Happy 21st Birthday, Miley Cyrus! Here's Why Everyone Should Give You Break

Getty ImagesMiley Cyrus turns 21 years old on Saturday. And as a birthday gift, the world should cut her some much-deserved slack.
 
Why? Cyrus is a bonafide superstar who has come a long way since her Disney days, when she was best known for her portrayal of Hannah Montana, the lovable pop star pretending to be an average teen, and for having a father who once sported a voluminous mullet and sang "Achy Breaky Heart." By the time Cyrus turned 18, she had built a global empire on her "Hannah Montana" character, had numerous films and albums under her belt, and was poised for world domination.
 
Cyrus is a savvy businesswoman who relies on outrageous fashion, headline-grabbing stage antics, and in-your-face confidence. Her strategy is the reason why, the morning after she twerked at the MTV Music Video Awards in August, no one talked about that thong Lady Gaga wore, and CNN made Cyrus its top news story while tensions in Syria were escalating and the NSA was under fire for mass surveillance. However, Cyrus isn't perfect. Her missteps — smoking pot, wearing pasties, breaking up with her fiancé — all make her seem like an authentic person instead of a contrived image.
 
Yet Cyrus knows that a wild reputation can’t eclipse true talent. Unlike Britney Spears, who mainly gets by on flashy choreography or Rihanna, who spends more time stripping on Instagram than she does in a recording studio, Cyrus can belt out a ballad as fiercely as she can pop her booty, and her impressive vocal range has been lauded by Katy Perry, Dolly Parton, and, yes, Kanye West. 

Miley Cyrus backlash was bound to happen. While Lady Gaga and Nicky Minaj burst onto the scene wearing pasties and glittery cat suits, we fell in love with Cyrus as a squeaky-clean Disney kid — now, she’s blossoming into a woman in front of the whole world and that makes people uncomfortable. But, hey, if she wants to stick out her tongue, let her. No one complained when the guys from KISS built their entire careers on it. 

So Miley, on your 21st birthday, be your sexy, awkward, outrageous self. We can't wait to see what you do next.