The Stunning Transformation Of Mackenzie Ziegler

Mackenzie Ziegler made her debut as a public figure in 2011 when she appeared in the controversial Lifetime reality show, Dance Moms. The little sibling of fellow Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler, the youngest Ziegler sister quickly became one of the most beloved figures on the show due to her skills as a dancer and her innocent, witty remarks.

Since her 2016 departure from the Lifetime reality show, Mackenzie has only upped her game as both a performer and public figure. However, despite her success and millions of Instagram followers (over 14 million at the time of this writing), Mackenzie doesn't actually see herself as a celebrity. "I don't think followers are a big deal. I'm thankful that I have [millions], but it's just a button," the star told Flaunt

Of course, Mackenzie is too busy to be concerned with how many Instagram followers she has. From dancing her way into our hearts to dropping a collab with a famous singer, this gal has been hustling for much of her young life. Here's a look at the stunning transformation of Mackenzie Ziegler.

Mackenzie Ziegler has been singing longer than she's been dancing

Mackenzie Ziegler made a name for herself as the talented little sister of Maddie Ziegler on the hit reality show Dance Moms. While dancing may have skyrocketed the younger Ziegler sister to fame, it was not Mackenzie's first love.

In fact, as Mackenzie revealed to Schön! magazine, she wasn't even excited about dancing until she was well into her Dance Moms career. "When I was little, I didn't really have a passion for dancing, but when I was about 9 years old, I knew it was something I wanted to keep doing," Mackenzie explained to the magazine.

According to Mackenzie, she was passionate about something else before dance stole her heart. "I started voice lessons when I was 6 years old, and from there I really knew that I wanted to pursue singing," Mackenzie told the publication. Considering she's a bona fide pop star now, it's safe to say Mackenzie's voice lessons paid off. 

Mackenzie Ziegler had to be homeschooled

Mackenzie Ziegler is a celebrity these days, but as of this writing, the former Dance Moms star still just a teenager. And, like other teens her age, Mackenzie has to go to school to get an education.

Of course, her demanding schedule as a star means Mackenzie can't exactly attend a normal high school. Instead, as she and her big sister Maddie revealed in a July 2016 interview with Today, the siblings started being home-schooled by a Pittsburgh-based tutor in 2013. "It sometimes gets annoying, obviously, because I'm with my sister ... [and] we don't have any friends there," Mackenzie revealed. 

That said, this dancing queen almost certainly knows she's better off being home-schooled than she is attempting to be successful at a normal school. According to her big sis, the siblings once missed "like, 50 days of school one year" while pursuing their dancing dreams. 

Mackenzie Ziegler "hated" her big sister when she was younger

Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler may be some of the most famous siblings in the country — but they still have the same problems as regular, non-famous sisters. And according to Mackenzie and Maddie, those problems were only exacerbated during their Dance Moms days.

"I didn't really like [dance] when I was younger because I was getting compared to Maddie," Mackenzie revealed to The Project (via Newshub). "[We] used to fight every single day on Dance Moms," added big sister Maddie. Mackenzie chalked up her rocky relationship and fraught relationship with Maddie to being with her sister all day, every day. 

"When [Maddie] and I were younger, we literally hated each other," Mackenzie said in an August 2019 interview with Elite Daily. The former Dance Moms star continued, saying, "Now, [Maddie and I] are best friends." Added Mackenzie, "She's really supportive of me, which is so awesome."

On Dance Moms, Mackenzie Ziegler proved she's not afraid to cry

These days, Mackenzie Ziegler has pop star aspirations, producing credits, and a bright future as a star. However, when she first appeared on our television screens, Mackenzie was just a kid. 

Still, Mackenzie's age didn't stop Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller from speaking to her as if she was an adult. In an early, oft-quoted Dance Moms moment, Mackenzie breaks down in tears while attempting to learn a routine — prompting Abby Lee to pull her into the hallway and deliver a stern lecture to the teary tot. Later on, after performing a solid run-through of said routine, Mackenzie nonchalantly told the Dance Moms cameras, "I just cry sometimes. It's no big deal."

Speaking with BBC News, Mackenzie admitted she now knows Abby Lee's harsh way of directing the kids in her dance classes was far from appropriate, but the former Dance Moms star simply got used to the criticism during her time on the show. "Dance teachers are always very strict on kids, so I just learned to take it," Mackenzie explained.

