“Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days. EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT, WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ‘BOUT, EVERYBODY GETS THAT WAY.” These words reverberated through the souls of every tween girl in the early 2000s. Only a true artist could have had that impact. And, honestly, it’s such a shame to see the new generation of so-called “stans” and “music lovers” forget real talent. In the longstanding war between Swifties, Arianators, and Barbs, many have forgotten the main-pop-girliest of them all: Hannah Montana. Yes, that’s right. I’m coming out and living my truth. I’m a Hannah Mon-stan-a and I’m proud.
It’s been nearly a decade since she made her debut and no one has ever been able to replicate what she has achieved. I can still remember watching the show’s premiere on Disney Channel. I had just turned five and my television privileges were in full swing as I begged my parents to let me stay up past my bedtime to watch this new show. When the opening notes of Best of Both Worlds played, I felt as if I was going through a spiritual transformation. It was as if I myself had donned the crusty blond wig and become Hannah herself. She was an icon—wow I’m tearing up. She was the moment—hala iiyak na ako promise. She was all of us.
(Oh no, I’m about to cry)
Talent-wise, no one could do it the way she did. Long before blondie-who-must-not-be-named swung between genres as quickly as she went through men. Hannah gave us versatility. She taught us how to “pop it, lock it, polka dot it, countrify, then hip hop it” in a way no one else could. She could dance, she could sing, she could (kind of) act. As her style changed, so did the depth and meaning of her works. She was no longer writing about putting on her old blue jeans or the ice cream freeze, she also wrote about true friendship, saying goodbye, and the bones in the body. We love to see a science girlie.
Let’s face it, we were all living vicariously through her too. Everything about her was just iconic. No one could pull off the mishmash early-2000s Disney look the way she could. Most of all, I envied all the celebrities who fawned over her. Who could have forgotten the time when not one, not two, but all three Jonas Brothers professed their love for her? I still haven’t, and I can still vividly remember feeling the deepest envy a six-year-old could feel every time Nick Jonas appeared beside her.
Although she was just Miley Cyrus’ alter-ego, everything about Hannah was real. She wasn’t just a one-dimensional pop star, but she grew up with us. We laughed with her as she got into sticky situations with her best friends. We held our breath as she revealed her identity to the town of Crowley Corners—and breathed a sigh of relief when she kept her secret long enough to last two more seasons. And we cried with her as Miley finally
ditched the ugly blond wig and said goodbye to her double life.
The stage lights may have dimmed on Hannah, and we might not even come across another star like her in our lifetime, but she will live on forever. I may have grown out of my purple, studded Hannah Montana watch and my black and gold Hannah Montana backpack, but I’ll always be a Hannah Mon-stan-nah and so will you. Now do yourself a favor and listen to Miley’s 2023 version of The Climb. Your inner child will thank yourself.