When Shedding your Disney Image goes wrong!



As most of you know, last night the MTV Video Music Awards aired at 9 pm.  I had decided to tune in, mostly to see the rumored NSYNC reunion that was supposed to happen during a performance from Justin Timberlake.  I haven’t watched the VMA’s in forever, but thought I’d give it a go.  Shortly into the show, up pops Miley Cyrus, formerly Disney’s beloved Hannah Montana. Within seconds, it was more than apparent that Miley was doing her best to shed her good girl Disney image.  Let’s put it this way, she tried too hard.  I know I’m not a teenager anymore, and maybe I’m not as “hip” as I used to be, but I do try to stay current.  Miley Cyrus shocked me.  I mean, it was a train wreck.  Social Media was buzzing within minutes, talking about how inappropriate her performance with Robin Thicke was.  It was bad.  Really bad. This pic of Will Smith’s family during the performance speaks a thousand words.




I think my reaction was the same.  I had my kids sitting in the room with me, they heard the announcer say Miley Cyrus and they walked in.  I ended up having to have them close their eyes, then made them leave the room.  Over Miley Cyrus you ask?  Yep.  Her performance was crude, lewd, raunchy, and over the top.  She was wearing very little, but her actions were even worse than that fact.  Sexual innuendo was all over the place, channeling Gene Simmons from Kiss with that tongue gesture, grinding on an older married man, etc… and it was uncomfortable, not just in our living room, but at the actual award ceremony, and living rooms all over the country.  Not good.  Not at all.  Nope, we’re not in Disney anymore kids!




I mentioned social media, and the frenzy that ensued from this, ahem, “performance.”  People started blaming everyone from Miley Cyrus, MTV, producers, Miley’s parents, to Disney.  How is this Disney’s fault?  Well, to me, it’s not.  We get it.  Miley wants to shed her Hannah Montana persona, the message was received, loud and clear.  I can understand someone wanting to move forward with their career, wanting to not be typecast as one certain character, like Hannah Montana.  Got it.  However…. aren’t there BETTER ways to move on than this?  Did she have to behave in such a crude way, just for shock value?  Why not just do more projects, more albums, movies, etc?  It wasn’t necessary to behave like that on live tv, just to say “hey, I’m not a Disney kid anymore!”  We. Got. It.  But, what’s wrong with being a former Disney kid anyway?  Nothing!

Disney has launched careers for so many stars, stars that haven’t embarrassed themselves on national tv.  That’s what this was, it was embarrassing.  She tried too hard, and it was obvious.  Isn’t that sort of a slap in the face to Disney?  If it wasn’t for the House of Mouse, she may not have even had the platform to behave this way.  Disney gave her a career, and now she wants to distance herself so far from that, it’s over the top and ridiculous.  There are other celebs who started off with Disney, and grew up to do other roles without public humiliation.  To me, this doesn’t make Disney look bad, it makes Miley look bad.  She’s trying to look hard core now, and it’s not working.  Whether she likes it or not, kids still look to her and associate her with Disney.  Is it the fault of children that they view her in this light?  No.  Maybe instead of jumping the shark and going to the extreme, she could have transformed from Disney star to something else in a more graceful way.

Look at Annette Funicello.  Annette grew up from her Mickey Mouse days, to do other projects that weren’t Disney backed.  The difference is, Ms. Funicello never forgot who gave her her start, and was always grateful to Disney for launching her career.  She had class.  Like the saying goes, you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.  Annette had a respect for Walt Disney and the empire he created, and you don’t see people like her so much these days.  Granted, times have changed and people don’t view things the same as they did back in Annette’s time, and that’s sort of sad.  No one expects performers to be perfect. No one is perfect, it’s impossible.  However, like I said, there are better ways to behave, and better ways to move on.  People could learn a lesson from former Disney actors like Annette Funicello, just to name one.

After the painful performance by Miley Cyrus, another former Disney kid, Justin Timberlake, gave an amazing performance.  Probably one of the best I’ve seen on the VMA’s over the years.  He received an award after said performance.  Was he disrespectful? No.  He hasn’t had a squeaky clean image his entire life, but he was also able to transform himself with more dignity than this.   Selena Gomez was there too, nothing x-rated came from her either. Former Disney stars have indeed had bad press, for personal issues, health issues, maybe from influences that the industry can force upon someone. Things happen.  No one is perfect.  Life happens. So, why not let things play out naturally, instead of forcing an image change on people in such an inappropriate way?

If Miley Cyrus threw this awful performance out there just to get attention, then she achieved her goal.  Look, even I’m talking about it.  I just don’t think it’s fair to blame Disney for her behavior, it’s not their fault. As we all got to see, whether we wanted to or not, Miley is grown, she makes her own decisions, even bad ones like this.  It’s a shame that she feels the need to basically stick it to the company who gave her a chance in show business. Again, there are better ways, and it’s sad that people like Annette Funicello are few and far between nowadays.   You shouldn’t have to gasp in horror over any performance, let alone from someone who kids still look up to.  Sad for them, sad for her too.  It’s a parent’s job to decide on what they will and won’t allow their kids to watch.  Last night was a lesson for me, and I suppose I’ll be more mindful the next time, even if it’s from someone who was big in the Disney community.  It shouldn’t have to be that way, but sadly it is.  If Ms. Cyrus wanted attention, she got it, but I think this will backfire on her.  Like I said earlier, don’t bite the hand that feeds you!  Some day Miley may be sorry for behaving this way, and might want the support from Disney and her former Hannah Montana fans.  I doubt we’ll be seeing more Miley/Disney collaborations after this fiasco, but time will tell.  In the meantime, we watch events like this unfold, and wish for a better attitude and image for these Disney stars, something that would make Walt proud.  This wasn’t it.

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Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 107.3 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

Michele has 6261 posts and counting. See all posts by Michele


3 thoughts on “When Shedding your Disney Image goes wrong!

  • August 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    did not see the show just the clip on Facebook, and the look on the Will Smith family faces, sorry it should have been blocked out when she started her song and told to leave, I am not a prude but what I say was no appropriate for tv. Her parents must be in shock about her behavior at the show,

    Miley should have had sense( maybe that is what is lacking) to wear clothes.

    but they will post this for a few days and talk about it as well, guess she got what she wanted attention.

    After seeing this would not even buy anything with her picture or name on it.

  • mm
    August 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Be glad you didn’t see it! I wish I could “un-see” it at this point. You’re right, relying on talent seems like a better option than selling yourself out. It was just humiliating if you ask me. I felt embarrassed for her……

  • August 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I am so glad I was not watching it with my kids or at all honestly. I had to watch it on you tube this morning after hearing all the hype and I am truly just sad and sick to my stomach. Miley is someone my 6 year old daughter has loved for a long time and I would hate it if she saw Miley this way. I like you understand the need to make a name for yourself, but you can certainly do it with your clothes on, rely on talent not shock value and you will go much further in life.

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