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Monday, April 28, 2008

Miley Cyrus - If it walks like a duck...

Miley Cyrus is under fire for taking very risque photos for Vanity Fair magazine. She is posed NUDE with a sheet draping her underage body. My first question - who approved such a photo? Next Question - have the person(s) involved with approving the salacious photos been fired from her team of advisers?

Miley Cyrus is a franchise - a Disney frachise. Disney is batting zero with keeping its teen stars squeaky clean. Jamie-Lynn Spears is 16 years -old and pregnant and a star from High School Musical was embarassed by her own set of super sexy photos.

Who is protecting the brand of these stars? My guess - no one. Are there parents so caught in the paychecks of the young teen stars that they have forgotten how to be parents? Miley Cyrus sells out stadiums faster than established rockers who have been touring for 20 years. Why would anyone jeopardize the Hannah Montana franchise? My guess is that it was never in jeopardy.

Let's face it - if Jamie-lynn Spears still has a Disney contract with a 16 years old pregnant belly than Miley taking semi-nude kiddy porn labeled "artistic" is mild. Disney like the rest of nation realizes that family values are dead. But what happened to Disney's integrity? What happened to celebrity integrity and protecting a personal brand?

Recently, I heard Carol Alt - a former super model- talk about how she easily transitioned from the runway to being a entrepreneur with a niche in women's wellness. She said something that resonated with me. Alt cited her ability to keep the "Carol Alt name clean" throughout her 20 years of modeling as the reason she has been able to be an icon for women's health and fitness. Carol Alt made sure that she didn't do anything that would tarnish and ruin the Alt brand. Today, she benefits from keeping her personal brand clean and is able to get decent work and be respected.

Miley Cyrus might be able to come out of the public relations debacle, but she has broken the seal on her innocence. Perhaps, today's young rising stars can tear a page out of Carol Alt's book of personal branding. And I have one note of advice to Annie Leibowitz, the photographer that coaxed Cyrus in the provocative pose, the next time you photograph an underage teenager ... grab a teddy bear instead of a sheet.

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