At 16, Miley Cyrus Is Still A Girl, And Yet A Woman

Two Conde Nast titles feature Miley Cyrus this month. In Teen Vogue Miley’s a wild child who thinks dating rules are dumb (but doesn’t break them). In Glamour the “girl-woman” is openly dating a 20-year-old.

Now that she’s reached the ripe old age of 16, it’s time for Miley to start making the transition into adult stardom and this issue of Glamour marks the fist time she’s appearing on the cover of a women’s magazine.

Glamour Editor-In-Chief Cindi Leive tries to make the case for why a minor is on the cover the mag. She writes in the editor’s letter:

At 16, Miley Cyrus carries a billion-dollar franchise on her back. Her responsibilities are more adult than those of most adults I know.
That’s why, even as a teen, she makes sense as a Glamour cover girl. And she’s in good company: Brooke Shields and supermodel Niki Taylor both graced our cover at 15. Looking at those old issues, you wonder, Is she a child? An adult? Believe it or not, Britney Spears had some wise words on the subject when she was a Glamour teen cover star in 2001. “I’m in-between,” she said. “I’d consider myself a girl-woman.”

Leive goes on to explain that “America holds girl-women to pretty exacting standards,” which is probably why in both photo shoots Miley doesn’t show much skin. At the Teen Vogue cover shoot she sports natural makeup, a flower wreath, and a sundress while riding a white horse. For the Glamour photo shoot her eye makeup is heavier and darker. She wears a black evening gown as she smashes her guitar and a sparkly mini-dress while clutching a mic. Even though she looks like a woman in her 20s, there’s no hint of adolescent sexuality that people freaked out about in the Vanity Fair photo shoot.

But, the way the mags handle the fact that Miley is dating the 20-year-old Justin Gaston is very different. In the Teen Vogue cover story, Gaston’s is called her boyfriend, but his age is never mentioned. The magazine then weirdly brings up that she may not be that into him anyway:

Whether Miley herself is in love at this moment is still up in the air. “I believe in love at first sight,” she says. “It just hasn’t happened to me.” The first time she saw Justin, “I walked right by him. Love doesn’t come from attraction, but from somewhere deeper. [Justin] is my best friend.” They’re inseparable and lately have been writing and producing music together in her home studio.

In the Glamour cover story Miley isn’t so coy, saying:

“The best thing that’s happened to me in a long, long time has been meeting Justin [Gaston], because he’s the most respectful and selfless person I’ve ever known.”
GLAMOUR: Do you worry that your boyfriend is so much older?
MC: I don’t feel like I’m doing anything wrong, and I’m ready for people to accept it. My fans already accept it — they just want me to be happy. And I haven’t been that happy in a few years … working so hard, moving to L.A. from Nashville, going through a bad breakup [with Nick Jonas]. I’m finally happy again, and I think that is a reflected in my music and my work. So honestly, I don’t feel like there’s anything to hide. And I love him so much I don’t really care.

But in Glamour, Miley is quick to point out that she isn’t a bad girl, like former squeaky-clean Disney stars Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. She explains that she won’t turn out like them because:

“I feel like the rules are the rules, you know? If you’re not 21, you don’t get into a bar. You don’t go to clubs. In this business you see so many people who are told yes all the time, and if someone says no, they get all upset. They look to their publicist, manager or agent for approval, rather than their parents.”

In Teen Vogue, Miley is a bit more rebellious:

The way she tells it, it seems Miley is more comfortable with the opposite sex. In fact, in the dating department, she’s often happy to make the first move. “It doesn’t bother me,” she says. “I want to know who made up the rules, because the rules are lame.” For a sixteen year old, that kind of confidence is rare-and inspiring.

She also tells Teen Vogue about watching Alice in Wonderland with Justin, which she is says is, “such a perverted movie,” explaining, “It’s all about Ecstacy. I swear! Look it up online.” Lest the kids start thinking Miley has sampled these drugs herself, the mag has a disclaimer:

Actually, some associate the movie with trippy psychedelics, not Ecstasy, but Miley’s claim is just proof of her refreshing naïveté — her biggest vices seem to be caffeine and sushi. And for the record: Miley has never taken Ecstasy. I asked. “Me? No,” she answers. But that doesn’t mean she’s not wild. “I’m a crazy chiquita,” she freely admits. “I’m nuts.”

The one thing that both articles emphasize is that though she’s only a teen, show business has made her into an adult already. From Teen Vogue:

There’s her memoir, Miles to Go, released in the spring. “People are like, ‘You’re sixteen, why would you write your life story?” Miley says. “But in the business I’m in, I have lived a life that some people who are in their sixties haven’t lived. I’ve gone through a lot and seen a lot. But I still have a lot to learn.”

And in Glamour, Miley gives some insight into what it’s like for “America’s Most Famous Girl” to grow up:

“I was talking with my mom one day, and I said that I would not change the way I grew up for anything. But, yes, I am really overwhelmed. I went to the Oscars for the first time when I was 13. Then I had my first real relationship; it was hard-core and lasted two years [with Nick Jonas of The Jonas Brothers]. That’s a life-changing experience most people don’t have until they’re 19 or 20. So my life has been on high speed. [My career] is a huge responsibility.”

Miley Cyrus: Dream Girl [Teen Vogue]
Photos From Miley’s Cover Shoot [Teen Vogue]
Miley Cyrus Cover-Shoot Photo Gallery [Glamour]
Miley Cyrus: America’s Most Famous Girl Grows Up [Glamour]

Earlier: Miley Cyrus Is Not The Innocent Victim That Disney Makes Her Out To Be
Miley Cyrus: 15 & Topless In Vanity Fair

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