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The Role Miley Cyrus Regrets Taking

While Miley Cyrus is known for breaking the rules and going against the grain, the pop star wasn't always so comfortable in her own skin. Starting out as a child star on the Disney series Hannah Montana, which ran from 2006-2011, Cyrus grew up in a highly controlled environment where she worried about her self-image every day. The musician and actress who's known for experimenting across genres, from pop and hip-hop to country and psych-rock, admits that being on the popular show caused her to experience anxiety and self-doubt about everything from her body image to her future as a performer. She says that, at times, it even felt like the role eclipsed her own personality.

Reflecting on the 15th anniversary of the show on Twitter, Cyrus penned a heartfelt letter to her former character, touching on both the positive and negative feelings she has about the role. Here's how she broke it all down in her letter, and eventually to Rolling Stone.

Cyrus would frequently compare herself to Hannah Montana

While she seems to have largely come to terms with the effect the role had on her younger self, Cyrus penned a letter to her fictional alter ego in an effort to address her feelings about that time of her life. "Hi Hannah," she wrote. "It's been a while. 15 years to be exact." She explained that, "Although you are considered to be an 'alter ego,' in reality there was a time in my life when you held more of my identity in your glovette than I did in my bare hands."

She told Rolling Stone that the role had nearly taken over her life as a young woman, and caused her to compare herself to the fictional achievements of her character. "I had to evolve because Hannah was larger than life, larger than me," she said. "I felt like I was never going to amount to the success of Hannah Montana."

Hannah Montana caused Cyrus to experience major anxiety

In addition to the emotional stress of the role, Cyrus said there was added physical stress as well. "I would have anxiety attacks," she told Marie Claire. I'd get hot flashes, feel like I was about to pass up or throw up. It would happen a lot before shows ... You get in this hole that seems like you're never going to be able to get out of."

Cyrus experienced body dysmorphia as a result of the role, as well. "From the time I was 11, it was, 'You're a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing," she said. "I was made to look like someone that I wasn't, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long."

Eventually, Cyrus felt it was time to leave the series. "Once I was 18 because it felt ridiculous," she told Rolling Stone. "The minute I had sex, I was kind of like, I can't put the fucking wig on again. It got weird. It just felt like ... I was grown up."

Miley still sees the positive of Hannah Montana

Even though the role had plenty of negative effects on her, Cyrus still sees the good in the role. She's proud that so many artists were inspired by the show, including Lil Nas X, who went on to collaborate with her father, the actor and country musician Billy Ray Cyrus. "That's how Lil Nas X actually knew of my dad," Cyrus said. "He grew up watching 'Hannah Montana' and said, 'I want to do a song with Robby Ray.' That's literally what happened. Being a young queer kid's idol that could turn out to be a Lil Nas X and create a whole identity for themselves off being inspired from watching me growing up."

The same goes for Cardi B, who apparently was a Hannah Montana fan. "I feel like I'm just not ashamed of that anymore," she told Elle. "It's pretty cool when you hear Cardi B was listening to Hannah Montana when she was in high school. That shit makes me happy.
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