Miley Cyrus has her reasons as to why she gave herself what some fans may call a "makeunder" just before the release of her hit single, "Malibu."
"It became something that was expected of me. I didn't want to show up to photo shoots and be the girl who would get my t*ts out and stick out my tongue," the 24-year-old singer tells the August issue of Harper's Bazaar of her former over-the-top persona. "In the beginning, it was kind of like saying, 'F**k you. Girls should be able to have this freedom or whatever.' But it got to a point where I did feel sexualized."
"Like, people will say, 'You've changed.' And that's supposed to be derogatory," she adds of her new image. "But you are supposed to change all the time."
While Cyrus, who has since rekindled her romance with Liam Hemsworth, is embracing this period in her life, she doesn't seem to regret that phase of her career, though it was met with some criticism. "People have known me since I was so young, they think they know me," the former Hannah Montana star notes. "I heard so many comments like, 'We just want Miley back.' But you can't tell me who that is. I'm right here."
Cyrus also compares her "Wrecking Ball" days to her time as child star on the Disney Channel. "People were so shocked by some of the things that I did," she says, referring to her twerking, tongue-wagging moments. "It should be more shocking that when I was 11 or 12, I was put in full hair and makeup, a wig, and told what to wear by a group of mostly older men."
In addition to switching up her style, Cyrus also recently declared that she's no longer smoking marijuana. "Just for now," she clarifies. "To quote the wise Justin Bieber, 'Never say never.' But right now I want to be clear."
It appears her main goal at this phase in her career is to be a "f**king role model" no matter what she's wearing. "Who gives a s**t? Because I got my t*ts out before doesn't make me less of a role model," she exclaims. "I think I show people that they can be themselves. I also think something that has been important for me, in this next little, like, transition phase of my career is that I don't give a f**k about being cool. I just want to be myself."
In ET's exclusive interview with Cyrus' father, Billy Ray Cyrus, the 55-year-old country crooner gushed over his daughter's decision to stay sober at this stage in her career. "She's firing off all cylinders. Her thoughts, her instincts, everything is at the top of its game," he said. "Sometimes you have to clear out the junk, and then you realize what's most important. Whatever is going on, it's working for her."