By Rollo Ross
LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. pop singer and former Disney television child star Miley Cyrus brushed off any suggestions that dropping her squeaky clean image was a sign she was "going off the rails".
Cyrus, who starred in Walt Disney Co's 2006-11 "Hannah Montana" TV series about a high school student with a double life as a famous musician, told Reuters her newly cropped hair, tattoos and adult music videos don't mean she is following the well-worn path to perdition trodden by other child stars.
She's just growing up.
"I'm selling records and that's all I'm here to do," Cyrus told Reuters television this month. "I don't care if people don't like my haircut or think I dress too this way or my video's too provocative."
The 20-year-old singer, whose latest "We Can't Stop" single is currently No. 2 on the Billboard charts, said she was not like other young celebrities who become obsessed with public image and self-destruct under the pressure of media scrutiny.
"If I knew what people were saying, I'd probably hate myself," she said. "I don't look at that kind of stuff."
Cyrus said she was exasperated by the media focus on her new image, which includes a video packed with drug and sexual references, provocative poses and in which she jiggles her buttocks in a dance move known as "twerking".
"You know, I built an entire empire for myself by the time that I was 11, but now I'm just the twerk queen."
The daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus said that although she has left the innocent TV teen image behind, she still considered herself a good role model.
"I don't think it matters how much skin you show... I have a mouth of a sailor, I just keep it nice for TV. But I don't think that makes someone a good or a bad person."
(Reporting by Rollo Ross, writing By Amritha John, editing by Paul Casciato)