you go out, don’t start shit. Don’t come in shirtless.’ But the thing is,” she says with a laugh, “I think boys are, like, seven years behind. So in his head, he’s really, like, 12.”
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Prachi Gupta.