Miley Cyrus is a singer, actress and a pop culture agent provocateur, and at age 20 she couldn't be happier with her life or her new album "Bangerz" — no matter what the critics or the headlines have to say.
"I don't ever really plan to offend people, but sometimes that happens because I think people, they're not open to what they don't understand," she told TODAY's Matt Lauer Monday during a visit to the plaza, in which she also she performed "We Can't Stop" and "Wrecking Ball" while flanked by dancers dressed up as a rainbow and mushrooms — then returned later with an old favorite, "Party in the U.S.A."
These days Cyrus, who rose to fame as the lead on Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana," has been working hard to rewrite her resume, and has become a lightning rod for controversy, from her racy, twerking performance at MTV's Video Music Awards to her recent open letter-based feud with fellow controversial artist Sinead O'Connor, to her hosting appearance over the weekend on "Saturday Night Live."
"This is just who I am," she said, about navigating those tricky waters between child star and adult artist. "It's only hard if you're trying to be something you're not. Being who you are is really easy, if you're true to that."
So is the sexual side she's been putting on display going away any time soon? Maybe when she turns 40, which is the age when Cyrus believes people "don't have sex any more."
When Lauer revealed that he was 55, she quipped, "Oh, then you're really definitely not sexual."
Meanwhile, she had nothing but nice things to say about O'Connor, who penned three open letters to Cyrus last week, a correspondence that quickly degenerated after Cyrus used Twitter to respond. "I think she's an incredible artist, I think she's awesome songwriter, and I was really inspired by her for my 'Wrecking Ball' video," said Cyrus, who also seemed genuinely baffled by the turn things took. "I don't know how someone can start a fight with somebody by saying, 'Hey, I really respect you and I really love what you did ... you know what, you suck.' That was kind of crazy."
For now, she won't admit to any kind of long-term plans, but says she's "focused" on her album and her 2014 tour. "I don't really worry about anything, 'cause I know who I am, and I know that I am an artist," she said. "I put all this time and this effort into my record, and my record is proof of really who I am."
She has no regrets. "I can't change anything, can't go back," she said. "I can do a lot of things, but I can't change the past. ... I just live my life the way it is, and I don't really regret anything."
First published October 7 2013, 6:31 AM