A foam finger and wagging tongue sure can change a person.
Well. that’s what many fans thought at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards when Miley Cyrus unofficially said goodbye to Hannah Montana and hello to an edgier, grown-up musical artist.
As she graced—and twerked—on the big stage alongside Robin Thicke, Miley tried to prove that she wasn’t a child star any longer. It was only reiterated on Saturday Night Live when she proclaimed her Hannah Montana character was “murdered.”
But as the singer continues to celebrate her latest album Younger Now, fans are seeing old glimpses of the Miley they first met on Disney Channel. At the same time, the 24-year-old is proving you can have the best of both worlds by celebrating the old and showcasing a new evolved side.
Let’s rewind to Monday night’s episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. While paying tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting, Miley traveled back to The Last Song days and performed a rare rendition of her hit song “The Climb.”
“We started this week off with a song I haven’t performed in years #TheClimb,” she wrote on Instagram. “These words mean more now to me than ever.”
And just this past weekend, Miley gave Smilers across the country so much nostalgia yet again when she reunited with her best friend Lesley Patterson. You know, the girl referenced in “See You Again.”
“My best friend Lesley said ‘Oh she’s just being Miley’!!! Sooooo glad my bestie since I was a littttttle BB made it to my #spotifyfansfirst #YoungerNow release party!” Miley wrote on Instagram. “Life is sooooo full circle!”
While some may think it’s just an artist performing a few old favorites—she also performed “Party in the USA” at this summer’s iHeartRadio Festival— it’s a welcome sign for others that the old Miley may not have been “murdered” after all.
When she performed with Robin and released Bangerz, many thought Miley was throwing out the child star rulebook for a wilder and freer lifestyle.
At the 2017 MTV VMAs, however, Miley quickly proved that she has simply evolved into the woman she wants to be.
“I feel like I proved what I wanted to do,” Miley recently shared with the ITV program Lorraine. “I feel like I have respect and I feel like my charity Happy Hippie has given me that and I feel like I have the respect as an artist that I want, so it’s less that I have to prove myself, and that gives me a lot of contentment.”
In her latest solo album, Miley continues to sing about her personal life in tracks such as “Malibu” and “I Would Die for You.”
And while she previously sang about the “seven things I hate about you” such as you’re vain, your games, you’re insecure, you love me, and you like her, Miley’s latest album explores more mature elements including marriage, engagements and even death.
“Writing the lyrics for me solo on this record was important because I’m really trying to project what I think and feel, and I don’t think that anyone can know that besides me,” she explained to Grammy.com. “It’s just a different time for me in my life—how I want to create, how I want to co-create and how I want to collaborate. Lyrics are very sacred to me, and also to my fans. I want them to understand that this record is really all the truth, from me.”
And as the Grammy nominee continues this new streak of mixing old and new Miley, fans know that she will never forget her Disney roots.
Need proof? Just look at when she celebrated the release of “Malibu.” While visiting the Radio Disney studios, Miley was able to watch throwback footage from her Hannah Montana audition tape.
“You all are going to freak out,” Miley said. “That is so funny. That is crazy. That is a jewel. That is a gem.” And that’s the Miley we continue to adore.