Mackenzie Ziegler says she wouldn't be where she is now if not for Dance Moms

As fans of Mackenzie Ziegler know, the multitalented performer first became a household name while appearing alongside her sister, Maddie Ziegler, on the controversial reality show Dance Moms. And while the show kicked off Mackenzie's career, her time on Dance Moms was far from a walk in the park.

"When I was on Dance Moms I was really scared to put myself out there," Mackenzie told Flaunt, recalling the many tears that were shed while trying (and failing) to learn difficult routines, as well as learning to navigate instructor Abby Lee Miller's notoriously intimidating coaching style

While Mackenzie doesn't keep up with Abby Lee anymore, she's said she wishes the best for her "awesome" former dance teacher (via Us Weekly). Mackenzie told Flaunt, "I learned a lot from the show, like how to stick up for myself." Added the former Dance Moms star, "I wouldn't be here without [the show]."

Mackenzie Ziegler's mom is her best friend

Mackenzie Ziegler is famously close with her big sister, Maddie Ziegler. However, according to the youngest Ziegler sibling, it's a different family member who gets the title of best bud.

In a June 2020 Instagram post, Mackenzie wished her mother, Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni, a happy birthday, writing, "Thank you for being my best friend." Added Mackenzie, "You do everything for me and I'm so thankful. Love you so much."

Despite being her best friend, though, Mackenzie's mom still manages to humiliate Mackenzie and her older sister Maddie. "[It's] embarrassing that my mom is on Instagram," Maddie told Today in a July 2016 interview. The sisters even recalled a particularly embarrassing moment at the Teen Choice Awards, revealing their mom yelled for Zac Efron to take off his shirt as he was onstage presenting an award. As Mackenzie told Today, "The people around us looked at [our mom] and were like, 'What are you doing?'"

Mackenzie Ziegler has been the victim of bullying

Mackenzie Ziegler is one of the most beloved public figures to come out of the Dance Moms franchise. Unfortunately, however, that doesn't mean she was immune to being bullied. In June 2020, a video surfaced featuring Mackenzie claiming she'd been bullied by Darianka Sanchez — who, at the time, was rumored to be joining the TikTok content house, Hype House. "She's very mean to me and she calls me very mean words," Mackenzie revealed in the video (via Seventeen). The former Dance Moms star continued, saying, "She just always hurts my feelings and hates me."

Since Mackenzie knows exactly what it feels like to be bullied, she doesn't hesitate when it comes to defending others. Recalling a time she stood up to a dance class bully who was being mean to her friend, Mackenzie told Teen Vogue, "I told her that was not nice, and that you should not bully her because we're on the same team, and we should all love each other." Here's hoping Mackenzie is just as quick to defend herself against bullying!

Mackenzie Ziegler used to go by Mack Z

Mackenzie Ziegler is a household name today, but if you fancy yourself a fan of Mackenzie's early music, you might know her best as Mack Z. According to Seventeen, when first starting her career as a pop star, Mackenzie performed under the stage name "Mack Z," even naming her 2014 debut album after her shortened moniker. As her website notes, the video for "It's a Girl Party" — one of the most popular songs from Mack Z — reached number one in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

In 2016, Mackenzie released the single "Day & Night" with fellow singer Johnny Orlando. This time, however, the former Dance Moms star dropped her Mack Z stage name, instead opting for her full name — which was already super recognizable. At the time of this writing, the music video for "Day & Night" has been viewed over 23 million times on Johnny Orlando's YouTube channel. 

Mackenzie Ziegler is a published author

Fans know Mackenzie Ziegler is a talented force to be reckoned with onstage, but in 2018, Mackenzie proved she was even more than a performer. Kenzie's Rules for Life: How to Be Happy, Healthy, and Dance to Your Own Beat, Mackenzie's first effort as an author, was published in May 2018.

Speaking with Flaunt, Mackenzie revealed, "I wanted to write a book about positivity, because my friends are always saying, 'How are you so positive with everything?'" Mackenzie continued, saying, "I always find the bright side of things."

In a May 2018 interview with Tiger Beat, Mackenzie revealed that becoming an author had long been on her list of dreams to achieve. "Ever since I was little, I've always loved reading. And so I wanted to write my own book," Mackenzie told the publication. The former Dance Moms star continued, saying, "I thought I was going to write a kids book, but I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to start with a memoir about myself.'"

