Entertainment behind the scenes
The heat has been cranking up for months around 15-year-old singer and actor Miley Cyrus, and it rose even higher this week as the star fended off a much-publicized advertising offer from a condom maker and confessed to feeling overworked on her hit Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana.”
From the media firestorm around Miley come conflicting reports about her life and career, and one wonders if the young woman is more pawn than princess in a red hot Hollywood chess game. It all brings to mind the recent, personal meltdowns of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, who also broke through to fame as teenagers.
Dr. Kimberly Williams, a pediatric neuropsychiatrist at New York University’s Child Study Center, said the national media spotlight can be too much for young stars like Cyrus. “This is just a typical teenager who just has peer pressure, social issues at school to worry about, and so now we add the weight of the nation and that kind of scrutiny,” Williams said.
Even though Cyrus wears a purity ring signifying her chastity until marriage, media reports this week said she received a $1 million offer from LifeStyles condoms to appear in an advertising campaign for the company.
Cyrus’ representative told E! News the star had not even received an offer and that she would not even consider it. A spokeswoman for Lifestyles declined to comment.
Separately, Cyrus told E! News in an interview that she think her Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana” may be nearing its end. Cyrus portrays Hannah, who at school is just an average teenager but has another, secret life as a pop singing sensation.
“We’re thinking this is our last season,” Cyrus told E! The star said that she has played Hannah Montana since she was 11, and she added that the heavy work load included shooting “two seasons in one last year.”
But her representative downplayed Cyrus comments, telling E! that “Hannah Montana” not only starts production on a third season August 4 but also has an option for a fourth beyond that. A “Hannah Montana” movie is scheduled for a spring 2009 release.
“You’ve got a stressed out, depressed teenager who still has to go and go and go, and no one has time to hear, ‘Oh Miley, you’re tired,’” Williams said.
In April this year, a photo of a Cyrus apparently topless and covered with a only sheet emerged from a Vanity Fair magazine photo shoot by famed photographer Annie Liebovitz. Many Cyrus watchers saw it as far too adult for a 15 year-old, and Cyrus had to apologize to her fans. Yet this month Cyrus released a new pop CD called “Breakout” that she described as “grown up.”
Spears, 26, is an alumnus of the Disney star factory as she appeared on the Disney Channel as part of the Mickey Mouse Club when she was a child. Like many child stars, she encountered personal problems later in life and was briefly hospitalized twice earlier this year for psychiactric evaluation.