Sia Answers Criticism About Working with 15-Year-Old Dancer Maddie Ziegler

posted by Megan Armstrong, Billboard - 

Sia can hide behind her signature face-obscuring wig, but those get-ups don't shield her from criticism. On Tuesday (Dec. 5), writer Bonnie Malkin of The Guardian published a piece examining the Australian singer's apparent double standard in putting the spotlight on her frequent collaborator and dancer, 15-year-old Maddie Ziegler

Malkin attended Sia's Nostalgic for the Present tour stop in Sydney, Australia, and from what she saw it raised some questions. "Up on the stage in Sydney on Saturday, with Furler concealed and Maddie in the spotlight, it seemed that the superstar was deploying a child in a way that she herself refuses to be," Malkin wrote in part.

She continued: "Where Furler was hidden, Maddie was exposed. Where Furler was still, Maddie was moving. Where the singer was in darkness, the child was in the spotlight. Where Furler’s face and body was carefully hidden from the eyes of a stadium full of strangers, Maddie’s face and body was offered up instead."

Sia saw Malkin's words and responded rather thoughtfully via Twitter on Wednesday (Dec. 6). Below is the sum of four separate tweets.

"This article poses a question I have asked myself often," the first of her four tweets begins. "I do check in with Maddie weekly about whether she wants this, and assure her if she ever wants it to stop it stops. It's a conversation we should all be having. Not just myself but all directors, stage parents and agents with their children, clients, charges. Maddie was already famous when I discovered her, but I have certainly expanded her exposure and feel responsible for that. I feel very protective of her and my goal is to empower her in whatever choices she makes.

"Some would argue a teenager can't or shouldn't be charged with making sound choices for themselves and so I do try to choose the best for her always. But I think this is an important conversation. What I learned from Maddie is that fame affects her differently than how it affected me. I can only trust that she is telling me the truth. If that changes, we stop." 

Check out her full tweets below:


Ziegler was discovered by Sia while on reality television show Dance Moms, which Ziegler appeared on from 2011 to 2016. Since beginning work with Sia, Ziegler has starred in videos for Sia's songs "Chandelier" (which has over 1.7 billion views), "Elastic Heart," "Big Girls Cry," "Cheap Thrills," "The Greatest" and more. Ziegler is (obviously) currently accompanying Sia on tour.

To read Malkin's full think-piece, click here.

Photo: Getty Images


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