Miley with creative director Diane Martel; photography by Paola Kudacki
The cover story of our Use Your Voice issue focuses on the Happy Hippie Foundation and the inspirations of its founder, Miley Cyrus. Here, we dive into the long transcript of Miley's interview with writer Amanda Petrusich -- an interview that ranged from diet to sexuality, from partying all night to studying with monks and far beyond. In conversation as in performance, Miley does nothing in half measure, as you'll see below.
On finding the party/wellness balance
I love nutrition, I love fitness and, you know... I also like to party. I do a lot of things that a bunch of nutritionists and fuckin' fitness people will tell you not to do, so I'm a great person to talk about it because I won't judge you, you know what I mean? I do yoga every day, no matter how hard I party. Even if that means I go back to sleep. I call it the "Brian Wilson Diet" because that's all he ever did. It's all about balance. You can't tell people that are 22 to only be healthy, and you can't tell them to only party because they're going to fuckin' die.
If you knew someone who ate humans, you'd be scared! I love my mom and my dad and my brothers and sisters, and I never, ever, ever want to eat them.
The more evolved you are, it's easier to become vegetarian because at some point down the line, I don't think we'll be eating meat. I think that'll have to do a lot with environmentalists, because right now, California is in a serious drought. And I just read an article that... I think it's between 20 and 40 percent of the water in our state goes towards feeding the cows that are going to feed us. So you know, we're just wasting a lot. And eating animals, I think, is kind of barbaric. I've only been a vegetarian for about two years, and I never wanted it to be public. I was cool about being public with everything in my life besides being a vegetarian because I thought, "Fuck, if I'm older and I want to be a hypocrite and whatever..." And then I thought, "No. I want to tell the world that I'm a vegetarian because then I'll never turn back." The last thing I'd ever want to look like is a hypocrite. And so I won't eat [meat] again... I want to be public about it because I want the responsibility.
On family influence
I just want [my sister] to not be how I was at 18, 19 -- throwing cigarettes out my window and shit. It's totally fine at 16 to be selfish because we're growing... our bodies are doing so much that we have to focus on ourselves. I just want [a child] so I can teach them kind of the opposite of what I was taught... My mom gave me the most loving home that a Nashville mom ever could. But growing up in L.A., I'm just so much more aware.
On her childhood
What's crazy is people are so shocked by me being naked. It so shouldn't be a shock because every morning before school I'd run around naked and I'd get on a dirt bike and go up to a fuckin' fire that my dad would have built all night. My dad's a cool hippie psycho freak, and we would go sit by a fire all night.... In the morning I'd go to school at 8:30. So at 6 in the morning my daddy would wake me up and he'd take me into the teepee and I could run around. My dad was just this, like, Indian god to me. Deep in my ancestry there's some Native American blood, and my dad always instilled it in us.
On expanding her horizons
If I lived where I was born, I might be married with a fuckin' child by now. I would be learning a lot less. Every day I learn from being alone, and from traveling, from different cultures. And I'm totally inspired by all religions and all sexes, and I love it. I think in other places, we're just not exposed to it so you never think about it... so I don't think it's anything to blame people for.
On family and solitude
I pretty much lived with girlfriends, boyfriends, brothers and sisters. Even when I was home when I didn't have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, when I was fuckin' 15 or 16, I'd make my brother or my sister sleep in bed with me. I hated sleeping alone. I remember one time I went to this [place] that was run by a bunch of monks. They asked me what my biggest fear was, and I was like, "Being alone." Then they asked me what my second biggest fear was and I said my mom dying, because I just would never survive. Then we had to name our third biggest fear and I said, "One of my brothers or sisters dying." Because if my parents die, I'd need [them] to take care of me. Then I got really into yoga and I got into being more spiritual and learning that, at some point, everything's going to die. Now I love my day, where I hang out with my friends, but I'm in love with the night because I love going to bed by myself. I feel like you can't know yourself until you've been by yourself for a while.
I hate to sound like a goody-two-shoes, but for my brother's birthday I gave him all these Ziploc baggies filled with deodorant, toothpaste, socks and a couple bags of nuts. Because in L.A., it's so common to see so many homeless people, and I can't drive by in my fuckin' Porsche and not fuckin' give something. And I see it all day. I see people in their Bentleys, and their Rolls, and their Ubers and all that shit, just walking past these vets that fought for our country. Or these young women that have been fuckin' raped and they have no choice; they don't want to stay at home. If it's better for you to sleep on the street than be at home, then think about these people's home lives. Think about these young kids that have mental issues that haven't been able to get the help they need. Kids that just came out to L.A. to live a dream, just like me, and they didn't have the fuckin' destiny that I had. It's not fair.
