The Family Cyrus
As Lainey said last week, Miley surged in 2013. The music stands. It stands up alongside Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Lorde, and any pop album put out this year. Although Miley’s been famous for a long time, this is the year she actually arrived.
But like many child stars from large families, Miley has pretty long coattails with a few people willing to jump on it. Simply Cyrus, a new webseries starring the Cyrus clan, has just been announced. It’s not quite a reality show, but more of a variety show: dad Billy Ray will be doing music, little sister Noah (wearing a Twerk t-shirt in the promo video) will be sharing videos she made with friends, mom Trish is hosting some kind of mini advice/talk show, while sister Brandi will be handling the social media rundown and style portion. Brother Trace was also part of the intro, and Miley and Braison were mentioned and had their photos flashed, but didn’t appear in the video.
Family acts are not a phenomenon of modern fame – just look at the Jacksons and the Osmonds. But for every Michael there is a Tito and for every Janet there’s a LaToya. When one person in the family has that “extra,” it’s hardest for the people closest to them to recognize that they aren’t the same, even though they’re from the same gene pool. Success in show business is an imperfect science; there’s no real rhyme or reason sometimes (like why is Ben Affleck more famous than his brother Casey Affleck?) and sometimes, like in the case of Michael Jackson, it is very obvious that one child’s talent rises above the rest.
So is Miley more talented than Brandi or Trace? Who knows, but it doesn’t really matter. Miley’s career has far surpassed her father’s. Noah will always be five steps behind, just like Jamie Lynn will never be as famous or beloved as Britney. I don’t know if a stage parent can recognize which one is “the star” and have the frank ,“You probably won’t be as famous as your sister,” discussion, but as a manger, aren’t you obligated to set some realistic goals for your client? Or does your duty as a supportive parent trump that?
And if you are the famous sibling, how much of a responsibility do you have to help your brothers and sisters get a little bit of your spotlight? Because let’s be honest, that’s exactly where the spotlight would be coming from.
Right now, Miley’s commitment to Simply Cyrus isn’t clear. At the time of this writing, she didn’t tweet the video or make any mention of it. She didn’t film a segment for it (yes, she is busy, but the video is very informal and could have been done anywhere). If she doesn’t participate, people may interpret that as ungrateful to her Cyrus roots, which definitely helped her launch her Hannah Montana career. But if she does participate, how does she separate Miley the artist from Miley, the supportive daughter/sister? She certainly doesn’t need to be part of a YouTube series, but does she feel like she should be? How does that conversation go? Is there a flat out request, or just some roundabout hints? When attempting to build the career of four other children off the talent of one, is there any hope all the kids will walk away feeling satisfied, valued and not taken advantage of?
I wonder if it’s weird to compete with your parents and siblings for screen time, or if in families like this it is normal, like fighting your sister for more time in the bathroom.