Tish Cyrus: ‘I Had to Face My Two Biggest Fears Last Year—and I Am Stronger for It’

Tish Cyrus: ‘I Had to Face My Two Biggest Fears Last Year—and I Am Stronger for It’ featured image
Photographed by Billy Ray Cyrus

It’s right ahead of Mother’s Day and this year’s holiday is not one Tish Cyrus is looking forward to.

If the name doesn’t give it away, the mother-of-five (and, yes, manager to Miley and Noah and wife to Billy Ray) is an open book on her Audio Up podcast, Sorry We’re Stoned with Tish & Brandi Cyrus, but, when it comes to matters of the heart—more specifically, the death of her beloved mom, Loretta, during this past year—she’s still, rightfully, processing her emotions.

“It’s an everyday challenge to be O.K.,” the 53-year-old shares. “But I am strong, and I have my faith and my family. They are my ‘more.’”

Your family is a huge part of your livelihood and your business. What is it like to work with your daughter Brandi on the podcast?

“The podcast came about pretty organically. Brandi and I had worked together once before on a show called Cyrus vs. Cyrus, and we really enjoyed it. She has another podcast, and I’ve always loved it because it just felt so conversational. It felt like something that, when you listen to it, you escape reality a little bit. We thought about doing one of our own and, finally, we literally said, ‘We should do this. It’d be so fun to talk to fans and friends.’

Honestly, the fans that we have—that our whole family has—always feel very much like family and friends, mainly because so many of them have been along on the journey, through Billy Ray’s career, Miley’s career and now, Noah’s career. They tend to be more fans of the family in general, which is really awesome. 

We started talking about having a weekly podcast, then we started thinking about names. I can’t remember who said it, but somebody said, ‘Well, your mom’s probably going to get stoned, so let’s do something with that. We also really liked the idea that the conversation would be with someone who smokes and someone who doesn’t (Brandi) and the different perspectives. When you smoke you tend to go DEEP.’ It ended up being a really fun, natural, organic thing.”

You openly talk about your marijuana use. Is it fair to describe it as “self-care” for you?

“Absolutely—1,000 percent. I was late to the game. I was 47…and I’m not a drinker, I had never smoked, ever, not in high school, not as a kid. We were on tour and I was on a brand-new tour bus with Noah, one other manager and the bus literally caught on fire and burned down within three minutes. The whole thing. We lost everything.

After that, I was so scared to fall asleep on the bus ever again. I already had issues when we were on the road—mainly because I’m a control freak—but this accident sent it over the edge as far as me being able to go to bed at night. And sleep is so important! You have to sleep to be able to function the next day. Someone had given me an Ambien to help, and I took it for a couple of weeks, and I felt so terrible. Miley suggested that, instead of putting a chemical in my body, to try marijuana, and I did. I don’t think that it’s for everyone, but it really was this miracle thing for me—it truly calmed my anxiety and helped me to sleep. 

Then, I started researching it because I had always been so against it, like really against it, especially with the girls and any of my family members. It’s fair to say I was appalled and freaked out by it. But, pretty quickly, I started being in awe of how many benefits marijuana has to people who have seizures and sleep problems. There are so many other things it helps with and, in my opinion, I honestly feel like it’s going to be hugely impactful for dementia down the road.

It kind of became this thing that I was really so blown away by, probably because I had been so against it previously. Once I really started educating myself, it became a whole different thing in my life. At first, this whole thing was not easy for me to talk about…because I feel like there is so much judgment and stigma surrounding it still. But that’s also another reason I wanted to do the podcast. I don’t want to be a closet smoker, I want to tell people that it can change your life in certain ways—especially if you want to get off Ambien, like it did for me. I also know that it’s been hugely successful in helping people get off opiates. I think there’s so many benefits to it. It’s why I really want to be open about it and educate people about it.”

Tish Cyrus

You have your hands in a lot of different projects—music, podcast, design. Is there any world you’d love to do next or conquer?

“Well, I’m turning 54 in May. My whole life has been all about my family, and it still is. I manage Miley and Noah every day, which is a huge responsibility for me, and that comes first and always will. Now that I’ve gotten older, I am trying to make more time for things that I’m passionate about and do things that I really want to do. The interior design space is such a passion for me. I love it. It’s what I do when I first wake up and the last thing I do before I go to bed—I’m just out there looking for inspiration. I think that’s where I’d love to go next. I don’t think I’d want to take on clients necessarily, but I would love to maybe have some type of interiors line or just something in that space. And I’m not opposed to doing something in the marijuana space, either! I have a lot of ideas on it, too. Things I’m dreaming about and getting excited about, and I really want to see where it takes me. Again, I’m going to be 54. Now is the time.”

But you’re aging backwards…I’m sure you’ve tried a bunch of different products. Any holy grails?

