The Stunning Transformation Of Dance Moms' Nia Sioux

Dance Moms' Nia Sioux has transformed from a little girl into a confident young woman in the years since she starred on the popular show. Whether you tune in to watch the incredible dancing or just to be a fly on the wall in a room full of drama, you know the series seldom fails to be entertaining. Helmed by the notoriously critical Abby Lee Miller, Dance Moms allowed viewers access into the everyday lives of young dancers and their often bickering mothers.

As the dancers grew up, you felt as if you knew them personally, even as they flew the coop to break out on their own. Sioux, in particular, was underestimated by Miller and perhaps her fans. And yet, she prevailed.

So, what has Sioux been up to since she left Miller's studio for good? Is she still dancing or has she left the barre behind? Here's a look into the stunning transformation of Dance Moms star Nia Sioux.

As soon as Nia Sioux could walk, she was dancing

Like many of the other stars on Dance Moms, Nia Sioux is super passionate about dancing. That's something that's basically embedded in her DNA, because practically as soon as she could stand on two feet and walk, she was already choreographing her moves. "I have been dancing as early as I can remember, so my earliest memories always involve dance," she recalled in an interview with Naluda Magazine. "My parents took me to a preschool dance class at two because they knew I loved to dance." Way to nurture her innate talent out of the gate!

It was only a few years later that Sioux found her way to the studio that would one day make her famous. "I started as a recreation dance student at Abby's studio around 3 years old," she continued. Upon finding out that the only way to get a solo was to officially join the company, Sioux decoded to sign up. Thus began her serious and lifelong commitment to dance.

Nia Sioux persuaded her parents to let her audition for Dance Moms

When Nia Sioux found out the Abby Lee Dance Company planned to hold an open audition for a reality show, she just knew she had to try out. "I forced my mom to take me," Sioux, who was already a regular at the studio by the time the audition was held, explained to J-14. "I asked my mom and dad about like three times before they actually let me go." That's not to say that they were enthusiastic, but they did at least allow her to audition.

Sioux and her mother headed to the studio where the young dancer gave it her best shot, despite her mother's skepticism. "We did the interview and on the way back home my mom was like, 'Nia, you're not going to get it,'" she continued. Believe it or not, her mother told her that she was "too boring." Yikes.

Obviously, Sioux wasn't boring at all considering she was cast in Dance Moms. It just goes to show that you should follow your heart, no matter what anyone else has to say!

Nia Sioux was diagnosed with a rare disorder shortly before Dance Moms began

Although Nia Sioux clearly had what it takes to hold her own on Dance Moms, some less-than-friendly folks labeled her as the "weak link" in the group. But what they didn't know is that Sioux had a real disadvantage that her fellow dancers on the show didn't have to contend with.

"The summer before the show came, I was diagnosed with RND [Reflex neurovascular dystrophy], which is a pain management disorder," she revealed in an interview with YSBnow. "I was in the hospital the whole summer, so I wasn't dancing, I couldn't walk." That had to be a seriously difficult experience, complete with epic FOMO.

If you can't walk, you can't dance and if you can't dance, you can't train for a television show, which Sioux knows all too well. "So, while everyone was improving, getting better during that pivotal summer, I was in the hospital not even able to walk," she continued. Fortunately she was able to improve by the time the cameras started rolling in 2011.

Growing up on Dance Moms was sometimes challenging for Nia Sioux

While Nia Sioux was excited at the prospect of being a reality television star, as many folks would be, it should come as no surprise that some aspects of her celebrity have been challenging. "I have been on the show since I was 9 years old and people have watched me grow up on television," she shared in a 2015 interview with Naluda Magazine. "The good and bad moments and memories are there for everyone to see." Can you imagine having all kinds of personal experiences out there for millions of people to watch? That's a lot to handle, especially for someone so young.

Additionally, Sioux explained that encounters with Dance Moms fans can be a bit intimidating. "It is a little weird that people know so much about me and I have never met them before," she added. Fortunately the upside is that while there may be some haters, there are also tons of people who have cheered Sioux on over the years.

