Miley Cyrus: Robin Thicke “Wanted Me as Naked as Possible” for 2013 VMAs Performance, “Nicki Minaj Is Not Too Kind”

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke
Miley Cyrus revealed in a new interview that Robin Thicke wanted her "as naked as possible" for the 2013 VMAs; Plus, find out why she said that Nicki Minaj is "not too kind." Theo Wargo/WireImage

So, about that foam finger! Ahead of her hosting gig at the upcoming 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus gave a revealing new interview to the New York Times on Thursday, Aug. 27, in which she reflected back on her memorable 2013 VMAs performance with Robin Thicke and discussed her ongoing drama with Nicki Minaj.

"Everything I’ve ever done has been true to me at that minute," she said of her raunchy performance with Thicke. "Even down to [Hannah Montana] — when I started I was 12 years old, and that was like a dream to me. So that was my truth at that moment. Me coming out of that teddy bear, to me, wasn’t just a teddy bear. My dad always explained it to me that you step into your happiness. That’s kind of like what I was doing. When I broke down the bear belly, I was really breaking out — my show ended, and then I didn’t really work for two years. That’s when I did my most self-exploration. [The performance] was kind of going into this way of saying, 'I’m just going to do what will make me happy.' At that moment, that’s what really made me happy."

While the moment liberated Cyrus, 22, critics attacked the singer for her racy, shocking gestures during the performance (remember the foam finger?). "I didn’t really know [Robin] too much before, and I don’t really know him now," Cyrus told the paper. "It was funny, because I got so much of the heat for it, but that’s just being a woman. He acted like he didn’t know that was going to happen. You were in rehearsals! You knew exactly what was going to happen." (Sources told Us Weekly at the time that Thicke was angry with Cyrus for "going too far" during the VMAs, and that he thought the "Wrecking Ball" songstress had "hijacked the performance.")

According to Cyrus, Thicke, 38, was entirely cognizant of the outrageous performance beforehand, and even played a part in picking out her skimpy onstage wardrobe. "And he was actually the one that approved my outfit, so I thought that was very funny," Cyrus shared. "He wanted me as naked as possible, because that’s how his video was. It was very much a collaboration. My part — 'We Can’t Stop' — was all me. But when it went into 'Blurred Lines,' that was his performance."

Even those closest to her were shocked by the show. "People around me really judged me. People that I really loved and thought were my friends judged me for it," Cyrus revealed. "They were like, 'You were on drugs when you did that performance.' I did nothing! I still don’t get it."

miley and nicky
Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj Mark Davis/WireImage

There were, however, some celebrity pals who rushed to her defense. "I was in the studio with Kanye [West] that night, and we watched it back and we didn’t say anything," she shared. "He was like, 'That was sick,' whatever. We woke up the next day, and he was like, 'Whoa.' He called and said, 'Turn on your TV.' I was staying at the Trump Hotel and Donald Trump literally called and said, basically, 'I know everyone’s talking about it, but I loved it.' I had no idea anyone was talking about it yet."

Overall, Cyrus said she's at peace with that girl who twerked and gyrated with a foam finger onstage. "I still love it. But I now watch it, and I see someone that isn’t me now," she told the Times. "I knew who I was, and I knew the power that I held, but I don’t think I realized my full power until that show. I didn’t realize I could make such a big reaction. I didn’t think that many people would care. I knew I was famous, but I didn’t know what that meant. Everything was coming to an end and starting a new beginning. In every way."

Cyrus explained why she was asked to return to the stage this year — to host. "Van Toffler, who runs MTV, it was his last year. He’s leaving, and so he can’t get fired," she shared. "He was like, 'I want to do something crazy — I want you to host the VMAs, because I want that to be my last shebang.' It’s like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off."

She also commented on Nicki Minaj's VMAs tweets during the loaded Q&A. "I saw that. I didn’t really get into it. I know there was some beef. I don’t really know. There’s a way to talk to people …" Cyrus shared. (Minaj blasted MTV last month because she only received two VMA nods for "Anaconda." Somehow, her tweets resulted in a misunderstanding involving Taylor Swift and later, Kim Kardashian.)

"She was saying that everyone was white and blonde that got nominated, I heard? And then Taylor Swift butted in… I didn’t follow it. You know what I always say? Not that this is jealousy, but jealousy does the opposite of what you want it to — that’s a yoga mantra. People forget that the choices that they make and how they treat people in life affect you in a really big way. If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement. But I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it."

What the former Disney star deduced was simple: "What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite. I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love," Cyrus dished. "You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war. It became Nicki Minaj and Taylor in a fight, so now the story isn’t even on what you wanted it to be about."

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