Miley Cyrus is opening up about the “identity crisis” she suffered after playing the role of Hannah Montana.
Cyrus, 28, shared on Spotify’s Rock This with Allison Hagendorf podcast on Friday that the role had a big impact on her sense of self.
“Talk about an identity crisis,” she said of playing the titular role of the regular teen by day, pop star by night. Cyrus starred as Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel for four seasons from 2006 to 2011.
Cyrus went on to say that Hannah was “a character almost as often as I was myself, and actually, the concept of the show is that when you’re this character, when you have this alter ego, you’re valuable. You’ve got, like, millions of fans, you’re the biggest star in the world, and then the concept was that when I looked like myself, when I didn’t have the wig on anymore, no one cared about me, I wasn’t a star anymore.”
“So, that was drilled into my head,” the “Prisoner” singer continued. “Like, without being Hannah Montana, no one cares about you. And that was the concept.”
Cyrus said she “really had to break that” mentality, adding that her album Bangerz was her first foray into finding her identity outside of the Disney channel character.
“And so I really had to break that,” she said, “and I think that’s maybe why I almost created a characterized version of myself at times. … I never created a character where it wasn’t me, but I was aware of how people saw me and I maybe played into it a little bit.”
In a December interview with Rolling Stone, Cyrus said that she “felt like I was never going to amount to the success of Hannah Montana,” adding that she “had to evolve” because the character was “larger than life.”
“Really, Hannah Montana was not a character,” she added. “The concept of the show, it’s me. I’ve had to really come to terms with that and not be third-person about it.”
Cyrus has still been able to look back on her Hannah Montana days with a lighthearted lens.
Earlier this week, Cyrus joked around about the character on social media with Lil Nas X and Megan Thee Stallion.