Miley Cyrus’ VMAs Bear Dancer Hollis Jane: I Felt Degraded, “Terrible” About Myself

Miley Cyrus at the VMAs
Miley Cyrus' former 2013 Video Music Awards bear dancer Hollis Jane has opened up about her experience in a personal blog post Rick Diamond/Getty Images for MTV

Miley Cyrus’ 2013 Video Music Awards performance may have left audiences up in arms, but for one specific person was left “shaking” and “crying” — her very own dancer. Hollis Jane, one of Cyrus’ bears in her highly controversial “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” set, has revealed that being asked to perform in the show because she’s a little person left her feeling terrible about herself.

“I will be the first one to tell you that standing on that stage, in that costume was one of the most degrading things I felt like I could ever do,” the dancer explained on her personal blog Wednesday, Oct. 9. “I realize not everyone shares my opinion and I might just be young and naive, but I feel like the acceptance of this kind of treatment has got to stop.”

“For decades, little people have not been taken seriously and we still continue to not be,” she continued. “I had never been in a performance where I was purely meant to be gawked or laughed at. I will never forget that performance because it is what forced me to draw my personal line in the sand.”

In her blog, Jane also opened up about dress rehearsals days leading up to the big show. “After our first dress rehearsal in the costumes with the crew, publicists, performers etc watching us, I walked out of the Barclay Center shaking and crying,” she wrote. “I was being stared and laughed at for all of the wrong reasons. I was being looked at as a prop…as something less than human.”

Hollis Jane Miley Cyrus backup dancer
Hollis Jane tweets a photo of herself and credentials from her Miley Cyrus VMAs performance. Twitter

Though it was not the best experience, Jane eventually did decide to go in and audition for Cyrus’ upcoming tour after the scandalous set. “When they asked me to audition for Miley’s tour, I was incredibly hesitant. The money was great and I would have gotten a free trip to Las Vegas. My computer had recently broken and my car needed (and still needs) multiple repairs,” she reasoned. “I could have fixed a lot of that with the Miley money. So, I sent in my audition tape. I found out I was chosen and was going to have to begin rehearsals the next day.”

But compared to the first go-round, the dancer wasn’t fully briefed on what would come with accepting the offer. “In this whole process, I was never quite told what I would be dancing to or as with Miley. I began to get a horrible gut feeling. All of the VMA feelings came rushing back,” she added. “[I wondered] if it was worth that one day, when my future (possibly little person) child YouTubed Miley Cyrus and found me dancing onstage in a costume like that and said something like, ‘But Mom, you don’t let me do things like that,’ and I had to explain that Momma did it to pay the bills. I wondered if it was worth feeling less than human again.”

Her final decision? “And frankly, it wasn’t,” she quipped.

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