While many were confused, and some offended, by Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, one person was left feeling degraded and “less than human,” one of her dancers. Hollis Jane, a self-described “little person,” went on her blog to talk about the experience of dancing in Miley’s performance with Robin Thicke at the VMAs.
Jane appeared as one of Miley’s dancing teddy bears on the show and says it’s the first time she performed purely to be “gawked or laughed at.” After the first dress rehearsal for the performance, Jane says, “I walked out of the Barclay Center shaking and crying.”
Instead of being seen as a performer, she says the crew, publicists and other performers were staring and laughing for “all of the wrong reasons. I was being looked at as a prop … as something less than human.”
While she’s encountered uncomfortable situations before, Hollis says, “For the first time I felt truly ashamed of being a little person.” Later she was asked to audition to be part of Miley’s tour and initially thought about how the pay could help her in many ways, so she tried out.
After being told she was chosen for the tour, she had to rethink her decision. She considered her future, when a child she might have could find her dancing on YouTube. Jane says in the end it simply wasn’t worth it, so she opted against joining the tour.
She’s also careful to note that she’s not meaning to be disrespectful to those who agreed to work the tour, or who agree to similar performances. “That’s what is so lovely about our world,” she says. “You are free to do whatever the hell you want to do.”
Jane was able shed some light on just how planned the VMA performance was as well, during a Reddit AMA. She says everything Miley did, down to sticking her tongue out, was carefully planned. “When we were rehearsing and she wasn’t there, the choreographer would step in for her and she goes ‘and she’s gonna stick her tongue out like this’ and did it,” Hollis remembers. That somehow makes it more strange.