In today’s age, pop culture can sometimes be called the bane of society’s existence. Everyday, there’s a new scandal over nudes, Twitter wars, and general mindless dribble. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some shining gems in the batch of sedimentary celebrities. One such gem is Miley Cyrus, the founder of The Happy Hippie Foundation.
While Cyrus may not be a family favorite due to some unpopular stunts (e.g. the recent Jodie Sweetin post), questionable outfits, racy performances, and her overall departure from the Hannah Montana empire, she is someone to pay attention to.
Miley Cyrus changed the squeaky clean image of her youth because she wanted to be herself. While some may see her self-expression as odd (just check her Instagram, @mileycyrus), she is merely showing everyone that it is okay to be who you want to be, even if that includes weed, bear costumes, and general ‘fweakyness.’
Photo by @BostonGlobe
That acceptance has been represented through Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, which she launched in May of 2015. This nonprofit organization aims to improve the lives of ‘homeless youths, LGBTQ youths, and other vulnerable populations,’ and does so by providing employment, educational opportunities, and support networks.
To complete this, happyhippies.org takes donations, and states in bold that ‘every $15 donated provides one LGBTQ youth with digital support groups for a year.’ Happy Hippies is founded on the idea that the young generation can help improve the world, and thus it relies heavily on social media campaigns to drum up support. Most recently, the movement was #HappyHippieGrams, which aimed to encourage people to make positive cards to be delivered to the LGBT center in Los Angeles.
Photo by @LALGBTCenter
Cyrus and her foundation have also been known to utilize the VMAs for promoting their mission. In 2015, Cyrus hosted the show and had her Happy Hippie #InstaPride stars come on stage. In 2014, Cyrus had a homeless youth named Jesse Helt accept an award on her behalf in an effort to raise money for My Friend’s Place, a homeless youth resource center in LA. Miley had visited the center in August of that year, and it had impacted her so much that she became dedicated to raising awareness about the homeless population. This devotion flourished into The Happy Hippie Foundation less than a year later, but in no way was this Cyrus’ first foray into humanitarian work.
Back in a 2008 interview with Vanity Fair, Cyrus said that she had been accompanying her family to coal mining towns to bring food and clothing to Americans living in Third World-esque conditions. In 2011, Cyrus went on a charity mission with the Starkey Hearing foundation to Haiti to help fit children with hearing aids. Outside of her foundation, Cyrus is also active with The Red Cross, Musicians on Call, The Libby Ross Foundation, and Blessings In A Backpack to name a few.
With all of this humanitarian work under her belt, it is no surprise that Cyrus was named one of DoSomething.org’s top celebrities for social change in 2015. Interestingly enough, she was also ranked as one of the worst celebrity role models of 2015 by parents in the United Kingdom. What’s the bridge between her beneficence and her bawdiness? The undeniable fact that controversy promotes coverage. In a May 2015 interview with Associated Press, Cyrus was quoted saying, “It’s like, I know you’re going to look at me more if my [breasts] are out, so look at me. And then I’m going to tell you about my foundation for an hour and totally hustle you.”
Clearly, there’s a method to her madness, and while some people may think she is setting a terrible example, Cyrus knows what she’s doing, stating, “When you have all eyes on you, what are you saying? And that’s what I have to ask myself a lot.”
Cyrus may be zany, loud, and scantily clad, but she’s also helping to make the world a better place. If she’s not an example of a good role model, then maybe it’s time to change the definition.
Check out one of the Backyard Sessions from Happy Hippie:
Photo by @MTVNews
A New York college student just trying to figure out how to balance a social life, a 10 page paper, and a mild addiction to coffee.