Singer, songwriter, pop culture icon, and star of the 2008 film LOL, Miley Cyrus has reinvented herself many times: First, she was Hannah Montana. Then, she said the character “was murdered” and performed hip-hop/pop crossover hits like “23” and “Love Money Party.” Next, she donned a more Boho look that some called her being “white again.”
Fast forward to 2020, and Cyrus released “Plastic Hearts,” a rock album that included collaborations with genre icons like Stevie Nicks, Billy Idol, and Joan Jett—plus some covers of classic rock songs. And now, after the release of her latest album “Endless Summer Vacation,” the artist has looked back on facets of her life that she experienced while in the public eye over the last ten years: The dissolution of her marriage to Liam Hemsworth, her performance with Robin Thicke at the VMAs in 2013, and all the other things she did when she “Used to be Young.”
But there is one event from her past that she has not yet reflected on through song, and that’s the Miley Cyrus blue eyes meme.
Miley Cyrus eyes: The meme
The photo of Cyrus itself was taken at the 2008 Grammy Awards. In it, Cyrus’s hair is dark brown, in loose, wavy curls, and parted to the side. She is wearing dark eyeliner on her top and bottom lid, which accentuates her bright blue eyes. Cyrus’s eyes look vacant and it’s almost like she is smiling with her mouth but not her eyes. It’s worth noting that Cyrus’s didn’t look as hypnotizing in any other photos. But in this one photo, her eyes are very intense.
The photo is most widely known as being a meme about people with blue eyes, especially light blue eyes. “People with blue eyes be like” usually appears alongside the photo of Cyrus, satirizing that people with blue eyes always look intense, as if their eyes are open wide at all times.
Variations of the meme
Many versions of the meme have emerged since it went viral in 2018—some of which poke fun at Cyrus herself, and others that ridicule unrelated concepts.
In the former category, a particularly popular form of the meme shows Cyrus’s face no longer smiling and she’s holding a gun, pointed at the viewer.
“I SAID we are gonna party in the USA,” the meme reads, referencing her song “Party in the USA.”
Memes that include Cyrus’s blue eyes from the 2008 photo include joking about wearing bright eyeshadow at school, and the trend of photoshopping Cyrus’s face from that photo onto other peoples’ bodies.
One of these examples was a twist on artist Marina Abramovic’s iconic 2009 performance art piece “The Artist Is Present,” in which Abramovic would sit at a table across from participants and simply stare at them.
The Miley is present pic.twitter.com/lxfInO9aZG— barbariana (@barbariana) October 24, 2018
Cyrus and the blue-eyed elephant
The Cyrus with Blue Eyes meme has also been combined with another meme about having blue eyes: the blue-eyed elephant meme. The blue eyed elephant meme originated from Barbie animated movies and centers around a character named Tika, who is a blue elephant that has bright blue eyes.
2024 Grammys Resurgence
During the 66th annual Grammy Awards, Miley won two Grammy Awards and performed “Flowers” while celebrating her win. Just hours earlier on the red carpet, she stared at the camera in a similar fashion—and instantly drew comparisons to the original meme: