Maddie Ziegler Opens Up About Life After "Dance Moms"

From Seventeen

Goodbye Dance Moms, hello to the new Maddie!

In our August issue, the dancing queen gets real about her choice to exit the hit show. "Leaving Dance Moms was a hard decision to make, but it was getting too stressful," she says. "Now, I feel like I'm so free."

Of course, a big part of Maddie's newfound freedom means no more Abby Miller. So we had to ask: is the dance instructor as bad IRL as she seems on television? "She's exactly how she is on the show," Maddie says. "But the thing that I like about her most is she can actually be funny sometimes. And she also wanted me to be good." Still, that wasn't always easy for Maddie to handle. "I feel like I had so much more pressure on me to be the best in the room."

Another major source of drama? Rude comments on Twitter and Instagram. "I would be like, 'Why are they mad at me?'" she says. "I've come to realize now that people just do it because they want attention. One person would be hating on me, and then another girl would get into a fight with her on my page! I'm just like, What the heck? Why do people do this?"

Luckily, Maddie doesn't let the haters get in the way of chasing her dreams. Now that she's conquered the dance world, she's ready to give acting a shot. And there's one star who's giving her major #goals: Jennifer Lawrence. "She's an amazing actor and can do anything," she says. "She can be really quirky and she's so funny in interviews I've seen. I'd love to see her do a Sia video parody-she would be amazing at 'Cheap Thrills'!"

Let's make it happen, J. Law!

Reporting by Heather Viggiani.

For more from Maddie, pick up the August issue of Seventeen, on newsstands July 5. You can also subscribe to the digital issue here.