Justin Bieber could learn a thing or two from Miley Cyrus
"You've got a lot of money. Pay people to make sure you don't get in trouble."
- Miley Cyrus has a little friendly advice for Justin Bieber
Miley Cyrus is busy. She's on the cover of W magazine this month and her Bangerz tour starts next week in Vancouver, on Valentine's Day. She'll do dates in North America and Europe to support an album that's already selling like gangbusters.
Justin Bieber is also busy. In between biting a stripper's nipples, smoking dope on a private jet, driving his neighbours in Calabasas crazy and getting arrested for DUI in Miami, the Canadian pop star found time recently to turn himself in to Toronto police over allegations of abusing a limo driver.
How would you explain such different trajectories for two young pop stars? Close in age, they each have been wildly famous since adolescence and both initially made their names with a squeaky-clean public persona. Both Cyrus, 21, and Bieber, who is almost 20, have lots of tattoos, a fondness for weed and a fan base that started with millions of screaming teenage girls.
And in the terrible transition from teen dream to adult artist, both have courted controversy and gone through public humiliation. Yet Cyrus has risen like a phoenix from it all and Bieber is flailing.
These two are compared all the time. Last year, Cyrus said of Bieber in a Rolling Stone interview, “I’m not much older than him, so I never want it to feel like I’m mentoring him. But I do mentor him in a way. Because I’ve been doing this s--- for a long time, and I already transitioned, and I don’t think he’s quite done it yet. He’s trying really hard.”
But he's getting nowhere.
Cyrus's current interview in W magazine explains a lot about who she is. For all the controversy over her twerking and whatnot, Billy Ray's little girl seems to draw a line between private and public life. Bieber doesn't seem to have figured out how to differentiate between the two. She gets scandalized press reports, but that can build profile and sell albums. He gets arrested.
Cyrus has had a couple of obvious advantages in all this. For one thing, her family is involved in entertainment, so she grew up in that environment. She has five siblings; in her W interview she suggests there was plenty of parental discipline. Describing how rude some of her young fans can be, she says, "‘Dude, if I ever talked to my mom like that when I was a kid, I would have had no phone, no computer, no TV, no anything.’ And so, yeah, kids are just mean."
And maybe her relationship with Liam Hemsworth anchored her through a lot of growing pains. Romantic commitment can sometimes help young women set aside all that insidious social training to please everybody else. Cyrus had to do a lot of growing up in the public eye, and took the usual grief for being seen pole dancing and smoking dope when she was only 16. But her rebellious spirit is morphing into something else. Something cool. She tells W, "I'm trying to tell girls, like, ‘F--- that. You don’t have to wear makeup. You don’t have to have long blonde hair and big t------. I like that I’m associated with sexuality and the kind of punk-rock s--- where we just don’t care."
Not caring apparently leads Cyrus to stay home a lot. She tells W she's usually at home, out of the fray, and she told Jay Leno that Bieber should stay home too. "Party at your house. Buy a house, and add a club to it," she said, only half-joking. Could it be that simple?
"I'm doing a lot of s---, but I'm not doing anything illegal," Cyrus added. "I don't see a Miley mug shot yet."