Like many other Gen Z kids, I was very into Hannah Montana. I genuinely think it’s where I get my love for music (and being dramatic). When I mentioned to my mom that it was the show’s 15th anniversary yesterday, she looked at me with the same face she made years ago when I begged her for the overpriced glitter pens because they needed to have Hannah Montana on them.
Now, I didn’t remain a big enough HM stan to know that the anniversary was rolling around, but I was excited to see my generation bombard Twitter with enough tweets to make it start trending. All of the clips from the show made me miss the days when life was simpler and all I had to worry about was getting the remote before my brother.
In honor of 15 years of Hannah Montana, an all time cameo (and a question from our trivia today) pic.twitter.com/FcjDRmk5uc— Chicks in the Office (@ChicksInTheOff) March 24, 2021
Although going down memory lane was fun, what really had people buzzing was the Hannah Montana account being verified:
From there, fans were excited to see what this could mean. No way this was a coincidence, because nothing is in pop culture. So it was no surprise when Miley Cyrus paid tribute in a tweet. It was the fondness of her memories that stood out to me.
The letter mentioned lots of ups and downs, bittersweet moments, and her appreciation for the alter-ego. But why now?
Despite my obsession with Hannah as a child, growing up and seeing Miley completely abandon her Disney days had me almost look back at these memories with sadness for her. In the letter, she wrote, “Although you are considered to be an ‘alter-ego’, in reality there was a time in my life when you held more of my identity in your glovette than I did in my bare hands. We had an equal exchange in which you provided a superlative amount of fame in return for the anonymity I could gift to you. But a lot has changed since then.”
Between her infamous 2013 VMA’s performance and “Wrecking Ball” music video, it was pretty clear that she was trying to break free from the G-rated Disney star trope that dictated everything she did while growing up. Just like so many other Disney stars, Miley has spoken about the toxicity that formed her childhood, such as struggling with body image and anxiety attacks on set. However, she also wrote how her time as Miss Montana made her “wildest dreams come true,” and even said one of her proudest moments in life was seeing a commercial before the show’s premiere.
After taking a look at how much of a rollercoaster Miley’s life has been so far, I think this celebration of Hannah is her finding peace with the character and who they both were. As she said in her letter, Hannah is a part of her. The appreciation for not only the role, but her crew, cast, team, and everyone involved in making her dream a reality came through. At the end of the day, Hannah is what brought her where she is today--making music she truly loves. It’s sad that sometimes reaching those dreams also includes letting go of a childhood that was “normal”. And I hope that even though Miley came out on the other side, the pop culture machine is keeping in mind the dangers of putting children into such a vulnerable and demanding spot. If I’m being honest, I feel complicit. Even though I didn’t know any better while watching the show as a kid, I currently find myself saying things like, “Disney shows just don’t hit the same as they used to.” But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe after watching so many young stars fall victim to the horrors of child stardom, they took a step back. I’d like to hope that was Disney’s motive, but I’m pretty sure it was the surge of social media stars that took over.
Which brings me to my next point: I’m wondering if this Hannah Montana stuff is over quite yet. It might just be the little girl inside of me, but I don’t think the team would put so much work into an anniversary for the show if it didn’t mean something was on the horizon. Celebrities like Joe Jonas, Selena Gomez, and rap group, Migos, had epic Hannah Montana flowers delivered to them, which were obviously shared on social media as well. Something that social media does really well is create hype, and every good project has some good hype behind it.