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Maddie Ziegler has literally grown up in the public eye. The dancer was only eight years old when she was cast in the wildly popular Lifetime show, Dance Moms. While the show was originally only supposed to be six episodes, its initial run was seven seasons. But the reality TV show was just the tip of the iceberg for Ziegler. The show led to her partnership with her now godmother, Sia, and helped her to launch her career in entertainment.

Maddie Ziegler looks over her shoulder at the Oscars
Maddie Ziegler | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Maddie Ziegler has made a name for herself outside of ‘Dance Moms’

At 19, Ziegler has created a name for herseld beyond Dance Moms. Recently she’s starred in films like West Side Story and The Fallout. She recently wrapped her latest film, Bloody Hell, in which she is the lead. She also has a brand partnership with Fabletics, a podcast with her younger sister, Kenzie Ziegler, and recently attended fashion week in Paris. And with 13.9 million followers on Instagram alone, Maddie has plenty of fans following her every move.

Why the ‘West Side Story’ alum doesn’t think of herself as famous

But despite Maddie’s many accolades and achievements, she still doesn’t view herself as famous. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, the dancer revealed that she thinks of herself as “well known.” This seems to be a bit of a coping mechanism for Maddie to manage the amount of attention that she receives.

“I still have a hard time considering myself famous,” Maddie explained. “I know fame is a very wide spectrum, but still, I just don’t think I’m famous. I see people like Rihanna…I always say I’m ‘well known.’ I have a fear of people thinking I think I’m all that, and that’s what I relate being famous to, even though I know that’s not necessarily the case. It’s just easier for me to say ‘well known’ or ‘in the public eye’ because to me, that just seems less intimidating.”

Ziegler recalls the first time she got recognized at age 8

Maddie may not think of herself as famous, but she’s been getting recognized for years. In fact, she still remembers the very first time it happened. Maddie was out with her friends and former teammates: Nia Sioux, Kenzie, Chloé Lukasiak, Paige Hyland, and Brooke Hyland when it happened.


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“I was 8 and we were in an ice cream store, me and the girls from Dance Moms, and people were calling our names,” Maddie remembered. “We were weirded out, like, ‘How do they know our names?’ Then I noticed it gradually—everywhere we went, at any dance competition—swarms of people. It didn’t make me excited. In a way, I was kind of embarrassed.”

It’s understandable that Maddie would be unnerved by the attention she was receiving, especially at such a young age. Fortunately, she’s learned how to better navigate her fame in the 11 years since. And since she’s still close to all of the original members of the Dance Moms cast, she has friends who understand her experience to an extent. Considering all of the new projects that Maddie has in the works, it seems like her popularity will continue to increase over time.