Ten days after Miley Cyrus’s explosive performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards, FASHION magazine photographed the 20-year-old chart-topper at a private estate in the Hollywood Hills for the November issue. Features editor Elio Iannacci was on set to conduct an in-depth interview with the singer, who opened up on her recent, radical transformation, her critics, and the making of her soon-to-be-released album, Bangerz. Here is a sneak peek of our cover story, which hits newsstands nationwide on October 7, 2013.
On her discerning taste in fashion:
“I can go through so many clothes say ‘no, that’s not me’ right away. I’m so adamant and controlling and OCD about my work that I can scare some people—especially when it comes to clothes. I have a very specific style of my own and I think it is better to be stylish than trendy. I find vintage Celine or Chanel and mix it with athletic or vintage pieces makes a look modern and fresh. Vintage makes everything look punk.”
On the way MTV censored her VMA performance:
“I was trying to slap Robin’s ass but no one saw it! Believe me! MTV edited so much. They cut almost everything I did. I’m proud of that performance. I feel like music is really stale right now. I could have guessed what a lot of artists would have done that night. The reaction to what I did has been insane. I think it was a breath of fresh air! For the people that don’t get it, you weren’t meant to.”
On critics and competition:
“I feel like I’m in a different lane now. When it comes to critics, I have my blinders on and I don’t really feel like I have to compete with other pop artists. I never think, ‘oh this performance is going to make her look bad or out-shadow her’ either but if there is no competition, there would be no reason for any of us to show up to work. At an office, everyone is trying to be boss. Pop music is the same. What I wear adds a factor that other girls can’t compete with.”
On “Drive”—a new song that alludes to her relationship with ex-boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth:
“I wrote it while I was working on Valentine’s Day—emotionally it was such a hard time. It is about needing to leave someone but not really wanting to completely cut yourself off from the relationship. It’s a time when you want to leave but you can’t. It’s also about moving on.”
On the artists who fuel her vision:
“Terry Richardson shot my video for “Wrecking Ball” and he’s about capturing strength versus beauty. His women look so strong in his images. I was so inspired by [photographer] Ryan McGinley’s work too [for the video to "We Can't Stop"]-especially a series where he shot all these the girls coming out of trees. Having artist Todd James create all the teddy bears for the VMAs was a thrill too—it was one of the things I was hoping people would focus on. I was hoping some would think, ‘Miley may be out there shaking her ass and having fun but she’s got some intelligence.’ Some people just saw the teddy bears but they didn’t look into the details. We had [faux] Picasso paintings going by the stage too. People who want to open their eyes can see something bigger in my work.”
On taking style advice from Pharrell Williams:
“I found what I wore on the red carpet to the VMAs with Pharrell. It was a Dolce and Gabbana piece from 1992—the year I was born. He saw it and said, ‘you have to buy it.’ I think that outfit added a factor that the other girls couldn’t compete with. Pharrell says it’s not about what you’re wearing; it’s the way you wear it. That was a lesson I took to heart. I think it is important that I execute a look better than other people. Fashion is what separates me from everyone else.”
To read our cover story, pick up the FASHION Magazine November 2013 issue starring Miley Cyrus, available on newsstands October 7, 2013.