'Hannah Montana' star makes her mark

Unlike her smallscreen alter ego, Miley Cyrus can’t hide her fame from her friends. The 15-year-old star has struck more than just a musical chord with kids worldwide: “Hannah Montana” is the most-watched TV series among kids aged 6 to 14, and between the show’s two soundtracks, Cyrus has already sold 2.1 million albums this year.

But to hear her tell it, Cyrus’ success as a recording artist and actress has nothing to do with her, but results instead from her family, friends and God. In retrospect, she believes the Big Guy was involved with her losing out on other gigs which might have come in the way of an opportunity she never anticipated: landing her own show on the Disney Channel.

Still shell-shocked, she says, “I was not looking for them, and they were definitely not looking for me.”

But Cyrus’ agent, Mitchell Gossett of CESD, sensed otherwise. He set up the meeting for both Cyrus and her father, singer-actor Billy Ray Cyrus, to demonstrate their chemistry to the network, and from there, Disney’s Gary Marsh took charge of getting the father-daughter team to television and beyond.

But Miley’s industry upbringing didn’t prepare her for just how exhausting the work can be. When things get tough, she relies on uplifting mottos as a form of secret weapon. “We have a few phrases that my dad says all the time: ‘If it ain’t fun, it ain’t working.’ It’s about making me happy — if it stops being fun, we turn around and go back home.”

Another motto the two share: “It’s not about success, it’s about significance.” Cyrus hopes her music means something to to her tween audience. “I related to artists and got through hard times by listening to their music,” she says. “I think I can do the same thing in helping (my fans) through their tough times.”

Recent breakthrough: She’s the youngest artist to have two No. 1 hits in less than a year.

Role model: “My dad! He has had an amazing career and stayed true himself. He is also a great humanitarian.”

What’s next: Her “Best of Both Worlds” tour, which combines songs from both identities: Cyrus’ solo album and her “Hannah Montana” show.

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