Nia Sioux made her off-Broadway debut in 2016

While Nia Sioux is obviously very skilled at dancing — and has clearly invested a lot of time and effort into her practice — that's not the only skill she possesses. In fact, she's been putting in the work to cultivate other artistic ambitions. "Since last year I really started getting into acting and singing because that's what I want to do as a career," she told Theater Mania in summer 2016. "I want to make sure that I'm a triple threat." You show 'em, Nia!

That dedication is part of what helped Sioux land her first role in the off-Broadway show Trip of Love that same year. Naturally, Sioux was beyond thrilled to check this item off of her bucket list. "It's literally a dream come true," she continued. "It's overwhelming at times because you're getting all these dances, but I love it." She added that she loves being challenged in this new way. Ultimately, Sioux revealed to the outlet, she wants to showcase her talents on Broadway, something she's loved her whole life.

Nia Sioux credits Dance Moms for her "strong work ethic"

In 2016, five years after the very first episode of Dance Moms premiered on television, Nia Sioux made the tough decision to leave the show for good. And though she very well could have been salty about it — especially considering how she was treated at times — Sioux says she took away amazing things from the experience. "I've benefited so much from the show and I learned a lot from my years training at the Abby Lee Dance Company," she revealed in a 2018 interview with Dance Spirit. "Not only did I gain a tremendous following thanks to that platform, but I also developed a strong work ethic." 

Sioux even went so far as to say that the difficulties of Dance Moms provided her with teaching moments. "I learned the value of discipline, how to take constructive criticism, and to apply critiques and corrections in a swift and professional manner," she continued. Talk about a class act! Sioux is truly wise beyond her years.

Dance Moms' Nia Sioux ignored the haters and let her talent "speak for itself"

Once Nia Sioux had officially put Dance Moms behind her, the pressure was on to name her next project — and not always in a kind way, either. "Everyone was telling me what I'm gonna do next after Dance Moms," she explained to Access. "They were kind of doubting me." Clearly Sioux needed a plan, lest people think she didn't have anything up her sleeve.

That's right about the time when Sioux dropped a single called "FLXXN" in 2018. This wasn't the first single Sioux released, but it was different in that it was a not-so-subtle message to the haters. "Basically the song is about, 'You know what? Don't listen to them,'" she continued. "I'm gonna do what I want to do, and I'm gonna let my talent speak for itself." That's how you show them!

Sioux also added that she's accomplished so much since the show ended and that she's proud of herself. Our girl is here to stay!

Nia Sioux remains close to her Dance Moms co-stars

You don't have to watch every single episode of Dance Moms to know that being on the program isn't easy, thanks to Abby Lee Miller's critical ways. But that didn't stop the dancers on the show from becoming and remaining lifelong friends, according to Nia Sioux. "We all still have a really close relationship," she shared in a 2017 interview with J-14. "And if anything, if we don't talk to each other for a while, it's just because we're busy. We're all so busy."

There are a few specific dancers that Sioux said she heard from frequently. "I talk to Kalani [Hilliker] almost every day," she continued. "Same with Kendall [Vertes] and Chloe [Lukasiak]. I really stay in touch with them." As of 2017, she was also in contact with Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler, although it was a bit harder to catch them as they were especially occupied. It's good to know that the cast has stayed in touch.

Dance Moms' Nia Sioux joined the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful

Nia Sioux experienced a ton of success in 2018. In addition to dropping new music, she also made her grand soap opera debut in The Bold and the Beautiful. "Honestly, The Bold has been such an amazing experience already," the star gushed in a chat with Studio 10 in July 2018. "Everyone has been so welcoming, everyone is like a family there, and you can really feel that on set." That sounds pretty awesome, honestly, and not at all like the plotlines featured on the program.

That's not to say it's easy being a soap opera star, as the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful film two episodes a day, according to Sioux. They also have to memorize their dialogue extremely quickly, which takes a serious amount of skill. "I am so in awe of just everyone there," Sioux continued. "They're just so good at what they do."

