Miley Cyrus has struggled with public judgment throughout her entire life. The 24-year-old creative dynamo has sometimes done herself in by providing too much fodder for the feeding frenzy in the press. Sometimes, she hasn't fought back hard enough when perceptions were flat-out wrong. As reflected in her July 13 cover feature for Harper's Bazaar, Miley Cyrus has finally found a sense of personal contentment and peace, and surrendered the youthful quest to be “cool.” No defenses are up, no tongues sticking out as protection from vulnerability in public. Instead, Miley Cyrus is a vision of the nature girl she was as a child, feeling the grass like she did playing with her famous father.

She is embracing a genuine taste of life and love like never before, and the deliciousness is coming through in the music.

Finally herself

Miley Cyrus remarks that she feels “far away from that person” who romped on the Disney set as tween character Hannah Montana, so much a part of memories for young girls who, like Cyrus, are women now. “I just want people to see that this is who I am now,” Miley declared. She doesn't shy away from owning her past, or her other incarnations along the way. “Myself has been a lot of different people,” the artist admitted, “because I change a lot.”

The new gentleness of spirit and serene attitude flows from the song and the video for Malibu,” the single from Miley’s still-untitled sixth album, set for a fall release.

The overall tone and spirit of the effort reflects more of her “soul” than any music she’s done in recent memory, according to her family.

Pigs and parents’ love

Miley insists that people “are supposed to change all the time,” and that includes the most personal levels. She and fiancé Liam Hemsworth reunited and reaffirmed their love in 2015.

Her involvement with vulnerable LGBTQ youth is as committed as ever through her Happy Hippie Foundation. She affirms that people are born as a blank canvas, and conventions of age, race, or gender should never be defining. A person’s mission on planet Earth, Miley insists, “is to take the time to paint it any way you want,” even if that means scraping a layer off and starting over.

Miley Cyrus has never had to worry about family support, either. She frequently praises her godmother, Dolly Parton, for her example of grace and goodness to every person, and her maternal grandmother, Mammie, has been in her corner even in her wildest days, including the twerks. Known for putting her thoughts into words, Miley recently sent out a message to her parents, honoring her dad as the “first and truest love” of her life, and thanking mom, Tish, too, saying: “My life is the result of L-O-V-E!” She added a photo of herself gazing at a family landmark. The songwriter continues to live life weed-free, “for now,” so her gaze is clearer.

Time with pets at her rainbow-colored California retreat also gives the singer essential respite.

She groomed her pigs for the visiting photographers.

Miley does her own life-styling now. Soft sweaters, flowy, feminine skirts, and the natural look letting her big blue eyes say all they need. She marvels that so many who never met her feel that they know her enough to say “We just want Miley back.” All Miley Cyrus needs to do now is look in the mirror to know “you can't tell me who that is. I'm right here.”

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