The 23-year-old singer has been in the spotlight since nabbing the lead role in Disney Channel's Hannah Montanawhen she was just 11 years old, and in a new interview, she talks about the evolution of her formerly squeaky clean image to the outspoken artist she is today.
"In 2013, when I did the VMAs, it became the biggest story in the world," she recalls. "I never expected that to happen. I just did my own thing. I went out there dressed as a teddy bear, danced with teddy bears, never thought about the world thinking that was going to be a bad thing."
"It was making me feel like I was living a dumb life -- like I should just pick another job," she adds. "I didn’t understand my power at that point. People listen because of who I am, so instead of being embarrassed, I should say: 'F**k yeah, I got the microphone.' ... I think I just felt so stupid. I felt like what I was doing didn't have value, because being a pop star was really silly when people are homeless and hungry."
"My whole life, I didn't understand my own gender and my own sexuality," she shares. "I always hated the word 'bisexual,' because that’s even putting me in a box. I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl. Also, my nipple pasties and sh** never felt sexualized to me."
"My first relationship in my life was with a chick," she continues. "I grew up in a very religious southern family. The universe has always given me the power to know I’ll be OK. Even at that time, when my parents didn’t understand, I just felt that one day they are going to understand."
"My mom is like an '80s rock chick -- big blonde hair, big boobs. She loves being a girl. I never felt that way," she says. "I know some girls that love getting their nails done. I f**king hated it. My nails look like sh**. I don't wax my eyebrows. I never related to loving being a girl. And then, being a boy didn’t sound fun to me. I think the LGBTQ alphabet could continue forever. But there's a 'P' that should happen, for 'pansexual.'"
"Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more," she adds. "I was like, 'Oh -- that’s why I don't feel straight and I don't feel gay. It's because I'm not.'"
The "We Can't Stop" singer says her empowerment comes from feeling like she has a purpose now.
"On my tombstone, I didn't want the 'Wrecking Ball' lyrics. I wanted it to be something greater," she notes. "I’m the only f**king Disney star who would say I'm pro lesbian and gay, before it was OK to say that."
Cyrus, an outspoken Bernie Sanders supporter, makes it clear she is now supporting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Interestingly enough, she compares Donald Trump to the Kardashian family.
"I do think there's something that goes with the Kardashians and Trump," she muses. "The Kardashians are better than Trump, because they are not trying to run the country. They are just trying to be famous, and that's fine. We are obsessed with celebrity. When Trump started this, I was laughing. I thought, 'It's not going to go anywhere; there's no way he'll be the candidate.'"
The former Disney star later addresses some criticism she's faced when it comes to working with controversial director Woody Allen on his new Amazon show, Crisis in Six Scenes. Allen was accused by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, of molesting her as a child in a February 2014 Op-Ed for The New York Times. The original sexual assault claims in 1992 prompted a six-month investigation that turned up no credible evidence, and the prosecutor declined to charge the director with a crime. Allen, 80, has also strongly denied the claims.
"I live a similar life to Woody -- I live a public life," Cyrus explains. "Until I know someone and I know their story, I never really judge anyone. That's kind of how I went into it. From the way I saw him with his family, I never saw him be anything but an incredible person and a really great dad."
"People might slam me for saying that," she adds. "I'm sure it was a hard time for that family. My family has been through hard things, and I think everyone's suffering is different."
"People saw me as being wild, and literally all I do is I'm obsessed with yoga, I love hiking, and I'm reading constantly," she says. "My life is so positive. From the outside, people think I'm partying with rappers. That was back in my prime."