Maddie Ziegler is COSMOPOLITAN’s ‘The Fame Issue’ Cover Star

Posted on June 14, 2022

The journey from child star to bona fide legend is a notoriously tricky one. So how does a person take it all in—the obsessive scrutiny, the intense pressure, the heady praise—and come out okay on the other end? That’s exactly what Maddie Ziegler is figuring out. Now, as Cosmopolitan’s Fame Issue cover star, she isn’t holding anything back. In her cover interview, Maddie dissects the glitzy highs and heartbreaking lows of a life in the spotlight, speaking to Cosmopolitan news & pop culture director Alexandra Whittaker about the challenges of leaving Dance Moms, her acting career taking off, being in a serious relationship, looking up to Justin & Hailey Bieber, and more. Plus, in her Cosmopolitan “Expensive Taste Test” video, Maddie compares clothes, foods (specifically Cheetos), and even crowns (which she knows a thing or two about) as she tries to guess which items cost more money.

 

 

On the spectrum of fame: “I still have a hard time considering myself famous. 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.’”

On when she first realized she was “well known”: “I was 8 and we were in an ice cream store, me and the girls from Dance Moms, and people were calling our names. 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.”

On what Dance Moms was like IRL: “People thought I was a brat because in all my interviews, I would say, ‘I’m the best. I know I’m going to win.’ But that’s because the producer was telling me to say that. I was just doing whatever they told me to do because I thought that’s what you did. They set you up for failure.”

On her former coach Abby Lee Miller and why she’ll never talk to Abby again: “She was distraught [when I left]. For the longest time, we felt so guilty. She trained me, she helped me, but also, I knew I would be okay without her and I was sick of being in a toxic environment. I was like, ‘This is not for me. I can’t do this.’ I haven’t spoken to her since. I feel at peace.”

On spending half her time on Dance Moms wanting to quit: “My family and I really tried to leave for the last three seasons. But when you’re in a contract, it’s really hard. Eventually, I finally got out.”

On going through puberty in the public eye: “I literally hit puberty in front of everyone on TV, and that’s a super-weird thing. I started developing boobs and I got my period and my body started changing, and people were like, ‘Oh, she’s gaining weight. She’s getting fat.’ And I’m like, Whoa! I’m literally becoming more of a woman!

On what she learned from Sia: “Making mistakes… I was taught you have to be pretty, you have to be put-together. No one can ever see you without a perfectly pointed foot or a straight leg. And what I learned was that your flaws are also beautiful. I think that was the best time ever in my life. I felt like Hannah Montana, like I was living in two worlds.”

On filming a school shooting for HBO Max’s The Fallout: “Focusing on a school shooting is such a heavy topic but so important and needs to be brought to the forefront of conversation, so it felt really meaningful to work on.”

 

Cosmopolitan’s Fame Issue hits newsstands nationwide on June 21.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Josefina Santos/Cosmopolitan Magazine]

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