Why Miley Cyrus Doesn’t Need a Red Carpet Anyway

The pop star is in control, Hollywood PR experts tell TheWrap

Last Updated: September 15, 2016 @ 6:30 PM

Miley Cyrus has moved off the red carpet, recently vowing she will never again walk the glamorous, media-packed events used to promote everything from fashion to film.

But that doesn’t mean she is going to lose out on any opportunities because of it.

The 23-year-old pop star, known for hits like “Wrecking Ball” and judging talent on NBC’s “The Voice,” is the 25th most-followed person on Twitter with 30.7 million followers — which pales in comparison to her Instagram following, where the superstar has amassed a captivated audience of 51.8 million.

It’s that very ability to connect directly with her fans that proves much more powerful than any well-worn red carpet, experts tell TheWrap.

“Social media allows celebrities to control the message,” Jennifer Cohan, who works with the famed Kardashians as director of social media at Kardashian Jenner Communications, said. “But at red carpets, you’re at the mercy of the reporter.”

The move away from the carpet also fits Cyrus’ image, brand expert Chad J. Kawalec, president of Brand Identity Center, explained. “Miley presents her brand as a renegade and outsider. Not attending reinforces this positioning,” he told TheWrap.

Another reason why Cyrus’ move away from press-packed premieres won’t hurt her is that red carpets are fast becoming a stale relic of Hollywood history — important when newspaper and television coverage mattered most but not so much in the digital age.

Arguably reaching their peek use at the height of nightly entertainment magazine shows, red carpet events have always been “a weird kind of gateway” to celebrities, noted one seasoned Hollywood publicist who spoke with TheWrap on condition of anonymity. “‘Entertainment Tonight’ was relevant for my grandmother — but she’s dead,” the insider added wryly.

Plus, the staged events — used to hawk everything from television shows to luxury store openings — are a dime a dozen.

“Red carpets are so common now, they have lost much of their ‘specialness,'” said Kawalec. “They showcase style, not talent.”

They’re so overdone, in fact, that publicists are regularly put in the position of begging certain media outlets to attend. Many press members have grown to see the events as a waste of time and what you wind up with are a surplus of “C-level outlets who get mad when the stars don’t stop to talk,” the aforementioned insider revealed.

Cyrus also may not want to feed into that culture of “what is she wearing,” argued Cohan. “All the scrutiny and analysis that comes after someone steps out on the red carpet — for her maybe it’s just not about that.”

In spite of the pop star’s bold move, red carpet premieres aren’t going away anytime soon.

Cyrus is in a rarified group of celebrities who are so famous, they don’t need the extra exposure a red carpet provides. “For those stars who are just rising, red carpets validate them,” said Kawalec.

“Red carpets are still something that a lot of people are fascinated with and I don’t see them so much declining, as evolving with the times,” Cohan added. “These events are obviously great tools for promoting designers and brands, revealing a new relationship, debuting a new hairdo — things that really have nothing to do with the event itself, but get massive exposure.”

According to the experts who spoke with TheWrap, the only thing that is negatively affected by Cyrus’ personal ban on red carpet events are the projects they are staged to promote.

But nowadays it’s rare anyone is criticized for not walking a red carpet. “It was a big no-no in the past,” Kawalec said, but not anymore.

In the long run, Cyrus will eventually return to the red carpet, he predicted, “once her career starts to naturally decline.” But, added the brand expert, “She is far from that today. She is in control.”

Editor’s note: TheWrap’s Meriah Doty worked with Jennifer Cohan and Kim Kardashian in a prior job. 

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