This past Halloween, I dressed up as breakout "Dance Moms" star Maddie Ziegler. Or, to be more accurate, Maddie Ziegler as singer/songwriter Sia's alter ego in the Grammy-nominated video for her massive hit, "Chandelier" and its follow-up, "Elastic Heart."
So conversing with the actual Ziegler was somewhat of an out-of-body experience, to say the least. The 12-year-old dance prodigy is the epitome of a precocious tween -- think Sally Draper in false lashes and a leotard. She's polite, articulate, spunky and has the cutest laugh ever. I not-so-secretly want to babysit her. And, despite her burgeoning career as a professional dancer, she's also got another passion that's more about color palettes than pliés: beauty.
Read on to find out Ziegler's favorite beauty vloggers, Shia LaBeouf's hidden talent, and why there's no way in hale her mom is allowed anywhere near her with a makeup kit. Seriously, it's just not happening.
Hi Maddie! So, how into beauty would you say you are?
If I weren't dancing, I'd definitely be doing beauty. I do hair and makeup all the time for my competitions and stuff, and besides dancing, it's my favorite thing to do.
Can you describe your morning beauty routine?
On a normal basis [when I'm not filming "Dance Moms"], I literally just put concealer on. Well, actually... first I have to put moisturizer on, because if I don't, my skin breaks out because of all the competition makeup I have to wear on the weekends. So I have to wear moisturizer, and then I put concealer on, and usually powder and blush, and then it depends with my eyes. Usually, I'll do either eyeliner, like a winged eyeliner, or a soft pretty gold/beige eye shadow and mascara.
What about your bedtime routine?
Sometimes I get home super late, so I don't have time to do a whole face routine. But I definitely wash off my makeup. I use these Avon makeup wipes; they're just easy and they wipe off my makeup really well. That's if I have to go to bed quick. But if I have time, I will wipe off my makeup with the wipes, and then I'll wash my face with a face wash. Then I'll take a moisturizer and put that on so my face is nice and clean.
What are your favorite brands and products?
For my concealer, I love Smashbox -- it's really good. All of my eye shadows and all my blushes and mascara are MAC. MAC is probably my favorite makeup brand. As for my powder, I really, really like Napoleon [Perdis] -- I got it for Sia.
How old were you when you started wearing makeup?
Well, with competition, I started really early. But on an everyday basis, I was eight years old, because of ["Dance Moms"]. Even though it was just really minimal -- like blush, mascara, lip gloss -- that's when I started to actually wear makeup. Also, I don't like how my mom does makeup -- she's not good at it! She's just not good! My [younger] sister won't let her touch her either; she'll make me do her makeup.
We always make this joke about my mom: My friends will be like, "Who did your makeup?" And I'm like, "My mom...," and they all just laugh, because it's obviously not true at all. My mom is horrible at it! So at the age of eight, I stopped [letting her do my makeup]. My mom had to do my makeup before for competitions, and obviously when I was seven years old I didn't know how to use makeup! But then I was just sick and tired of her doing it wrong.
I learned how to put my own eyelashes on... and then my sister loved it, so I started doing her makeup, and then from there, now I do my friends' makeup for competition. And I do my mom's makeup most of the time.
Do you have a trick for putting on fake eyelashes?
When I do my eyelashes, I just apply the glue onto the strip of eyelashes -- but what I used to do is, I would just stick them on my eyes as soon as I applied it to the strip, and they would always move around and I couldn't get them in the right spot. And they would take forever to dry. But the tip that I give all the time is, if you wait at least 15 to 20 seconds for the glue to get tacky then put it on, it sticks really well.
What beauty bloggers and YouTubers are you obsessed with?
I have a bunch of favorites. I love Michelle Phan, Promise Phan, MakeupbyMandy24, and I also love watching cool face paint tutorials, like MadeULook by Lex -- she's amazing. I also follow so many people on Instagram for makeup. I love MakeupbyAnna. I just think they're so fascinating and I learn so much from them.
Would you ever make a YouTube tutorial?
I actually did! I filmed some videos two years ago, and I put them up last spring, and it was just a fail, because I wasn't as experienced as I am now. So I'm pretty positive I'm gonna delete that and start a new one!
The only hard thing about it is that I'm always traveling, and I'm always filming "Dance Moms," so it's so hard for me to make videos. But it's what I would love to do if I weren't dancing or acting and singing, I would definitely be a YouTuber. It just seems so fun.
Well, you have a lot of time to do it! You're still really young.
Yeah, I would love to. And when I made [my old] videos, it was just on my laptop through iMovie. I want to get them professionally done! You know, you want them to be clear.
Who are your celebrity beauty icons?
I love Kim Kardashian. All the Kardashians, their makeup is always so pretty. I really like Ariana Grande -- I like the simpler looks, those are my favorite. It's just nice to see when celebrities aren't so caked on and look fake because of their makeup. I love how everyone has been doing a lot of highlight and contour -- especially the highlighting part. I love when they have sparkling cheeks. It's so cute!
How do you wear your hair day-to-day?
If we're not filming, I'll just stick my hair in either a ponytail, a messy bun, or a side braid.
Your hair's really long, right?
Well, I actually just had four inches cut off, so it's still long, but to me, it's short. It was touching my hips, and now it's in the middle of my back -- it's so sad! I loved my long hair!
When I'm filming, and when I'm at dance, I have to wear a bun. My mom gets mad at me because I'm allllways playing with my hair, so she makes me put it in a bun. I'm always braiding and twisting it; it's my worst habit.
Are there any hair products you love using?
For dancing, we definitely have to have a lot of hairspray. I use Big Sexy hairspray, because it stays in really well and gets rid of all the fly-aways. And one that I love using is from Tigi Bed Head. It's like a lotion for your hair that makes it really shiny.
Let's talk Sia -- can your explain your beauty look for "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart?"
We do a natural look. Not too heavy with the face, because of the wig and leotard. The makeup artist, Tonya Brewer, always does a simple eye -- usually neutral -- and pretty much the main focus is on the lashes. I have really long lashes, so we do a lot of mascara. But otherwise, super simple eyes and barely any blush, and a little, tiny bit of lip gloss.
For the hair, we braid my entire head in eight sectioned-off braids and wrap them, and I literally have 100 pins in my hair!
Actually, I really wanted to ask you about that -- because I have to admit, I dressed up as you for Halloween!
So I was trying to do the "Chandelier" dance and my wig fell off in front of everyone, and it was really embarrassing...
After we put all the braids in and pin them the whole way, we put a wig cap on and it's really tight on my head. Then we put the wig on, and we have to pin the wig onto the hair and to the wig cap. I would say there's at least 30 pins in just the wig. I do flips and everything, so we have to make sure that it's really secured.
And what about all the dirt on you and Shia LaBeouf in the video for "Elastic Heart?" Was that real?
That was makeup. Actually... I'll take that back: it wasn't all makeup! The floor was really, really dirty! They put us in this dirty environment, and we rolled around on the floor so many times. But Shia and I also had special effects dirt on us, and he actually did his himself to make it look more real. He's super good at that stuff.
This interview has been edited and condensed.