Maddie Ziegler Was ‘Way More Cutthroat’ During ‘Dance Moms’ Days

When Dance Moms first premiered, Maddie Ziegler was only 8 years old. And while she was the second youngest member of the Junior Elite Competition Team, she was a fierce competitor. Ziegler had a knack for winning dance competitions, even when she was up against older girls. Her musicality, emotional execution, perfectionist tendencies, and work ethic helped her win trophy after trophy.

Dance Moms alum Maddie Ziegler smiles at the Oscars
Maddie Ziegler | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Maddie Ziegler was the girl to beat on ‘Dance Moms’

Ziegler’s penchant for winning made her a favorite in her dance studio. But the pressure of being the girl who always won was overwhelming at times. The Fallout actor had to learn that striving for perfection wasn’t always a sustainable choice. And, after leaving Dance Moms, she has a much healthier outlook on her work ethic.

The ‘West Side Story’ actor reveals she was more cutthroat at age 8

“My 8-year-old self was way more cutthroat,” Ziegler shared with Euphoria zine. “I’m still like this, but used to say, ‘work as hard as you can and be thankful for every moment, push through, and put everything you have into the projects you’re doing.’ Now I’ve learned that it’s OK to not always feel like you have to be the best and to work so hard. There are times where I’m like, ‘It’s OK to take a breath.'”

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Of course, Ziegler can’t just turn off her perfectionist tendencies. However, the Bloody Hell star has learned helpful coping mechanisms to help manage them. While speaking with Cosmopolitan she shared that she’s learned how to successfully process her feelings instead of shoving them down. She’s also realized the value of taking necessary rest.

Ziegler has found ways to manage her perfectionist tendencies

“I will always be a perfectionist, but not in the way where in Dance Moms you would see me crying and then I just suck it up and get right back to it,” Ziegler explained. “I’m going to therapy, talking to people, doing all the things. I’ve learned I’m not going to be in trouble if I’m feeling bad or if I have an injury. That’s the biggest difference. It’s amazing that I’m able to feel my feelings and not just push them down.”

RELATED: Maddie Ziegler Reveals She Has a ‘Fear of People Thinking I’m All That’

It seems that there’s one area of her life where Ziegler’s extreme attention to detail is very useful. “I’m also just really clean,” she revealed. “That’s where my perfectionism has transferred.” It appears that Ziegler is in a much happier and healthier place post Dance Moms. And while she is still competing with other actors for coveted roles, she seems to be navigating said competition in a way that really works for her. We’re sure that fans of the dancer are interested in seeing where her career takes her next.

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