It’s beginning to sound like a broken record. A teen idol reveals a bit too much in photographs that end up before the public eye. Quickly, they shift into damage control with an “I’m oh-so sorry” apology. They made a mistake. It was poor judgment. They will learn from this and grow. Etc. Etc.
Miley Cyrus seemed different. She said the right things and was Disney’s poster child as pop-star/TV star Hannah Montana. Until last week, she had come under fire only once, for forgetting to wear her seat belt. Her parents seemed to do an excellent job of keeping her grounded and away from the bad element of Hollywood teen-dom. Then, borderline photos of Cyrus — showing off part of a green bra in one — hit the Internet last week. Now, she’s also apologizing for a phoot shoot in Vanity Fair’s June issue in which she bares her back while holding a silk sheet over her naked chest.
All of this leads us to one question: What happened to all the teen role models? Take a moment to come up with a list of 10. You can start with… Well, maybe… OK, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. Ashley Tisdale is about the only one coming to mind, and frankly, after Cyrus’ recent stumble, I’m holding my breath on her, too. Sad, isn’t it?
As a parent, I willingly endured the many encores of “High School Musical.” The mind-numbing songs were tolerable next to the antics on shows such as “Gossip Girl.” Then racy pics of HSM star Vanessa Hudgens showed up online and poof, that teen role model was gone.
Now, Cyrus has shown she’s not infallible either. Granted, part of the blame does fall on Vanity Fair and photographer Annie Leibovitz. I don’t doubt they pushed for the half-naked shot in order to sell magazines. They essentially exploited a 15-year-old, but Cyrus’ grandmother and teacher were on hand when that shot was taken. They should have known better. And yes, the Internet photos were “silly,” of a young girl goofing off. But when parents plunk down millions of dollars for CDS and concert tickets, we do so in part to give our kids someone they can look up to.
Instead, I have to sit down with my step-daughter once again and explain what went wrong. I have to stress how this was a mistake, poor judgment and a learning experience for Cyrus. We have to talk about why taking “silly” pictures is never a good idea. As for role models, I’m open to suggestions. If you can think of any, please share them. Ten may not be easy, but hey, even one is better than none.