“I have a friend who started out in Rodan + Fields really early on. She’s very successful now. I started using the face wash probably eight years ago and I’ve never stopped. They have a Daily Face Wash that I absolutely cannot live without. 

Also, anything by Natura Bissé is incredible. They actually used that on Miley when we did the Hannah Montana movie, when she was, gosh, 15 or 16. She was young and her skin was young. She gave the products to me and I just loved them. I love their moisturizer. I actually met with the gentleman that created it. He was phenomenal and the whole line is amazing. 

The other one product that I can’t live without is SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator. It’s so good. It’s truly one product I could not live without. It is, honestly, the best thing I’ve ever used on my skin. 

The one other thing that I really do love is called Plant Love. It is a CBD line that is phenomenal. I just started using it and I’m loving it. They have an oil and a moisturizer that is incredible. 

I have another friend who is in the marijuana space. Her skin is so phenomenal. I asked her what she uses and she told me that, for the last 20 years, she has only used CBD oil. She just started using retinol, too, which I should probably use, but she uses just retinol and CBD oil. I’m telling you, her skin is the best skin I’ve ever seen. It’s unbelievable. That’s why I was like, ‘I’m really going to try these Plant Love products and stick with them because I really do think CBD oil is amazing for your skin.'”

Care to share anything more treatment-based?

“Honestly, lasers scare me a little bit. I’m always like, ‘What’s my skin going to look like in 20 years if I’m doing all these things?’ I really don’t do much, but I did just do a microneedling treatment called Vivace and it was pretty incredible. I need to do more. Brandi has done four treatments and she loves it. Honestly, I’m so busy and that’s why I haven’t gotten more. I wish I had time to do all these things, but I do think microneedling is so beneficial. 

I’ve heard that, eventually, they’re going to do deeper needle-rolling on the body!  Which sounds really good for cellulite, and evening out your skin tone. I can’t wait for that—I’m less afraid to do all kinds of ‘stuff’ on my body than my face. I don’t do a lot of that, but the microneedling is the one thing that I’ve done that I do absolutely love.”

Is there a beauty philosophy you share with your kids, or anything your mom passed down to you that you passed down to them?

“My mom had the most beautiful, most incredible skin I’ve ever seen. The only thing she ever used was Oil of Olay. Honestly, maybe that’s what I should be doing! The skin on her arms and on her face were just buttery soft, and so beautiful. She basically did nothing…but she also didn’t get in the sun a lot. I think that’s probably the biggest reason her skin looked so amazing.

I talk to my girls about all of this a lot…we live in a world where, if you’re on social media, you are comparing yourself every moment of every day to other people. And we all know that doing that is so ridiculous because the things we see on social media just aren’t real. It bothers me the most when it comes to Noah, who is only 21, because she is so young, and she is really putting these unrealistic standards and qualities on herself—all those thoughts where you don’t feel pretty and everything else your mind does when you’re comparing yourself to people on social media. That’s my biggest talk with the girls. I keep saying, ‘Gosh, let’s be unique. You’re beautiful. You don’t look like everyone else. Erase that.’ Especially as an artist, you want to be different, you want to not look the same, you want to not have the same lips, the same whatever everyone else is doing.

That’s my biggest thing with them…trying to teach them about being confident in their own skin and not comparing themselves and wanting to look like everyone else looks. It’s a challenge—especially in the business that we’re in. There is so much emphasis on looks, which I hate. It should be about talent! And so many other qualities that are a lot more important than the way we look. I could talk about this all day because it’s a real sore spot with me. I wish we could go back to life before filters.”

That’s good advice. I know that your mother passed away last summer; I am sorry to hear that. Is there any advice you have for anyone who might be going through something similar in what is already a difficult year?

“Honestly, there’s parts of me that don’t even know how I got through last year, not as much of COVID but because of losing my mom. I always had two big fears in life: One, living alone, because I never have…you can imagine after five kids and, two, losing my mom. And both of those happened in the past year. When COVID hit, my husband was in Nashville and he got stuck there. His mom is there, she’s 85 and he didn’t want to fly, so he stayed out there with her.

So, I was alone and, then in the midst of it, I lost my mom. My two biggest fears came true, and I survived them. It’s not easy. I’m getting emotional just talking about losing my mom. It’s an everyday challenge to be O.K. and remember that I am strong and that I am going to get through this. I think the biggest thing for me is my faith, and it always has been. Truly, if I didn’t have my faith, my family…I think if I didn’t realize that there was ‘more,’ I don’t know how I would have gotten through it. But I do know that I’m stronger because of it. 

I am also very much into practicing gratitude. Every day I wake up, and I say out loud things that I’m so grateful for. The number-one thing that I’m grateful for right now is my growth period of last year. I truly am so much stronger than I’ve ever been, mentally for sure. I think if you can find just gratitude in everything, it’s so important.”

Tish Cyrus

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