Maddie Ziegler talks about dance moms, Abby Lee Miller

“The producer told me to say that. I don’t think I’m better than everyone else.”

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For context, Maddie was one of the original members of the cast Dance Moms – when she was only 8 years old – and remained in the series for six seasons until 2016.

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“People thought I was a brat because I said in all my interviews, ‘I’m the best. I know I’m going to win,'” recalled Maddie, now 19. “But it’s because the producer told me to say it. I don’t think I’m better than everyone else.”

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“I was just doing everything they told me to do because I thought you did it. They set you up for failure.”

“I had more stress in those years than when I left. I’ve become so detached from that time. I’ll see fans posting scenes from Dance Moms and I’m like, ‘I literally don’t even remember it happening,’ ”she continued – noting that while there were good moments, there were also many that were“ really, really not great ”for the kids.

Maddie went on to say that she had to learn a lot from what coach Abby Lee Miller taught her. “[I was taught that] not to win or to have another girl beat me was the end of the world. My dance teacher taught that if you don’t get a trophy, if you don’t get a crown, you’re less than, which is the worst way to train a child. That translates into other life lessons, “she continued.

In the end, Maddie says she and her family have tried to leave in the last three seasons – but failed, due to a contract. “I was the most loyal girl there; I just wanted to dance. “And I loved competing until it became television and the drama started,” she said.

As for Abby’s “frantic” response to Maddie’s departure, Maddie continued, “We’ve felt guilty for the longest time. She trained me, she helped me, but also, I knew I would be fine without her and I was sick of it. toxic environment … I haven’t talked to her since. “

Another influence that Maddie said the series had on her was the effect of going through puberty in the public eye. “I started developing my breasts and I got my period and my body started to change, and people said, ‘Oh, she’s gaining weight. She’s getting fatter,'” she said. “People have said I’m pregnant before.”

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“They hold you to this version, this idea they built in their head of what they think I am. And then everything outside of that idea is really hard for them to understand. Sometimes moms and I will come up with something like, ‘We still think you are 8 years old ‘. “

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For now, Maddie says her focus is on acting – like her recent roles West Side Story i The Fallout.

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You can read the whole interview here.

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