07/22/2008 at 11:00 AM EDT
chalked it up to her youth when she discussed – for the first time – her controversial photos
that appeared in Vanity Fair
Rehashing the brouhaha of last April on Tuesday's Good Morning America
, the musician, promoting her new album Breakout
, said, "I think I was just in a stage where I was just trying to get things done, and maybe look for an older audience. I was working with a big magazine just trying to go with what they were saying."
But when it came to the criticism about the portraits – which included a pose in which Cyrus, 15, back to the camera, looked to be topless – the singer said, "People need to remember that I am young and that I do have feelings, and I'll do the same thing for them. Anyone who was 15 years old can't say they haven't made a mistake. So I think it's just normal."
Having put that "hard time" behind her, Cyrus says she's walked away smarter, and she now "knows what it's like to have people talk about you like you're kind of iron."