For a teen idol who is suddenly glossy magazine fodder, Miley Cyrus is remarkably sanguine about the infamous bare-shoulder, bedsheet-entwined photo that appeared recently in Vanity Fair and sparked a furore over the exploitation of young girls.
"I was embarrassed," she says in her rapid, self-assured clip, "but also every career thing that I do can't be perfect, and sometimes my decisions are wrong. However, I think that just makes me even more relatable.
"I don't think people will look at me any differently, because they're like 'You know what, I'm going to do stupid stuff, too, and I'm going to make mistakes, and that's fine.' It still hurts when I think about it – but it doesn't mean you can't move on."
Cyrus certainly has done just that. She has a new album, Breakout, due on July 22, and is filming a Hannah Montana movie in Tennessee, the US, followed by a return to Disney studios to can another season of the show that made her a household name.
First cast as Hannah Montana at 12, she quickly developed a tween following, playing a character who's an ordinary schoolgirl by day and a rock star by night. The franchise quickly grew from a TV series to a full-blown marketing juggernaut, with five affiliated albums moving 7.29 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and a 70-date, sold-out US tour that led mothers to write fictional essays about dead fathers to win tickets.
But with her new album, Cyrus is introducing her fans to a new side of her personality. Here, the hard-working professional talks about her work and the importance of being a good role model.
How is the new album different from your previous efforts?
It's grown-up. I wrote all the songs except two. My last one, Meet Miley Cyrus, was more just meeting me, finding out who I am, and here it's more getting in depth of what's been going on in my life in the past year.
Not many people know you are a songwriter. Tell us about your process?
Songwriting is what I really want to do with my life for ever. No matter how long what I'm doing here lasts, I want to be a songwriter the rest of my life. I love it and it's my escape. I just hope this record showcases that, more than anything, I'm a writer.
Isn't your film tied to the Hannah Montana story?
It's basically about going back to Tennessee and wanting to kind of get back to your roots, but realising maybe you [really] don't want that. I think the movie is about having the Hannah character not disappear, but kind of be put on the back burner for a minute and have Miley just show her talent and ambitions and dreams and other things more than just the Hannah life.
Do you plan to act in other films that aren't connected to Disney or Hannah Montana? Perhaps a really edgy indie film where you break out of the box?
I've been talking to people about some cool movies, but right now I mostly want to stay within my company and keep them happy and keep everything that we're doing successful and focus on that. I like to give everything I do 120 per cent, and unless I can focus hardcore on that, I don't want to do it yet.
You come across as someone concerned with being a good role model. How do stay true to yourself?
It's something I've been super blessed with, that I've had the opportunity and the ability to spread the light. That doesn't mean I'm not going to make mistakes and do things that not everyone is happy with – there's no such thing as perfection.
Who do you look up to, have you had a mentor who helped you stay focused?
—Mostly my mom. No one knows better than the person that made Billy Ray Cyrus, you know what I mean? My mom was a huge part of my dad during Achy Breaky Heart and all that. No one knows better than her because of what my dad's already been through. And when he forgot most of it, my mom remembers every moment.
Breakout. By Miley Cyrus. Set for release on July 22.