Seven years on from her memorable VMAs performance featuring Robin Thicke and a giant foam finger, Miley Cyrus has opened up about the impact the intense backlash had on her, then just 20-years-old.
Speaking to fellow popstar and actress Demi Lovato, 27, in a self-isolation Instagram live chat this week, Cyrus said the reaction to her performance, particularly her now-iconic nude leather two-piece outfit, delivered a blow to her confidence.
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As the former Disney star took the MTV stage for the Video Music Awards in 2013, waggling her tongue and twerking against Thicke in his monochrome striped suit, a number of images emerged likening the Hannah Montana star to a raw turkey given the insipid colour palette of her costume.
Speaking to Lovato about the body image struggles she suffered after the appearance and ensuing memes, Cyrus said she felt embarrassed to show skin on stage.
"I basically went through two or three years where I wouldn't wear shorts. I stopped wearing skirts on stage, all this s*** because after the VMAs and I had on my cute little nude bodysuit, everyone started comparing me to a turkey and putting a turkey in my outfit," she shared.
"I was just so skinny and so pasty and they kept putting me next to this turkey, and I was feeling so bad on myself that I did not wear a bikini for like two years and no one thought that that would ever made me feel some type of way."
She continued, "I think what was so hard about it was my brand has always been about being so unapologetically myself and being confident, and the worse thing that I would feel like I would be to my fans is lying or a fraud."
Cyrus spoke to her fans in a live chat with Lovato while both stars practice social isolation amid coronavirus pandemic concerns.
It comes after the singer cancelled her Melbourne bushfire relief concert performance earlier this month as a precautionary measure.
The singer announced the cancellation last Tuesday, saying she was disappointed not to be in Australia but had to protect her band and crew.
"I will still be making a donation to help the victims of the Australian bush fire. I'm sorry to miss everyone in Australia, but I will be back soon," she said on Twitter.
The artist said her decision was based on the recommendations of local, state, federal and international government authorities to reduce health risks.