Miley Cyrus Has Something To Say About That Vanity Fair Controversy 15 Years On

The Used To Be Young singer found herself at the centre of a media storm after a Vanity Fair photo-shoot when she was 15 years old.
Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus
Arturo Holmes via Getty Images

Miley Cyrus has shared her memories of working on a photo-shoot that put her at the centre of a media storm when she was still a teenager.

The former Disney star posed for esteemed photographer Annie Leibovitz in 2008 for a cover shoot with Vanity Fair magazine.

Among the photos was a shot of the then-15-year-old draped in a sheet, which sparked controversy at the time, including a headline in the New York Post referencing “Miley’s shame”.

In the wake of the backlash, the Disney Channel released an accusatory statement claiming that a “situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines”, while Miley herself also issued an apology (which she recanted a decade later).

Meanwhile, a Vanity Fair spokesperson insisted at the time: “Miley’s parents and/or minders were on the set all day. Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley.”

Miley in 2008
Miley in 2008
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

As part of the promo for her new single Used To Be Young, the chart-topping singer has been looking back at big moments from her career in a TikTok series, including the Vanity Fair controversy.

In one video, she is heard saying: “Everyone knows the controversy of the photo, but they don’t really know the behind-the-scenes, which is always much more meaningful.”


Used To Be Young (Series) - PART 15

♬ Used To Be Young - Miley Cyrus

Miley recalled: “My little sister Noah was sitting on Annie’s lap and actually pushing the button of the camera taking the pictures.

“My family was on set, and this was the first time I ever wore red lipstick. Pati Dubroff, who did my makeup, thought that it would be another element that would divide me from Hannah Montana.

“This image of me is a complete opposite of the bubblegum pop star that I had been known for being… and that’s what was so upsetting [to people]. But really brilliant choices looking back now, from those people.”

In previous videos in her Used To Be Young series, Miley reflected on her past dispute with fellow singer Sinéad O’Connor and how she and her dad Billy Ray Cyrus share markedly different views on fame.


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