NEW YORK — You know how they say some people are just born with it?
Miley Cyrus was, by all accounts, born with "it" — that special charisma that leads people to stardom.
And so a star was born on the day Destiny Hope Cyrus — Miley's real name — came into the world in 1992, to hear her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, tell it. At that time, he was wearing a ponytail, and people all over the country were dancing to his big hit, a silly, catchy song called Achy Breaky Heart.
Little Destiny, on tour with Daddy as the family went with him, was given to smiling a lot and quickly earned the nickname Smiley. Later that was shortened to Miley. Her grandmother is the only one who still calls her Destiny.
"When I was little, I would stand up on couches and say, 'Watch me,' " Miley says. "We had these showers that are completely glass, and I would lock people in them and make them stay in there and watch me perform. I'd make them watch."
At 14, with a Julia Roberts smile and a Shania Twain voice, Miley Cyrus is the star of Hannah Montana,
a Disney Channel sitcom about a young girl who leads a double life as a pop star. She's Miley Stewart by day, Hannah Montana at night. When she performs, she wears a blond wig so no one will recognize her.
The show premiered in March to the highest ratings in the channel's history (5.4 million viewers) and has exploded over the past year to become the No. 1 cable show among the target 6-14 "tween-age" group. (It's No. 2 on all channels in that age group, second only to American Idol.
A Hannah Montana
soundtrack, Hannah Montana: Songs From and Inspired by the Hit TV Series
, released in October, already has sold more than 2 million copies. A clothing line was launched last month at Macy's. The show is in 118 countries. And the Disney machinery is working overtime to serve all Miley fans in every way possible with more, more, more — stationery, posters, greeting cards, cosmetics, fragrance, home decor items — in the works.