By Amanda Wicks
Miley Cyrus has come a long way since her days as Hannah Montana. The Voice‘s newest coach was recently named one of Variety‘s Power of Women covers, along with Laverne Cox, Scarlett Johansson and others.
Speaking with the magazine, she said how much has changed from even just a few years ago when she suggestively danced around Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. “People saw me as being wild,” she said of her past behavior. But she’s developed new interests since then. “Literally all I do is I’m obsessed with yoga, I love hiking, and I’m reading constantly,” she said. “My life is so positive. From the outside, people think I’m partying with rappers. That was back in my prime.”
Her more relaxed lifestyle, and the exploration it has generated, led Cyrus to identify herself as a pansexual rather than box herself into any other more specific category. She said the move felt right because growing up she never felt like the kind of girly-girl she saw her mom emulate. “My mom is like an ’80s rock chick — big blonde hair, big boobs,” Cyrus explained. “She loves being a girl. I never felt that way. I know some girls that love getting their nails done. I f—ing hated it. My nails look like s—. I don’t wax my eyebrows. I never related to loving being a girl. And then, being a boy didn’t sound fun to me. I think the LGBTQ alphabet could continue forever. But there’s a ‘P’ that should happen, for ‘pansexual.'”
Cyrus recounted the moment she first thought she might exist in an entirely different category than ‘heterosexual,’ ‘homosexual’ or ‘bisexual.’ “I went to the LGBTQ center here in L.A., and I started hearing these stories. I saw one human in particular who didn’t identify as male or female,” she said. “Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life. Even though I may seem very different, people may not see me as neutral as I feel. But I feel very neutral. I think that was the first gender-neutral person I’d ever met. Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, “Oh — that’s why I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay. It’s because I’m not.”