Fans are usually shocked when teen stars try to shed their wholesome, child-friendly image and metamorphose into real adults, and for pop star Miley Cyrus, it was no different. Her infamous 2013 VMA performance caused a stir on social media as fans saw more of the Hannah Montana star than they were accustomed to.
While her new, more mature style caught the viewers’ attention, her creative use of her tongue during the bombshell performance generated a lasting buzz. Regularly sticking out her tongue in paparazzi photos and on red carpets, this particular body part has become synonymous with Cyrus’ persona, and she even took steps to protect the vital asset.
Every celebrity has their own trademark, especially in Hollywood, which is why the phenomena of insuring one’s body parts is surprisingly common among celebrities. From Kim Kardashian’s derriere and Cyrus’ Godmother, Dolly Parton’s chest to the Disney export’s rebellious tongue, all these body parts are stars in their own right in the world of Hollywood, and have been insured for millions of dollars.
As a former Disney star, Cyrus dealt with her fair share of struggles that children launched by the mouse house often face. As the daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley had grown up cultivating a wholesome image as a family-friendly child star. Former Disney alums had often struggled to capitalise on their stardom and translate the momentum into adult fame. But, the ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ hitmaker chose to take a different approach and took off the Hannah Montana wig forever to make a name for herself sans Disney.
The 2013 VMA performance, which saw Cyrus twerking in a tiny, flesh-colored outfit for the very first time, was definitely a cultural reset when it came to pop music. The hoopla surrounding her bombshell performance had social media brimming with a tonne of hate for the star. Cyrus didn’t seem to care though, Tweeting “Smilers! My VMA performance had 306,000 tweets per minute. That’s more than the blackout or Superbowl!” the next day.
Smilers! My VMA performance had 306.000 tweets per minute. That's more than the blackout or Superbowl! #fact.— Miley Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2013
Undeterred by the internet hate, the singer capitalised on her trending status and delivered several hits to follow up the infamous performance. Through this, she finally broke out of her mould and translated her Disney success to adult fame and fortune, while also dispelling any delusions of her still being a little girl.
The initial shock of Cyrus taking the stage at the VMAs was punctuated by the now trademark stuck-out tongue. Dangling out of her mouth most of the performance, it wouldn’t be the last time the artist featured the look. Cyrus began sticking her tongue out at every photo opportunity.
After living for so long with a carefully crafted Disney image, the star didn’t know how to pose for pictures. She recalled how uncomfortable she used to be on the red carpet when her fans asked her to blow them kisses, and said, “I was so embarrassed to be on the red carpet, and so many of those disgusting photographers would tell me to blow a kiss, and that’s not me! I don’t want to blow you a kiss.”
“I didn’t know what to do with my face, so I stuck my tongue out, and it became a rebellious, punk rock thing,” she said to reporters at the time.
The tongue went on to become such an iconic part of her look, that she got it insured by Lloyd’s of London for a whopping £1m ($1.4m) in 2013. Refusing to take any risks with a valuable part of her image, she joined a considerably large cohort of celebrities who have insured parts of their bodies. And here we thought Hollywood couldn’t get any weirder, right?