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The secret life of Miley Cyrus: you know her as the Disney channel's Hannah Montana. Or is it Miley Stewart? Wait a minute. Would the real Miss Cyrus, please, stand up?

HAN-NAH!! HAN-NAH!! Hannah Montana fans never stop screaming. Or banging their feet on the large arena floorboards. Or waving their: green glow sticks back and forth above their heads. It s mostly girls (and a few boys)--more than 10,000 fans--who are waiting for the blond singer to emerge onstage so they can finally hear and see her live instead of on TV. These fans scored their hard-to-get tickets, and they want Hannah now.

HAN-NAH!! HAN-NAH!!

The chanting grows crazy-loud. The arena gets dark, and the jumbo monitor above the stage shows a glittery, '80s-outfitted popstar exiting her glam dressing room. The audience screams louder. On-screen, the camera follows the tall, lean star walking toward the now barely-under-control sold-out audience.

"I'm Hannah Montana! Let's get this party started! How y'all doin' tonight?" The crowd's deafening roar means everyone is doin' fine. Live and in person is their new favorite Disney star. A girl can't help screaming herself hoarse.

"I'm so glad you're here tonight," Hannah says before introducing a song off the recently released Hannah Montana soundtrack. The crowd is on its feet, singing every word along with her. After Hannah, the Cheetah Girls do their thing, an even bigger production. All in all, it's two hours of hot show.

The Cheetahs will heat up stages around the country weekly through mid-January, but this is one of Hannah's last shows before taking a break from the road (go to mileycyrus.com to find out when she goes back on tour).

Before Hannah Becomes Hannah

Before the blond wig is secured firmly in place, Hannah Montana is Miley Cyrus, a 14-year-old teen from Tennessee. In the anti-glamour of pre-show, Miley is completely down-to-earth. She wears sweats, a hooded tee and Uggs. She sits in her tour bus, parked alongside the Cheetah Girls' bus. "Hi, how ya doin'?" she says in that scratchy-cool twang.

GL meets Miley with a reporter and three lucky Hannah fans: Sally, Sarah and Sadie, who are sisters. Before stepping onto the bus, the sisters argue about whether they now like Hannah more than Hilary Duff--a debate that's likely being had by girls all over the country. So we ask: Has Miley dethroned Hilary as the Teen Queen?

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," says Miley. "No way. Hilary is a huge star. I'm just gettin' started. I moved from a small town to L.A. But once you're a country girl, you never change. I'm still me."

Living a life in which you are yourself some of the time and a popstar at other times ... sounds suspiciously familiar! "What happened to Hannah could happen in real life," says Miley. "Hannah wants to live her dream and still be a normal kid." And with Miley? "I'm so glad I don't have to keep things secret from anyone. If the show was my real life, I'd be like, 'Hey, everyone, guess what--I'm Hannah Montana!'"

Hannah Is Not A Fake!

You already know, on the show, Hannah Montana doesn't tell people her real identity. Or, is Hannah Montana more like Miley's fake identity, like an alter ego? We ask Miley how she sees it. "It's not faking," she says. "I'm Miley. Onstage, I'm Hannah."

While the Hannah Montana premiere drew the biggest audience in Disney Channel history (5.4 million viewers!), Miley doesn't think of herself as a big star, and it's funny to her that you do. Sadly, the Hannah TV character doesn't have the luxury of being able to talk about her "real" life. This begs a question we've been anxious to ask: Does Miley think keeping the truth from people is the same as lying, a lie by omission?

"No, I don't think it's a lie," says Miley. "Hannah does not want to be treated differently. I wouldn't want to be someone you couldn't say 'hello' to. I want to be very approachable. Say 'hi' to me. I love it. Everyone I have a chance to take a picture with or sign an autograph for--just a quick way to make them smile--that's awesome."

Modest. Honest. And ... hungry. Miley picks at a package of chocolatey goo. "It's just plain ol' cookie dough," she says, smiling big as she holds up her doughy fingers. "I eat it outta the package, see?" Cookie dough has raw eggs in it, so does she know she could get sick?

