Born: November 23, 1992
Famous since: 2006
Connections: Daughter of the formerly mulleted one-hit-wonder Billy Ray Cyrus, ex-girlfriend of teen heartthrob Nick Jonas, close friend of Demi Lovato.
Known for: Cyrus rose to stardom as the lead on the Disney Channel original series Hannah Montana, but became even more famous thanks to some duckface MySpace photos, cleverly edited YouTube videos, and a little song called “Party in the U.S.A.” She’s basically a national hero.
Talent quotient: Miley’s got a fairly impressive set of pipes, even if she sounds a little like she’s been on a diet of cigarettes and whiskey for a few years now. Unfortunately, audiences might be a little too distracted by the clothes she isn’t wearing to notice.
Cyrus’ post-Disney ventures into Big Kid acting projects – like the maudlin romance The Last Song – haven’t won her too much acclaim: The New York Times’ A.O. Scott sniped, “Acting, for the moment at least, seems almost entirely beyond her. Most of the time she seems to be mugging for the camera, play-acting rather than exploring the motives and feelings of her character.”
But she’s really good at posing for pictures!
Scandal quotient: If there’s anyone who knows damage control, it’s Miley. She’s weathered inappropriate photo scandals, onstage stripper pole scandals, “lesbian kiss” scandals, bong scandals, and even Bob Marley cake scandals. And she’s apologized for about half of them.
Projects in 2012: Miley has two movies coming out next year, starting with LOL, an English-language remake of a French film about a teenager who loses her virginity, smokes pot, drinks like a fish and wants to get rid of her goody-two-shoes image (ahem). Family-friendly fare! Miley has also lent her startlingly gruff voice to the upcoming animated film Hotel Transylvania. It’s unclear whether she has any plans to record another full-length album, given how poorly her last “grown up” effort was received stateside.
Our Call: At this point, Cyrus’ future success is entirely contingent on whether she can convince audiences to take her seriously as an actress. It’s clear that she has no interest in being a clean teen pop act anymore, and that’s fine, given she’ll enter her twenties in a matter of months. But if she actually wants to find post-Hannah Montana success, she’s going to have to be very selective with future material – and convince studio-types that she’s got the chops for those watershed roles.