Miley Cyrus: “Thank You for Thinking I’m Sexy!”

Miley Cyrus attends "The Hunger Games" Premiere on March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

She loves wearing hot pants and showing off her toned tummy, but Miley Cyrus insists she didn't set out to become sex symbol.

"If people find that [I am], I take it as a compliment," the 19-year-old singer and actress said on Lifetime's The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet Thursday. "Thank you for thinking I'm sexy!"

When she first began to dress and act more provocatively, the former child star was surprised by the immediate backlash. "People are so scared of seeing a woman being like, 'This is who I am and you're not going to change it,'" Cyrus explained.

During her final season of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, where Cyrus played a squeaky clean high school student who masqueraded as a pop star with the aid of a blonde wig, Cyrus decided to release her raciest single to date, "Can't Be Tamed."

"Even just the title of that, for a woman to say she can't be tamed. . . for a woman in the world with my face saying 'I can't be tamed' when that's really all people wanted to do, I think proves how sexist people still really are," Cyrus mused.

Growing up in the spotlight wasn't always easy for the singer, whose father Billy Ray Cyrus had been a country music star her entire life.

"I feel I was so trained in my interviews to be All-American or whatever," Cyrus revealed. "I just got so set in the way of saying the same things I did when I was 12 years old. . . I guess I kind of realized that my whole life isn't one giant press junket. I don't have to be smiling all the time and always have the perfect answer."

Cyrus eventually began to crave solitude "because I had to smile so much and I had to say so much of the same thing," she admitted. "I finally had to look inside and say, 'What do I really think about this? Do I really that or am I just trained to say that? Or have I said it for so many years now that that's what people expect me to say, so now I say it so I don't have to say something else and be creative?"

The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet airs Thursdays at 11 p.m. EST on Lifetime.

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