What Miley Cyrus, Zayn Malik And Selena Gomez’s Interview Covers Have In Common
Interview Magazine made history yesterday when they released their new #ME issue. The magazine invited 150 social media stars from the worlds of fashion, entertainment and music to “use this opportunity to create something powerful and personal: the utmost expression of themselves.” In non-inflated magazine speak, that means they turned their magazine into an IRL Instagram feed.
While the 150 selfies and 8 different covers range from the very raw and naked to the very produced and glamorous, Miley Cyrus, Zayn Malik and Selena Gomez’s Interview covers all have something major in common: they feature three former teen idols struggling for the privilege to grow up.
Even before he split ties with One Direction, Zayn Malik always seemed uneasy with being a teen idol and all the trappings that come with it: the media scrutiny, the rapid teenage fans, the neverending tour schedule, and of course all those horribly, matchy-matchy preppy outfits.
In his Interview cover, Malik turns the camera around on himself in what is most certainly an intimate moment. Exposing his tattooed, muscular physique, Malik purposefully positions himself in the one setting most of his fans could only dream of: his bedroom. Captioning his photo with the hashtag #imcoming (which is probably in reference to his new album, but a girl can dream), Zayn is redefining himself here as a sexual object both in the wake of his new solo career and his new life as a single 22-year-old.
Like ex-boy band members past, his transition from teen idol to adult pop star, will undoubtedly continue unchallenged. Men are allowed to grow up to be sexy, women on the other hand are not so fortunate.
While by now the world has grown accustomed to what a post-Hannah Montana Miley Cyrus looks like, most people still don’t get it. They don’t understand what compels a nice, Southern girl to take off her top, mug for the camera, and spout her love for marijuana to the world. They don’t understand why it’s so important for her to wave her freak flag high, even though she’s been telling the media how much being a teen icon messed with her sense of self. They don’t understand that what growing up means to Miley is freedom.
In her Interview cover, Miley bites her shirt, lifting it high enough so that her breasts are exposed and her nipples are free. Elsewhere in the issue she poses for a series of topless photos that feature a bandana, a guitar and an iPhone. The pictures are messy, ecstatic, and full of #nofilter realness – just like Miley herself.
With every naked, weird selfie Cyrus takes, she sets an example for young kids too afraid to be different. Showing your body doesn’t have to be sexual, and not every selfie has to look cute. You don’t have to be cookie-cuter cute to get likes. You just have to be yourself. No matter how many more NSFW selfies Miley has to share to make everybody understand her, there’s nothing in the world that could stop Miley from making herself be heard.
And last but not least we have Selena Gomez, the ex-Disney star that can’t seem to escape her “nice girl” status, or her relationship with Justin Bieber.
This summer, from her Instagram selfies to her music video for “Good For You”, Selena Gomez is telling us that it’s okay to see her as a woman, because she is one. Her Interview cover is an extension of her deliberate destruction of her nice girl persona, showing us that not only is she’s not afraid to rebel “WHEN THEY SAY “DON’T TOUCH YOUR HAIR.”
Out of all the selfies, hers are the least convincing. This may be how she wants to show herself, but as evidenced by the woman sticking her tongue out in the background, this picture is meant to show rather than tell. Selena wants to be rebellious, but she’s still just playing at it.
But then again, isn’t that how we all transition into being our adult selves? Before we can actually be the people we want to become, sometimes we have to test out the waters first.