Hannah Montana was a staple in every young child’s household in the late 2000s and early 2010s. She was the epitome of what we all strived to be. She was funny, had the best friends, had a good relationship with her family, and had the best of both worlds as a regular high school girl and pop star.
Here at The Honey POP, we grew up with the Hannah Montana series. We are easily considering it to be a defining moment in our lives. We still quote the show and lyrics today, and Miley Cyrus helped create a character that shaped our personalities, world views and gave us a friend that we could look up to. As people who have been impacted by Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus on a personal level, we are here today with an open letter to Hannah/Miley to thank her for all of the memories and lessons that she shared with us. And to spread a little knowledge on the impacts she had on us, and throughout pop culture, in general.
The Impact On The Music Industry
Now we can’t talk about Hannah Montana without talking about how iconic her music is. If we say, “everybody makes mistakes,” chances are your next thought is going to be “everybody has those days,” even after all these years. ‘Nobody’s Perfect,’ along with most of her discography, is one of those nostalgic pop songs that everybody knows. Remember ‘The Climb?’ That music video is seared into our brains from how often it ran on Disney Channel. Not to mention, ‘The Climb’ holds lots of sentimental memories for a lot of people who had it as their graduation song. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t still put it on when we’re feeling down.
One of the unique things about her music at the time was that it wasn’t just for the show. We’ll talk about her impact on Hollywood a little later on, but Hannah Montana really paved the way for shows about teen stars. She brought her music from the screen to the stage, going on tour and performing music from the show. The soundtrack to the first season of Hannah Montana has sold over 3 million copies since its release back in 2006, and most of us can still sing the entire thing by heart. If that’s not a significant cultural impact- we don’t know what is!
And, of course, we have to mention the soundtrack for Hannah Montana: The Movie. Because before we had TikTok dances, we had the ‘Hoedown Throwdown.’ We all remember the nostalgic feeling of learning the ‘Hoedown Throwdown’ with our friends and racing to theaters to watch the movie. The entire soundtrack was full of hits, ‘You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home’ is still on our playlists. Honestly, we could do an entirely separate segment on this movie itself!
Growing up with Hannah Montana meant growing up with her music. The final season soundtrack had us in our feels as the show came to an end. It’s been a decade since the show ended, and Hannah/Miley said goodbye with ‘Wherever I Go,’ and that song makes us tear up even after all these years. For those of us who were children when Hannah Montana was airing and are now entering adulthood, listening to these songs ten years later brings back a rush of emotion and nostalgia as we enter the next phase of our lives. Hannah Montana said it best:
“We might be apart but I hope you always know
You’ll be with me wherever I go
Wherever I go“
Hannah Montana may not be around anymore, but we’ll always carry her music with us- wherever we go.
The Impact On 2010’s Fashion
Do you remember the striped vests over your graphic t-shirts? What about the jeans under your dress? Were you around for the Miley Cyrus x Max Azria collaboration from Walmart? There’s no doubt that Hannah Montana was the poster child for fashion. From stores such as Limited Too and Justice hopping on the Disney Channel show’s popularity, the Hannah fever was everywhere. It didn’t take long for the red carpet to start looking like everyone jumped straight out of the TV show.
When the show started to jet off into popularity, Disney saw the branding of Hannah Montana so profitable that they launched the Hannah Montana clothing line. It was every tween’s dream as it gave them a chance to look like their favorite pop star. Don’t be ashamed, we fell victim to the marketing scheme, too!
Although the clothes have outgrown and the fashion style has changed (for the better), we will never forget about the Hannah days. Who knows? It seems that there will be a comeback very soon.
The Impact On Hollywood + Family Life
Have you noticed that Disney always puts the tragic parent story into their shows and movies? Hannah Montana was not the first to feature a tragic parental tale, and she definitely won’t be the last. The show was one of the first times kids growing up in the late 2000s saw a single-father household. Those who have grown up in a single father household know the struggle of perception and that ignorant people will judge first and ask later. Hannah Montana showed the value of the single father household and broke all of those awful stereotypes. With Billy Ray Cyrus playing Miley and Jackson’s dad on the show, we got to see Billy Ray and Miley’s father/daughter relationship flourish. Even though you saw the struggles the family went through, they always persevered, and you could see the love they shared.
Hannah Montana has also had a massive impact on Hollywood and the way that shows are modeled today. Every show or movie that features a secret pop star and has come out since 2006 has followed the same formula that Hannah Montana’s creators started. It is a tried and true method, and everyone in the industry can see how well it worked for Hannah Montana and continue to try to recreate it. Although, in our opinion, no one can come close to what Hannah was, and is, to this generation.
