From reality show star to actress! Maddie Ziegler has been making a name for herself in Hollywood since Dance Moms premiered in 2011. Since departing from the series, she kicked off an acting career and has been cast in a few well-known films.

She made her animated film debut in a movie titled Leap!, which premiered in 2016. She voiced the role of a ballerina named Camille.

“I don’t want to always be seen as a reality TV person. I want people to see that there’s more that I can do, and that’s why I’m heading into acting,” the dancer shared in a March 2016 interview. “My lifelong dream is to get a main role in a movie, and I really hope that happens one day.”

Nearly a year later, she nabbed a main role as Christina Sickleman in the 2017 movie The Book of Henry. From there, Maddie has continued to appear in various films. The Pennsylvania native also had a surprise cameo in Netflix’s hit 2020 movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You.

“Get ready, Lara Jean. Last year, Peter sent [a singing valentine] to Gen every period,” she said during her scene as a Pep Squad Girl while singing a rendition of Billie Eilish‘s “Ocean Eyes” to Lana Condor‘s character as a Valentine’s Day gift from Lara Jean’s boyfriend Peter (Noah Centineo).

Fans can also catch her in the controversial movie Music and West Side Story, among others. The Sia-directed movie Music received backlash from the autism community after the “Chandelier” singer cast Maddie as an autistic teenage girl.

“I’ve actually stayed out of all of it just because, you know, I’m 18 years old and it’s a lot of pressure,” Maddie said, in part, of the criticism during a February 2021 interview with U.K.’s The Independent. “I understand why people would want someone who’s actually on the spectrum with autism to play this character. But in terms of the dance sequences, I think that’s why Sia chose me to bring the dream world to life. It was all [made] with good intentions and with a good heart.”

She also showcased her dancing ability when West Side Story premiered in late 2021. “It was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” she told Entertainment Tonight in November 2019 of filming the musical movie.

Going forward with her career in the acting world, Maddie plans on putting in the work.

“I want people to know that I’m capable of acting,” the star told V Magazine in July 2021. “It’s one of those things where I’m going to have to keep proving people wrong and [continue] working at my craft.”

Scroll through our gallery for a breakdown of Maddie’s acting roles over the years. 

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