Maddie Ziegler’s First Grown-Up Cover Story Is Here and She Isn’t Holding Anything Back

First came the reality show. It was 2011, and more than 2 million people tuned in each week to watch 8-year-old Maddie Ziegler and her friends compete on the excruciating yet addictive series Dance Moms.

The demanding work—filming meant Maddie missed 50 days of school one year; she'd often stay up past midnight learning new dance solos—jump-started her career. Suddenly, she was on the radar of people like pop star Sia, who then cast Maddie as the protagonist in her music videos, most famously "Chandelier." And that only gets us to 2014.

In the time since, Maddie, now 19, has launched an acting career (see: her recent roles in West Side Story and HBO Max's The Fallout); plenty of brand deals, ranging from a Fabletics line to a Kate Spade fragrance; and a refreshingly candid podcast, Take 20, with her younger sister Kenzie. She has amassed 4.8 million TikTok followers—many of whom seem genuinely amazed that Maddie has aged beyond childhood—and is about to start filming an intense coming-of-age "traumedy" alongside Schitt's Creek's Emily Hampshire called Bloody Hell.

It is, and always has been, a lot. There've been glitzy highs and miserable lows, a journey of learnings and what Maddie calls "unlearnings" along the way from Pittsburgh elementary schooler to fashion darling walking the Oscars red carpet. But as we Zoom in late spring, there's little evidence of her legendary hustle; Maddie appears calm, collected. And truly grown up.

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