It’s not every day I get invited onto BBC radio to talk about nipples! Yes, that’s right – Miley Cyrus’ ‘nipple pasties’ to be precise. There I was, preparing for a call with one of my mentees when my phone rang. It was a producer from the Shane O’Connor show asking if I had seen the picture in the paper of Miley Cyrus wearing nipple pasties, and not much else, at the event to welcome Joan Jet into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In honour of Joan, Miley chose to wear pink hearts emblazoned with a J on each one.
As the producer was speaking to me I quickly Googled the image and saw what she was referring to. “Would you like to comment on how this outfit is representing her image?” I have very strong views on the example that people in the public eye set for their younger fans, so you can bet I accepted in a flash!
Some of you who don’t have teenage daughters may not know that Miley played a character in a Disney programme – Hannah Montana. I saw sweet Miley growing up in front of my eyes as I watched the innocent programme with my daughter. She had a huge fan base of young tweens and teens at that time who all followed her career as she moved into pop-star mode. She clearly wanted to rid herself of the sugar-sweet ‘Hannah’ image and quickly established herself as a writhing, finger-flicking, stick it to the establishment rebel.
Her image is clearly meant to shock and grab headlines. But what of her young fans? I can only speak for my daughter who thinks she has ‘lost the plot’ and she is no longer interested in Miley, her antics or her music. She is well informed though, with my passion for encouraging a confident body image in teens, she is pretty well versed in the antics of the media in air-brushing and giving is fake and often impossible images to aspire to. To other teens who may not know this knowledge, I wonder what kind of example she is setting. I strongly feel that people who are in the public eye have a duty of care to their fans and need to think carefully about the example they are setting.
Back to my interview with Shane – I mentioned all of the above, of course! Plus, he asked what I would advise Miley if she were my client. Great question. My instant answer was that I would advise her to be authentic, to represent herself though her image. I doubt whether she is being authentic. I think she is just rebelling and going through a phase. I hope she comes out of it soon and tones her image down to something a little more respectable. Poor Paul McCartney didn’t know where to look! He also asked if I thought it was selfish. After all the event was to honour Joan Jet and the newspapers were full of stories about Miley the next day. Of course Joan got a mention, but Miley stole her thunder. I retorted that it was a little like going to someone’s wedding as a guest and wearing a white dress!
What do you think of her look? One that you will be trying anytime soon?!
Stay authentic, but stay a little more demure I say.
I had seconds to look at the image before being live on air and I am pleased to say that I received feedback that I sounded ‘cool, composed and oh so right!’ Thank you!