Mackenzie Ziegler executive produced and starred in a web series

It's indisputable that Mackenzie Ziegler is a highly talented individual, whether she's showing off her dance skills at a competition or hitting the high notes as a pop princess. As fans of the star well know, Mackenzie is also a terrific actress, guest starring on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn in 2015 and 2017. And in 2018, Mackenzie took on the lead role of Cassie in the web series Total Eclipse. However, Mackenzie didn't just sign on to be the star of Total Eclipse; instead, the former Dance Moms star joined the web series as an executive producer. 

"It was so fun because I've never filmed a YouTube show, and it was definitely something different," Mackenzie told Paper about her experience as an EP. Mackenzie continued, saying, "I love playing Cassie because she's different from everything I've ever played. Usually I play a popular girl or something like that, but I got to play a really shy and kind of awkward [character]."

Mackenzie Ziegler worried she wouldn't grow close with her Total Eclipse costars

Mackenzie Ziegler starred on Dance Moms from 2011 to 2016, surrounded by friends — as well as her big sister Maddie — who all shared similar interests. Outside of that world, though, it could be challenging to make friends. The former reality show star revealed in a May 2018 interview with Paper that she was initially worried she wouldn't bond with her Total Eclipse costars. 

Telling the publication that she and the rest of the cast are "best friends" now, Mackenzie admitted, "I feel like we were all really scared that we wouldn't become as close as we are now, but it's really nice because we hang out even when we're not on set." And according to Mackenzie, her relationship with her costars has even benefited their YouTube series.

"[It] definitely helped that we were friends because a lot the times they had to say mean things to me because obviously they were bullying me, and it was actually good because we wouldn't take it to heart because we were really close," Mackenzie revealed. Added the star, "It was super fun filming with them."

This is how Mackenzie Ziegler vents her feelings

Although a teenager, Mackenzie Ziegler has the career most adults could only ever dream of having. That's not to say it's been easy for her, though. Mackenzie has had to navigate all the ups and downs of fame while in that awkward transition from childhood to adulthood.

Fortunately, Mackenzie has plenty of creative outlets into which she can funnel her teen angst. Music is her favorite way to wind down, destress, and turn her thoughts and feelings into art. "I go into a writing session and I just vent," Mackenzie told Elite Daily in an August 2019 interview. 

According to Mackenzie, music offers a certain freedom that her other passion, dance, simply cannot. "With dance, you have to be prepared. If you don't know a dance, you're cut. But with singing, you can literally say whatever," Mackenzie told Elite Daily. Added the former Dance Moms star, "It's really cool."

Mackenzie Ziegler has a love-hate relationship with social media

Mackenzie Ziegler is part of Generation Z, which CBS News dubbed "the most web-savvy, app-friendly generation." Although Mackenzie (who was born in 2004) grew up surrounded by advancing technology and countless social media platforms, the former reality star often wishes she could just unplug from it all. 

"There's so much hate on social media and it sucks," Mackenzie told Elite Daily in an August 2019 interview. She continued, saying, "I just really want to delete it all sometimes, but I can't because it's obviously my work." That said, Mackenzie did admit that social media has taught her an invaluable life lesson. "Social media has made me really humble," Mackenzie revealed. She continued, telling the publication, "I hate people who act differently because they have a lot of followers."

Speaking with Flaunt in August 2018, Mackenzie revealed that she finds the heavy editing and filters used on her fans' social media photos a bit disheartening. "Thirteen-year-olds are face-tuning themselves to look skinnier," Mackenzie opined. Added the star, "I just want to tell them, 'It doesn't matter! You're thirteen, just live your life!'"

Mackenzie Ziegler has a special relationship with this singer

Mackenzie Ziegler has most definitely come into her own as a performer and public figure. However, before becoming Mack Z, a published author, an actress, and an executive producer, Mackenzie was best known for being the little sister of Maddie Ziegler, who also starred on Dance Moms

Many people know Maddie Ziegler as the young, talented dancer who left many a mouth agape (and inspired countless Halloween costumes) with her incredible dance skills in Sia's "Chandelier" music video. And, in June 2020, Mackenzie Ziegler followed in her sister's footsteps to work on her own collaboration with the award-winning artist. Revealing that she and Sia had teamed up to create Mackenzie's single "Exhale," the former Dance Moms star told People, "I wanted to make a song that everyone can just have fun to."

Recalling her disbelief that Sia would actually want to record a duet with her, Mackenzie told People, "She's always so supportive, but I never thought that she would do a song with me. Added Mackenzie, "I'm just so grateful for that because I look up to her so much as a role model and she's my inspiration in music."