CONTROVERSIAL pop queen Miley Cyrus is defending her raunchy antics ahead of her upcoming New Zealand performance.
The former Hannah Montana star is bringing her Bangerz tour to New Zealand in October, a show that has generated headlines for its drug references and implied sexual activities.
At one show, she mimed an oral sex act on a dancer wearing a Bill Clinton mask. At another, a British tabloid reported she wore an outfit covered with pictures of cannabis leaves.
And at a third, the mother of a nine-year-old girl compared the show's antics to "porn".
But in an interview with APN, Cyrus said her two-hour concert was about "freedom" and "empowerment".
"There is a heart and a soul to the show, which every single person realises after they see it," she said.
"I'm staring into my fans' eyeballs, looking into their souls telling them to look at me as an example of what kind of freedom [you should aspire to] and how that brings happiness into your life."
Despite admitting she was wearing "next to nothing", Cyrus said the sexual themes were driven by what women found sexy - not men.
"A lot of girls come in, they're dressed like me, and by the end of it they're going wild and I feel like I've unleashed them a little bit and it's really empowering.
"The sexual aspect of our show isn't targeted at men. It's not driven by what men think is sexy. It's what women think is sexy and cool and strong."
The 21-year-old sparked an outcry over her performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, when she "twerked" in front of much older pop singer Robin Thicke.
Cyrus performs at Auckland's Vector Arena on October 8 before playing shows at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on October 15 and Sydney's Allphones Arena on October 17.
Read the full interview with Miley here
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.