Maddie Ziegler Opens Up About Trying to 'Dumb Down' on 'Dance Moms'

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Maddie Ziegler

Maddie Ziegler got quite candid while speaking about her experience with childhood stardom and Dance Moms.

When discussing her time on the hit Lifetime series, Ziegler remembered "trying to dumb down," but it wasn't for the sake of the reality TV show or in an effort to make quality entertainment.

"When I was younger and teachers would say, ‘You need to be more like Maddie,’ I felt myself trying to dumb myself down because I hated it," she revealed in her recent interview with Teen Vogue. "I don’t want anyone else to feel less than."

Aside from her self-sacrificing behavior, Ziegler remained rather positive when conversing about the series, which she starred in for six seasons from 2011 to 2016–and much of it has to do with knowing what she knows now.

"Obviously, I have my feelings about that [show], but if I didn't do it, I would not be where I am right now at all," Ziegler, now 21, explained. "I wouldn't have been found by Sia. I wouldn't have found my love for acting through music videos, and I wouldn't be where I am, literally, right now talking to you."

Since she stopped filming the series in 2016, she's moved on from dancing professionally and starring in music videos to acting. Most notably in Sia's Music (2021), HBO Max's The Fallout (2021), the movie adaptation of West Side Story (2021), the R-rated film Fitting In (2023) and the upcoming comedy also starring Aubrey Plaza, My Old Ass.

Despite increasing her time on screen, Ziegler is one of the few original Dance Moms cast members not joining the reunion (also opting to sit it out is Nia Sioux). Instead, Dance Moms: The Reunion will bring together many of the reality show's alums, including Brooke Hyland, Paige Hyland, Kendall Vertes, and Kalani Hilliker.

The two-hour special is set to air on May 1 via Lifetime.

Next: JoJo Siwa Shuts Down Rumors Why 'Dance Moms' Reunion Features Incomplete Cast