Movies like Radio Rebel and Lemonade Mouth were all modeled in some way from Hannah Montana. They featured a secret DJ or a band that dealt with some hardships, but both had a happy ending. And even though those are Disney Channel Original movies, the impact of Hannah Montana spread even farther. The recent 2015 re-release of Jem and the Holograms on Netflix reminded us that Hannah’s impact is far from over and has gone on into the newer generations of tweens and teens.
The Impact On Pop Culture
If you grew up in the 2000s, you absolutely knew of the Hannah Montana fever one way or another. Even if you somehow didn’t watch the show, it’s physically impossible that you missed every other product with Hannah’s face on it. There were video games, dolls, clothing lines- like we mentioned previously. Hannah Montana was quite literally everywhere. Don’t you dare tell us you didn’t own at least one of these items!
The video games were probably the most prominent phenomenon out of these. The first one came out for Nintendo DS in 2006- the same year as the show’s first season. It had a relatively simple goal: someone was threatening to reveal Miley’s secret, and the player had to stop that from happening by playing as both Miley and Lilly. Players also had to avoid Amber, Ashley, and Jackson and had access to Hannah Montana’s closet (the dream!). 2007, however, was the big year for Hannah Montana video games. Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour and Hannah Montana: Music Jam both came out that year. Spotlight World Tour was available for PlayStation 2 and Wii, and Music Jam was available for Nintendo DS.
Hannah Montana: The Movie Video Game was released in the same year as the movie, 2009. By far, this had the most elements to it. Set in Crowley Corners, the game allows players to play as Miley and Hannah and interact with her friends and family all over town. Throughout the Story mode of the game, players had to complete tasks and unlock different items to perform, as Hannah to nine songs (being six from the TV show and three from the movie). It also contained various mini-games to gain extra points. Finally, Hannah Montana: Rock Out The Show came out for PSP in 2009. In the game, Miley’s dad gets sick, so she’s left to manage Hannah’s new tour by herself. In the game, the player had to set up the stages, dress Hannah, pick the songs, and play rhythm-based games while Hannah is performing. Five different video games inspired by a single TV show are quite the feature even today’s standards.
But, if you weren’t into video games, there were also toys. And there were a lot of them! Disney hit the jackpot with Hannah Montana in the sense that every single thing with her face on it sold like water. We remember the most were the dolls with different iconic outfits Miley/Hannah wore during the show. Still, there were also special ones inspired by the Hannah Montana movie and one modeled after her look in the show’s final season. And, do you think only Hannah had multiple dolls of herself? No way! Lola (Lilly’s alter ego) also had a few.
And those were just the dolls! Toy microphones, diaries, make-up, etc.- they did everything. And that’s not even mentioning all the other merch. We’d be willing to bet that you, or someone you knew, had a Hannah Montana backpack and/or pencil case at school. And in case you’re wondering if you’ve seen this type of success anywhere else, it’s because Jojo Siwa modeled her whole career after the Hannah Montana strategy of having as many products with her name on them as possible. And just like with Hannah, it has worked wonders for Jojo.
The show was also so iconic we’re still quoting many of its jokes to this day. Fifteen years later, we still say, “Good day! I said good day!” when we want to end an argument. Thank you, Jackson Stewart, for this line. Another very quotable one is Amber and Ashley’s “ooh tss” when we say the same thing as someone else, instead of the standard “jinx” (that’s how you spot the real HM fans). Another hilarious moment from Jackson was the “I’ll Call It International House Of Reasonably Priced Water, And Fries, And Stuff- IHORPWAFAS” moment.
We couldn’t possibly continue to talk about iconic moments without mentioning “Sweet niblets,” everyone says it at some point. It’s funny; it conveys the message- it’s the perfect phrase. Oliver also had his moments as “smokin’ Oken” and Locker Man (don’t lie, you’ve tried opening lockers just like he did). And, of course, this list would not be complete without the master of dad jokes, the one and only- Robbie Ray Stewart. His sense of humor is underappreciated and deserves more love, okay?!
In conclusion, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus were incredibly important to our childhoods and pop culture, in general. Hannah/Miley was able to break records, perform sold-out tours, and have an array of toys, video games, and clothes at all of the major retailers. She was one of the first ones to be able to break into those markets, and it paved the way for others to do the same. She also taught us important life lessons, gave us quotes and jokes to quote to this day, and was the first representation that we saw of a single father household.
We will never forget the impact that Hannah Montana and, in turn, Miley Cyrus had on us as children. We will continue the work that she did by making sure future generations know of the lessons we were taught and how iconic the Hannah Montana world is.
Thank you Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus! Love, The Honey POP
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Article Collaboration between: Aman Shamim, Anna Bastros, Brittaney Penney, and Keisha-Tara Watkin
Featured Image Source: Disney Channel