“We got pulled out of school every day to go to dance and film a TV show, so that was not normal at all,” the dancer told Elite Daily in May 2021 about growing up on TV. “And then once we started traveling, people started recognizing us. I remember we were in an ice cream store and someone called our names, and we were so freaked out. Like, how did these people know us? And then we realized, ‘Oh, there’s a lot of attention around our show.’”
As original cast members on the show, Maddie — along with her younger sister, Kenzie Ziegler — first appeared on the reality series in 2011. Once she grabbed the attention of songstress Sia, the performer became a household name. In 2014, Maddie became close with the musician and danced in all of her music videos, starting with “Chandelier.”
“I’ve learned a lot from her,” Maddie told People in December 2019 about her close bond with Sia. “She’s definitely helped me feel comfortable in my own skin. I always had a fear my teeth were too big, and I wanted to fix them. But she told me not to. She said, ‘It’s what makes you you.’ She always reminds me to stay true to myself.”
As she started to become more famous — thanks to her recurring appearances in music videos and on various awards show stages — Maddie stayed on Dance Moms for a few more years, eventually saying goodbye to the series in 2016.
“I have dissociated so much from that time,” she told Cosmopolitan in June 2022. “I’ll see fans post scenes from Dance Moms, and I’m like, ‘I literally don’t even remember that happening.’ It’s weird because there were really amazing times, but there were also a lot of things that were really, really not great for us kids.”
“My dance teacher [Abby Lee Miller] taught that if you don’t get the trophy, if you don’t get the crown, you are less than, which is the worst way to train a kid,” she explained. “It carries into other life lessons. We also weren’t allowed to watch our competitors or be friends with them. I’ve had to unlearn a lot of those things.”
After her journey from Dance Moms and with a few movie roles under her belt, there is so much more to come from the star. Scroll through our gallery to see Maddie’s complete transformation over the years.
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