Book Review: Miley Cyrus: Modern Role Models - A Cross-Currents Biography
Publication Date: October 30, 2008
Publisher: Mason Crest Publishers
· David Robson
· Official Site - Miley Cyrus
by Paul Schultz
Published: October 15, 2009
Miley Cyrus: Modern Role Models is one of many celebrities showcased in a series from Mason Crest Publishers dubbed A Cross-Currents Biography. Throughout the chapters Cross-Currents reference boxes direct you a different section at the back of the book containing fascinating and informative sidebars and related pictures. They are indeed engrossing side trips that enhance the context of the main text, though it makes for a lot of page-flipping. On the other hand, it also streamlines the biography by offsetting any distracting trivia elsewhere.
It is broken up into five chapters, and The Best starts things off with a taste of what it's like to attend a Hannah Montana concert before giving an overview of Miley's career, why she was destined for the limelight by having a famous father, and events that brought her to the top of the entertainment world. Smiley starts with her origin as Destiny Hope Cyrus, so named by her mother, Tish, because she thought her daughter's destiny would be to bring the world hope. Born in 1992, the year her father Billy Ray Cyrus would hit it big with "Achy Breaky Heart," a smash hit that would dominated both the country and pop charts, the youngster soon gained the nickname "Smiley" because of her sunny disposition (and because she couldn't pronounce this new moniker, it became "Miley"!). Her father landed the lead role on the television series, Doc, necessitating a family move from their farm outside of Franklin, Tennessee to Toronto, Canada. After guest appearances on her father's series, being featured in Rhonda Vincent's music video "If Heartaches Have Wings" and a small role in Tim Burton's theatrical film "Big Fish," the acting bug had officially bitten young Miley Cyrus.
The Big Audition came after eleven year old Miley sent a videotape of her acting to "the house that Walt built." Initially, Disney Channel president Gary Marsh dismissed her as too young and too small for their current needs. But as casting on a new show dragged on, Miley grew a bit and after several auditions finally landed the lead role on Hannah Montana, the adventures of an ordinary middle-school girl leading the double life of a famous pop star. Actually, it was a double success when Billy Ray was cast as her father on the show. The Birth of a Phenom charts the success spawned by the March 24, 2006 premiere of Hannah Montana to a soundtrack album to blonde wigs, dolls, jewelry, handbag, and makeup. Making friends with co-stars Emily Osment and Mitchel Musso and having her family close by would keep her level-headed about her rising fame and fortune.
Annette Funicello (left) and Hayley Mills (right) are two other teen stars that Disney brought
to prominence, and an example of the enriching sidebars sprinkled throughout the text.
Both Worlds is what Miley experienced the best of, as the second season of Hannah Montana began in the spring of 2007 and a headlining tour featuring both Miley and her onscreen persona commenced that fall. The next year dawn with a legal name-change to Miley Ray Cyrus and the release into theaters of "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus - Best of Both Worlds Concert: The 3-D Movie." The Jonas Brothers were special guests on the tour, but the highlight of the razzle-dazzle show was Miley barefoot on a stool in the middle of the stage, strumming an acoustic guitar and singing a heartfelt tribute to her grandfather titled, "I Miss You." Watching Miley balance "the best of both worlds" is an inspiration to many young girls as they pursue their own dreams.
The book concludes with a chronology, list of accomplishments and awards, internet resources and suggestions for further reading (including Mad for Miley and Miley Mania! which you can read about right here at The Trades!). Featuring the flushed starlet on the cover, Miley Cyrus: Modern Role Models was written by David Robson, who manages to work in an "All the world's a stage..." quote from William Shakespeare's As You Like It, and contributes an impressive vocabulary of words, included in a glossary at the end (for example, faux pas in "The Seatbelt Controversy"). Oversize quotes from fans, family, and entertainment media pepper the text, and it is an overall well-written account sized for this 64-page hardcover. Additionally, there is a good selection of little-seen photos, including press photographers lining the red carpet in Hannah Montana wigs, Miley's pool-jumping scene from "High School Musical 2" and particularly of a young Miley in daddy's arms during a mid-'90s concert and in the front seat of his pick-up truck.
An example of other titles in the Modern Role Models series run the gamut from musicians (Soulja Boy, Tell 'Em, Gwen Stefani) to inexplicable (American Idol Judges) to athletes (David Beckham, Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova) to entertainers (Raven-Symoné, Criss Angel) to somewhere in between the last two (John Cena, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson).