"I will never do a red carpet again. Why, when people are starving, am I on a carpet that's red? Because I'm 'important'? Because I'm 'famous'? That's not how I roll.”
Miley Cyrus. Hannah Montana. Insta-Warrior. Whatever you call her now, you know who she is, where she is, and what she’s doing. From Disney Princess to Pop Paragon, her life and work is broadcast universally like an unstoppable continuation of The Truman Show.
Most recently, she’s the new queen of "The Voice" in the US. But most know her as the multi-platinum headline grabbing pop star provocateur from that music video you saw once on YouTube. Yet you might still be surprised. In a recent interview with Elle, she said she won't walk on a red carpet ever again whilst 795 million people in the world go hungry.
Here are six more reasons why Miley Cyrus is an off-the-wall social justice role model:
1) Gave VMA Award to Young Homeless Man
In 2014, 'Wrecking Ball' won the MTV VMA Award for Video of the Year. Instead of taking the stage herself to soak up some more camera time, she let homeless runaway Jesse Hall accept the award on the behalf of 1.6 million forgotten homeless Americans. She even let him keep it afterwards. Here’s what he had to say when he took the stage:
"I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost, and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I'm one of these people. ... I've survived in shelters all over the city. I've cleaned your hotel rooms. I've been an extra in your movies. I've been an extra in your life. Although I may have been invisible to you on the streets, I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight."
2) Dedicated Her 20th Birthday to Charity
Who needs birthday presents? Cyrus brought her teen years to an end with a fundraiser with her fans for two different charities: Saving Spot! Dog Rescue and the Starkey Hearing Foundation. In response to her continued public protest against animal cruelty, PETA even sponsored a rescue pig called Nora on her behalf.
@peta Thank you so much for saving Nora in honor of my bday :) please send photos of the little cutie 🐷🐷🐷— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) November 23, 2012
3) Donated $500,000 to AIDS Research
At the amfAR LA Inspiration Gala, Cyrus bought a photograph for a massive $300,000, and made an additional donation of $200,000 just to round it up. A year later, she was invited back to accept the Inspiration Award, and brought the room to its feet with a rousing speech on vital LGBT issues. In her own words, “Nothing means s*** except f****** helping people!”
4) Founded Her Own Nonproft to Help Homeless
Last year, Cyrus started a new organization called the Happy Hippy Foundation, to fight the rising numbers of young people living on US streets. 40% of the homeless youth are LGBT, and the organization aims specifically to help those most marginalised find the help they need.
5) Powerful Voice for the LGBT Community
Cyrus is a staunch public supporter of LGBT rights. She’s called out politicians who supported a law in Indiana that discriminated against gay people. When she was the host of the MTV VMAs, she invited the LGBT youth that she helped through the Happy Hippy Foundation on stage with her for the closing number. She even has a tattoo of the equality sign on her middle finger.
6) Passionate Feminist
In her longstanding battle for social equality, Cyrus freely identifies as a feminist. Whilst Taylor Swift may have taken her time, Cyrus has never been afraid to boldly claim the label as her own.
"I feel like I'm one of the biggest feminists in the world because I tell women to not be scared of anything,"
The world has made incredible progress since Cyrus first auditioned to become Hannah Montana. Nearly a billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day. Since the year she was born, the number of people suffering from hunger has fallen by over 216 million people. As artists like her step up for justice, even more progress can be made. There is enough food on our planet to feed everybody. Even if only Cyrus can get away with riding a giant hot dog, we can all join her voice in calling for the end of world poverty.