Teen-of-the-moment Maddie Ziegler talks coping with fame, dancing for Sia and being mates with Millie Bobby Brown

[Photo: Glenn Nutley]
[Photo: Glenn Nutley]

You might not know her name, but you’ll definitely recognise her dance moves. For Maddie Ziegler is the hauntingly brilliant young dancer who first drew our attention in the creepy yet captivating video for Sia’s Chandelier.

Reaching well over a million views within the first 24 hours of its release, the video, which saw Maddie don a now iconic nude leotard and Girl Interrupted-esque wig, instantly catapulted the former star of reality TV show ‘Dance Moms’ to superstardom, and since then her fame has continued to rise.

Not only has she appeared as the public face of reclusive singer-songwriter Sia in four more of her videos, she’s featured as a judge on the 2016 season of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, released a memoir The Maddie Diaries and appeared as the voice of Camille in the DVD release of the Ballerina. Little wonder, therefore, that Maddie is currently one of the most famous teenagers on the planet. Alongside her BFF ‘Stranger Things’ star Millie Bobby Brown, that is.

Here in an exclusive chat with Yahoo Style UK the 14-year-old from Pennsylvania talks fame, friends and fielding autographs in the loo.

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You’ve crammed more into 14-years-than most people experience in a lifetime, but what’s been your biggest highlight?

Probably my biggest pinch-myself moment was when I performed at the Grammys with Kristen Wiig and Sia. I’ve never been so nervous in my life but the rush of it all was amazing.

Sia first got in touch after seeing you on ‘Dance Moms’, how did it feel being to be asked to star in her video?

I was so excited to work on a music video but I never thought that the outcome would be that incredible. Because of Sia that video changed my life.

You also appeared opposite Shia LaBeouf in the video for ‘Elastic Heart’, did he have any advice for you?

I had the best time with Shia and I learned so much from him. It was very interesting because since he’s a method actor he was preparing a lot before the role and he was screaming and punching the cage and I got a little scared. I kept asking Sia “Does he always do this?”

Do you have any confidence tricks for coping with nerves?

Most people think I must be confident because I perform all the time but I honestly get nervous before every performance. Knowing I have my friends and family there with me helps calm me down. They definitely keep me grounded and it makes it more fun and less stressful.

Speaking of friends, you’re besties with Millie Bobby Brown, how did you two meet?

Milly was actually a fan of Dance Moms and knew me from that. Then one day she came to one of the tapings of So You Think You Can Dance. She came back to my dressing room after the show and we hit it off. Now we’re BFFs!!

Do you swap tips and advice about coping with fame at such a young age?

Me and Millie definitely can relate to each other and we also help each other out with advice with being in the industry. I’m so happy I can finally relate to someone who’s just like me.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about living life in the spotlight?

Sia’s given me the best advice about coping with fame. She’s taught me to make sure that I love what I’m doing, don’t feel overworked and make sure I’m still a kid throughout the whole process. That’s always stuck with me and now it’s what I live by.

How do you deal with negativity?

I don’t read the hate comments because it’s never going to make you feel good. I believe people who write hate comments have nothing better to do than put someone else down in order to make them feel better.

What’s the best thing about being Maddie Ziegler right now?

The best thing is that I get incredible opportunities and get to meet so many amazing people.

And the worst?

Sometimes I feel I don’t get a chance to have a normal life and a day without taking a picture with someone. But I totally still enjoy meeting my supporters because I wouldn’t be here without them.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve been recognised?

In the bathroom when I was in Dubai. It’s crazy to think that people know me in Dubai and also it was funny because the slightly weird thing was that there was a bathroom cubicle in the back of the picture.

Maddie is currently starring in animated flick Ballerina [Photo: Ballerina]
Maddie is currently starring in animated flick Ballerina [Photo: Ballerina]

You’ve recently appeared as Camille in the animated film Ballerina, how did you find the experience?

It was interesting for me to just act with my voice because usually I’m used to acting on camera or just being physical with my dance, so it was interesting just talking to mic without moving around.

Would you like to do more acting?

I can definitely see myself doing more film work in the future. I have been loving acting and I would love to be a movie star.

Ballerina is out now on Blu-ray™ and DVD courtesy of Entertainment One, available at all good stockists and available to download from Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Sky Store.

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