While Abby Lee Miller struggles through her chemo treatments, another former Dance Moms star is telling all about her experience on the show.
13-year-old Mackenzie Ziegler is following in big sister Maddie's footsteps; she has written a book!
In Kenzie's Rules for Life, she talks about missing her childhood while dancing on TV, and she slams Dance Moms as a toxic environment.
RadarOnline reports on some of the contents of Mackenzie's tell-all book. Within the pages, Mackenzie confesses that she felt inadequate and insecure during her reality television career.
"I didn’t feel like I was good enough."
That's a normal feeling to have, but for a young child to experience it while being thrust into the spotlight is ... sad.
"I was also really nervous about people watching me on TV."
Of course! She was a child. She is still, for that matter, a child. She's barely a teenager.
"Would they laugh at me? Would I look really stupid up there?"
Dancing in a room full of dancers is one thing. Doing so on television is another.
"I know the cameras would be following us around and catching everything I did and said. I was embarrassed and really insecure."
Like her sister Maddie Ziegler's tell-all book, Mackenzie's does not mention Abby Lee Miller by name.
But you can see "vague" hints that appear to refer to her.
"I always felt like I had to live up to people’s expectations of me."
A number of people suspect that Mackenzie is referring to Miller, here.
"I thought everyone was constantly judging me, watching each move and tearing it apart, nitpicking everything I did, and laughing at me behind my back."
Yeah, that definitely sounds like how Miller came across on the show.
"The competitive dance world and reality TV can get a little crazy."
Mackenzie also mentions that she basically missed out on a lot of important parts of being a child.
"It was pretty much my answer to every party, play date, after-school activity, you name it: ‘Sorry, I have dance.'"
Strange that we live in a world where you (correctly) can't send your child to work in a mine or a textile factory, but kids can be trotted out on TV and dance themselves into exhaustion.
"I started to regret not being a ‘real kid’ with a real life. I felt like I had no childhood, and it made me sad and angry."
Those feelings sound very justified.
To make matters worse, Mackenzie reveals that she was the target of online bullying over social media.
"People would be so cruel to me in comments."
For one thing, they would make unfavorable comparisons between her and her sister.
"They would compare me to my sister, saying that I wasn’t as pretty or as talented as Maddie."
Vicious and inexcusable.
"They called me fat; they said I was ugly and had big bunny teeth that stuck out."
I cannot imagine saying these vile things to anyone, let alone a child.
"They made fun of my costumes and my routines, called me a crybaby and a loser."
"I felt like I was constantly being attacked. It made me paranoid and insecure."
That kind of experience can haunt you for life.
Mackenzie says that it took almost her entire run on Dance Moms to work up the courage to put her foot down and leave the series.
"I was over it."
By the way, are you aware that Mackenzie herself was not paid for her time on the show? She's worth 2 million, thanks to other appearances and endorsements and tours.
"I felt like the constant competition life was getting to me too much."
"It wasn’t fun for me anymore; I was ready to move on and do something else."
Good for her.
"It was me knowing I was capable of doing so much more in my life and feeling ambitious and a little 'itchy' to branch out. I was ready to move on."
Considering that Maddie's book also did not mention Abby Lee Miller by name, we assume that Mackenzie avoided naming her from the start.
That is for the best, since Miller has been diagnosed with cancer. Releasing a book that bashes someone while they're in the hospital fighting for their life would be all kinds of awkward.
That said, Miller did shade Mackenzie over allegedly vaping, but that's a far cry from actively bashing someone.
We hope that Abby Lee Miller makes a swift and full recovery.
We also hope that Mackenzie Ziegler continues to see success -- and that she gets to, at least, have an almost normal adolescence since she was robbed of a childhood.