"My mom tells me that all the time, and I just say, 'I'm not gonna get sick.'" Her chocolate-chip dough is part of a diet that also regularly includes gummy bears and fast food. Miley's mom, who tours with her, jokingly rolls her eyes when we look to her for an opinion on her daughter's food choices.

We ask Miley about her real-life father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who also plays her dad on the show. "My dad is good at embarrassing me," says Miley. "We saw Kelly Clarkson at an event, and my dad said, 'Oh, my God! My daughter is the biggest fan. She would love a picture with you!' I looked at her, and I was like, 'Sorry, so sorry about my dad.' But Kelly's from Texas, so she knows country music and we talked about that."

Any other celeb run-ins? "I'm friends with Ashley Tisdale," says Miley, getting excited and picking up her Sidekick. "Here, look. I have a picture of me and Ashley as my screensaver. I love her. People say, 'Oh, my gosh, you look like sisters when you're in your Hannah wig."

Even Popstars Get The Blues

We tell Miley how great it is that she's so confident. Teens can get so freaked out over everything and anything. "Believe me--I freak out," she says. "I feel like I stare in the mirror 400 hours a day. I swear, I have that thing, that disease people get. Mom, what is it?"

Mom steps in: "Body dysmorphic disorder. You don't have it, but you probably spend as much time in the mirror as someone with that."

Miley says, "I swear, I will be in that mirror sayin', 'I hate my hair. I hate my nose. I hate, hate, hate my teeth!'" Hey! Stop it! Miley, you're beautiful. And you're a popstar.

"I'm 'also a girl. I look in the mirror and think, 'This shirt is ugly. These pants are stupid.' It's a lot easier when I have someone to put my makeup on and fix my hair. People on TV have a lotta people pulling it together for us. It makes all the difference.

"Honestly, I hate getting dressed up. I'm holding my shoes in most pictures you see of me at red-carpet events. If I could go to premieres in my sweats, I would! If you wear baggy things and just put a little T-shirt with it, you'll look cute. A girl's outfit doesn't have to be, you know, everything all out there."

Miley wears a lot of jewelry, mostly bracelets that were gifts. "My mom made this charm bracelet, and I never take it off These two bracelets are from fans--they made them for me," Miley says, very proud. "And this one I've had on for years. It was one of those plastic bands you get at, like, a water park, and it was originally orange! Now it's like gray string. And this bracelet says, 'live and love,' and it comes with Lucky jeans. My friend gave me this. She already had one, and now we both have one."

Most special is the ring on her hand. "My dad gave this to my mom, and my mom gave it to me," says Miley, showing us the pretty, plain band that has a little crease in the middle. Mom jumps in: "It was two rings my husband had made into one for Valentine's Day."

Miley says, "It was two rings? I didn't know that."

Wanna Meet The Cheetah Girls?

Miley is so cute we could hang out all day, but it's Miley's turn to go into the arena for her sound check. Before she leaves, the three sisters get their shot at a question, and what a fine question it is: "Do you like Jake Ryan in real life?"

Miley laughs big and throws her head back. "Who wouldn't? He's really cute. Me and Emily [Osment] love to do scenes with Jake!"

Any other crushes? "I have so many celebrity crushes, it's crazy," she says. "I will forever like Ryan Cabrera, but my No. 1 crush is Chad Michael Murray. He is the hottest!" Miley tells us that she is allowed to date, but that she hasn't been on one yet.

We wish Miley good luck with the new season and her own Miley CD, due out in spring 2007. Miley disappears, and we go into the empty arena. As we make our way to some seats, the Cheetahs are hanging out on some speakers. Adrienne Bailon notices us and says, "Hi, girls." Wow! The sisters barely respond because they are so in awe. The GL reporter says "hi" back to her. Miley finally emerges to the quiet of an empty arena and sings the first few lines of a few songs. It's fun to watch the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Later that night, Miley comes out to the high-volume screaming of a fan-filled arena: "Han-nah! Han-nah". We know who the real girl is under the wig. And we know we should be chanting "Mi-ley! Mi-ley!" Our bet is, after her CD comes out, we will.
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Author:Bryson, Jodi
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:1578
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