Maddie Ziegler Addresses 'Toxic' Social Media (Exclusive)
Maddie Ziegler isn’t a fan of social media. The 18-year-old dancer and actress addressed her feelings about social media while speaking with ET’s Deidre Behar to promote her new movie, The Fallout.
“I don’t love social media,” she admitted. “I think it used to be super fun and relaxed. You’d go on to see what your friends are doing or what drink they’re drinking that day. It was very, very lighthearted.”
“It’s become a toxic place, but I try to look at it for the good,” Ziegler added. “My explore page, it’s curated to what I want to look at. So art, makeup, dance, stuff like that.”
Though Ziegler tries to make the best out of social media, she shared that the online platforms do make it “really easy to compare yourself to everyone.”
“I have a really hard time with that,” she said. “It doesn’t really go away. It’s something that you carry, but especially in your teenage years, I feel it’s just heavily at the forefront of most conversations or experiences.”
Developing a love for acting, though, has helped Ziegler, who first came into the spotlight on Dance Moms, escape her own worries.
“It’s just so nice to transform and be in this new universe to completely get rid of everything that you have in your brain or just to let go of everything,” she said. “It’s a really nice release for sure.”
“I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to transition into acting, and I definitely thank dancing for that,” she said. “Obviously I discovered that I loved it through dancing, just because I was constantly playing a character in whatever performance I was doing. So it was a really nice transition.”
Ziegler’s latest project is The Fallout, a drama about a high school shooting, which won the Grand Jury award in the narrative feature competition at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this month. Directed by Megan Park and co-starring Jenna Ortega, Ziegler made it a point to learn from everybody while on set.
“I was very lucky to have Jenna with me and I think we just fed off each other’s energy… I’m still so new and still such a beginner, so that’s why I’m so honored to be in this movie alongside Jenna and everyone else,” she said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like I should be here,’ but just learning from Megan and Jenna, I’m so inspired.”
Even with the support from her director and co-star, Ziegler was still nervous when it came to filming one scene in the movie.
“We were both really nervous to film the drunk scenes,” Ziegler said of herself and Ortega. “I think it was just because we’re both pretty mellow, for the most part, in real life… I was really nervous about that.”
“As the night was going on, we were just more and more crazy,” she added of filming the drunk montage. “We were drinking Slurpees, we had candy, so we were just on a sugar rush. So it definitely helps the process, I think.”
Ziegler was also nervous about having her family watch her in this more adult role.
“I feel uncomfortable if my mom watches me kiss someone… My sister felt she couldn’t watch,” Ziegler said of her younger sister Mackenzie. “… They saw the movie, but my sister had a really hard time apparently. I don’t know why.”
Despite the nerves, Ziegler loved the experience of making the flick.
“I’ve learned so much by just watching them on set. I’m so excited to carry that knowledge that I’ve learned for whatever comes next,” she said. “I hope to continue acting.”
Ziegler can next be seen in Steven Spielberg’s update of West Side Story, a fact that totally delights the teen.
“I think it’s pretty insane that I grew up watching West Side Story and I get to be in the remake in just a little part. That was like, ‘What is happening? What is my life?'” she said. “That was really cool, just to be a part of such an iconic dance film. It’s really cool.”
The Fallout premiered March 17 during the SXSW Film Festival.
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