The Day Miley Cyrus Rode in LCF Parade

Ten years ago, amid the war veterans and public officials parading down Foothill Boulevard on Memorial Day was a local starlet on the verge of superstardom. She was the person whom Sofia Miera, then 5 years old, was there to see.
Miley Cyrus has been nearly impossible to miss since then, when she was best known as Hannah Montana, the character she played opposite her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, on the Disney Channel hit show.
Then a resident of La Cañada Flintridge, Miley played a girl who appeared, by day, to be a typical teen, but who, at night, led a secret life as a pop singer.
The role made her extremely popular with fans such as Miera, many of whom did more than just tune in. They accumulated Hannah Montana-themed merchandise and music, and shelled out (or had their parents shell out) big bucks to attend Cyrus’ concerts — her 57 tour dates in 2010 were reported to bring in a nightly box office gross of $1.2 million.
In 2010, Cyrus checked in at No. 13 on Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid entertainers; the publication reported that the then-18-year-old earned $48 million in the previous year.
She made the list again in 2014, at No. 17, having earned $36 million. By then she’d developed a much more risque image; her twerking at the MTV Video Music Awards shocked some who still thought of her as a wholesome Disney product, but it certainly helped put her in the spotlight. Her “Bangerz” album went platinum that year.
Cyrus, who was not available for an interview, moved with her family to Toluca Lake not long after the parade. But there are those in LCF who have positive memories of the Cyrus family while they were in town.
Realtor Doug Drummond recalled that the family donated tickets to “Hannah Montana” tapings to the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation. He also said he worked as the starter of the Fiesta Days Parade in 2006, when Miley, then 13, rolled down the route, and recalls people from outside LCF lining up to see her.
“I think they really made a nice mark on the town,” Drummond said. “It was nice and very helpful for the ed foundation.”
As for his memories of Miley?
“She was just a tremendously talented kid,” he said. “She was just a snowball that kept getting larger and larger and larger.”
In 2014, the year after causing a foam-finger-waving spectacle at the MTV Awards, Cyrus returned and made a more serious sort of splash.
When Jimmy Fallon announced that her “Wrecking Ball” had won video of the year, Cyrus stayed in her seat and sent a 22-year-old homeless man named Jesse Helt to the microphone in her place. He told the audience, “I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know, because I am one of those people.”
An article in the New York Times characterized the moment as demonstrating “a keen understanding of media manipulation and image management” on the part of Cyrus, who parlayed it into a campaign to solicit donations to help young people such as Helt.
This March, on the webpage for Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, it was reported that donations since the VMAs had gone to help 1,539 youth, in addition to paying for more than 22,000 meals, pairs of socks and underwear to be distributed to homeless youth.
That Happy Hippie Foundation is a nonprofit organization that identifies its mission as rallying young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.
Earlier this month, Cyrus was again on TV with Fallon, a guest on “The Tonight Show,” which he hosts. She introduced the audience to a “Miley Hearts Planned Parenthood” T-shirt, on sale as a fundraiser to support the organization.
“I think it’s really important for me to be someone who speaks out about women’s health rights and reproductive rights,” said Cyrus, who also recently announced that she’d been tabbed to work as a judge on NBC’s “The Voice” next season.
“I think it’s important for people to not be afraid to talk about that … when there’s a company that’s having a hard time with people being afraid of something. I’m a good person to put on the face of a T-shirt.”
Fiesta Day revelers could have predicted that a decade ago.

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