Miley Cyrus knows millions of fans -- and thousands of websites and blogs -- pay attention
to her every move.
"But then what do I do once I have everyone's attention?" she asks in a new interview at Out.com
After raising the profile of one Los Angeles organization by inviting a young homeless man to last year’s MTV Video Music Awards – and having him accept her award onstage – Miley is ready for a bigger and more permanent home for her activism. "I've experienced fame, and money, and all that sh**," she said, "and none of it will make you as happy as when you're actually fighting for something."
So on Tuesday, she officially launched her new organization, the Happy Hippie Foundation, which will work to raise money and attention to fight homelessness. Because an estimated 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, the group will focus its efforts on digital support groups that might help prevent young people from running away -- or being rejected by parents because they are gay or transgender -- in the first place.
She kicked off fundraising efforts with a series of "Backyard Sessions" performances, including singing Joan Jett’s song "Different" with the legendary rocker herself:
Future "Sessions" include collaborations with Ariana Grande and Laura Jane Grace, the transgender singer of the punk band Against Me.
Miley chose to focus on homelessness, she says, "Because it's something that we all see every single day. It's like the birds chirping -- we just ignore it because we're so used to it. You're looking down at your phone, but you never look at someone who's sitting there and needs help." And she’s been encouraging her fans to stand up for equality, too, calling on Twitter followers to protest proposed anti-gay laws in Indiana and Arkansas.
"As you get older," she says, "you start to realize what's happening around you. You realize, this isn't the world I want to be living in. And you say, what do I really want my life to be about?"
In its mission statement, Happy Hippie
says it's not afraid to court controversy, much like its founder. That apparently even extends to a more guerrilla marketing approach – Photoshopping pictures of celebs wearing the organization's happy face logo.
"I’m shameless when it comes to my foundation," Miley says. "Is Kanye-f**king-West gonna come after me? I'm using all these people as my models for it -- but they can't yell at me, it's for my foundation!"