On her sexuality
I was trying to think of it, like, "What do I really identify as?" Because I'm not even bisexual, I'm not even trisexual. I'm literally open to every single thing that's consenting and not an animal and is a human of age. Anything that is legal, I'm down with. I'm down with anything that, to me, is morally acceptable... If I say that I'm bisexual, I'm axing out a huge part of the world. Genitalia has nothing to do with my partnerships.
Even before I ever thought about doing anything sexual, by the time I was 11 or 12 years old, I questioned having to be stuck with boys because all the boys at my school were idiots. And I was like, "I can't... this cannot be my future." And I had some really cool teachers that were much older than me and different people that I learned from. I just always thought that when that's legal, when I'm of age, I'm never going to be against any age group, I'm never going to be against any sexuality.... When I was a kid, I knocked my head against a tree and they said I would have been dead if I was over the age of five because I would've been so scared that I would've gotten tense and broken my neck. But I didn't because I was a baby and I didn't know any better. And that's the same thing as sexuality and acceptance, I think. When you're fuckin' in kindergarten you don't think if your friend's black or white.
On reading the Bible
You see these people protesting. I go to awards shows where people are outside saying, "God hates gays" outside of the fuckin' Emmys. It's insane. I actually had to read the Bible because I went to a Christian high school. At first I hated it because I was going through all these sexual things. And I hated reading it because I felt like I was being judged. Then I loved it because some people argue with me about their religion. I've read the Bible but half of the people that are arguing with me haven't even fuckin' read it. That's fucking insane.
On striking a balance
I'm singing about empowerment while I've got my tits out, and it's like, "What the fuck?" But that is empowering because the other night I was playing with Joan Jett in Dallas and I was in nipple pasties, like, "Fuck, maybe I shouldn't go out. These people in Dallas are going to be really offended." And then I thought, "No, there are people that need to see it." They need to see a woman standing next to another chick playing guitar, fuckin' singing a rock 'n' roll song with their tits out. Not just like, wrap their legs around a fucking pole. Which is fine too, if you choose. I'm down with that also if you're trying to make money. I'm like, "DO IT! DO YOUR THING!" As long as you're not hurting anyone else, your choices are your choices.
On her diverse collaborators
I pretty much have been [working] with Mike Will and the [Flaming] Lips, and I may be the only person that can bring those two people together. They all went to a 2Chainz concert, which is also hilarious. And I was also in 1 Oak the other night with fuckin' Flaming Lips and Mike Will. I got Mike on one side with the homies, I got the Lips on one side with a bunch of fucking freaks from Oklahoma. I'm like, "This is just too cool." It's something new for the Lips, which is awesome, and it's something new for Mike... all of us are getting something new.
On her backyard sessions
I just want something that was without the stunts, without the nipple pasties, without the weed. I wanted something that America could watch. I wanted to give them something that's like, "OK, you're not afraid of this." If I'm overly aggressive, it would just be like, "Turn that shit off. Of course that bitch with fucking nipple pasties thinks that gay people should get married. She's smoking weed! She's a psychopath." That's why I wanted Ariana to do it -- like, yo, they'll listen to her! Then when Ariana comes out and says I agree with it, maybe it makes it a little less insane.
On her favorite rapper
My favorite rapper, which is kind of actually random... I'm obsessed with Big Sean. I know him as a friend, and everything he goes through in his life, I hear in his raps. And it just so cool to see people actually writing their life.
On evolving in public
"I'll say this: when you go to Spotify [and type in my name] now, I don't want my related searches to [keep being] my related searches. No disrespect! Just take me fucking seriously! Listen to my new music! I'm not just the "We Can't Stop,""Wrecking Ball" bitch! I'm doing real shit! I'm singing about real things.
On whether she could imagine herself marrying a woman
I do. I've had that...There's even been things that were as serious as I've had with any public male figure. But people never really looked at it and I never brought it into the spotlight. Whoever is the coolest person I could ever relate to, you know.