Cyrus continues to hype up the big day (Sunday) with an illuminating and candid conversation with The New York Times, which goes to show just how universal she is as a bona fide pop star.
Importantly, she reflected back on her now-infamous 2013 performance of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke.
She divulged that she she didn’t know him too well before the performance, but that they rehearsed everything together beforehand.
It was funny, because I got so much of the heat for it, but that’s just being a woman. He acted like he didn’t know that was going to happen. You were in rehearsals! You knew exactly what was going to happen. And he was actually the one that approved my outfit, so I thought that was very funny.
He wanted me as naked as possible, because that’s how his video was. It was very much a collaboration. My part — “We Can’t Stop” — was all me. But when it went into “Blurred Lines,” that was his performance.
Cyrus also didn’t think people would care as much as they did. After all, for days on end afterwards, it was anything anyone talked about.
I knew who I was, and I knew the power that I held, but I don’t think I realized my full power until that show. I didn’t realize I could make such a big reaction. I didn’t think that many people would care. I knew I was famous, but I didn’t know what that meant. Everything was coming to an end and starting a new beginning. In every way.
She even made “twerking” a more mainstream pop culture thing (though it originates in West Africa and has been around since 1990s hip-hop), with the word itself becoming a runner-up in the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013.
Two people who commended Cyrus on her performance were none other than presidential hopeful Donald Trump and Kanye West, who has his own torrid love affair with the VMAs (and is now receiving the Video Vanguard Award this year).
I was in the studio with Kanye [later] that night, and we watched it back and we didn’t say anything. He was like, “That was sick,” whatever. We woke up the next day, and he was like, “Whoa.” He called and said, “Turn on your TV.” I was staying at the Trump Hotel and Donald Trump literally called and said, basically, “I know everyone’s talking about it, but I loved it.” I had no idea anyone was talking about it yet.
But that’s not to say everyone was on board or understood her performance. She commented,
Even people around me really judged me. People that I really loved and thought were my friends judged me for it. They were like, “You were on drugs when you did that performance.” I did nothing! I still don’t get it.
Cyrus looks back on that moment like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon, which frankly is all that matters when it comes to knowing what one’s truth is:
Me coming out of that teddy bear, to me, wasn’t just a teddy bear. My dad always explained it to me that you step into your happiness. That’s kind of like what I was doing. When I broke down the bear belly, I was really breaking out — my show ended, and then I didn’t really work for two years. That’s when I did my most self-exploration. [The performance] was kind of going into this way of saying, “I’m just going to do what will make me happy.” At that moment, that’s what really made me happy.
Be sure to watch Cyrus host the MTV VMAs on Sunday.