Sioux played Emma Barber on the show and was featured in a 2018-2019 storyline opposite Adain Bradley, according to Soap Opera Digest.

Nia Sioux became a face for a fashion line

Nia Sioux's projects aren't just limited to theater, television, and dance, as she's also done some modeling. In 2019 Sioux joined Gabrielle Union's Im-perfect campaign, which celebrated the multifaceted diversity of women. "Let's change the world by living our truth and celebrate each other's individuality," Sioux wrote in a post on her Instagram feed.

Union was especially selective in choosing faces for the campaign as she wanted them to be women who've used their platforms to foster positive change. "What makes this collection particularly special is that I was able to have these strong, powerful women join me in this new campaign," she explained to Essence. "It was fun to see how each woman interpreted the pieces and made them her own."

Given that Sioux's motto is "star in your own life," as the celeb once told Teen Vogue, you can see why Union selected her for this collection. It's a natural fit! 

After Dance Moms, Nia Sioux became a published author

Just as 2018 and 2019 were banner years for Nia Sioux, so too was 2020, thanks to her hard work and commitment to her career. For starters, Sioux took to social media to make a huge announcement in April 2020. "I'm so excited to share Today I Dance, a picture book I have been working on for over 15 months," she gushed in an Instagram post. "It is such a special project to me, so I hope you enjoy." Congrats, Nia!

Sioux drew on her personal experience to write the book, which centers around one of the most pivotal times in her life. "It's just about my first experience taking a dance class ... and what it felt like to put on tap shoes, ballet shoes, and go to jazz, and go to hip hop for the first time," she shared in the accompanying video.

Nia Sioux went on a "natural hair journey" in 2020

The history of Black hair in America is fraught with controversy and oppression, according to the BBC News. That's because of the intense pressure many Black men and women have felt to make their hair align with white beauty standards, often forcing them to endure dangerous cosmetic procedures. Fortunately, though, natural hair has become increasingly more accepted and thus more common.

Nia Sioux was inspired to take out her braids on camera in April 2020, revealing her natural hair to her roughly 1.1 million subscribers. "I'm also going to be wearing my hear natural for a week, and [I'm] going to take you guys on my natural hair journey," she explained in a video on her YouTube channel.

In a follow-up video, Sioux also discussed how being on Dance Moms had taken a huge toll on her hair, as she constantly had to style it for competitions. After she left the show, Sioux was free to begin her natural hair journey and restored her tresses to their optimal glory. We are so here for this transformation!

Nia Sioux hopes to encourage her generation

Just a few months after showing the world her gorgeous natural hair, Nia Sioux celebrated a monumental milestone in her life: She officially became a high school graduate. "I'm so excited for the next adventures life has in store for me," she revealed in a post on her Instagram page. "Moving on to the next chapter, I want to encourage our generation that we can be the change." She also congratulated her fellow graduates and charged them with turning the world into a better place.

That was on the heels of Sioux sharing more incredible news with her fans back in May of 2020. "Your girl's going to UCLA," she proclaimed in a video on her YouTube channel. Perhaps the biggest reason that Sioux selected the University of California, Los Angeles was that she fell in love with it after doing an event there with Michelle Obama, which had a real impact on her — understandably so! While she was interested in a few other colleges, UCLA was ultimately the school for her.

Dance Moms' Nia Sioux wants to see real racial justice served

While Nia Sioux is clearly living her best life and checking off bucket list items, that doesn't mean she's turning a blind eye to the inequalities in the world. For one, in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, Sioux called for racial justice. She's also been an advocate for Black empowerment in schools. "Representation matters and it is important to see teachers who look like you teaching in the classroom," she shared on Instagram.

Sioux also wants to see increased Black visibility in all areas of life. "We also need more positive representation in schools, movies, shows, books, politics, etc.," she continued. "We need to see people who look like us and who are successful." She added that positive images of Black people are beneficial for everyone and that more should be done to bring them out into the world — and Sioux is certainly actively involved in doing just that. As Premiere Collectibles explained, Sioux's children's book Today I Dance "incorporates a diverse group of students, partaking in class."