Sia Opens Up About "Feeling Responsible" For Teen Dance Prodigy Maddie Ziegler

Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images
The notoriously fame-shy Sia has responded to criticism over her use of teen dancer Maddie Ziegler as a proxy in her shows and music videos, saying she "feels responsible" for her exposure and claiming the use of children in the industry is "a conversation we should all be having".
In a column for Guardian Australia headlined "The Sia conundrum: if fame is so damaging, why pass it on to a child?" on Wednesday, journalist Bonnie Malkin questioned the ethics of the musician exposing the 15-year-old to the fame she tries so hard to avoid.
The writer said she "can't help but wonder" what the consequences for the teen might be. Malkin described Sia as "the grown-up who has seen what fame can do and fears it has, perhaps unwittingly, handed it over to the child instead."
Sia responded to the article on Twitter, saying it "poses a question I have asked myself often" and that "all directors, stage parents and agents" should be having a conversation about the use of children in the entertainment industry.
“I do check in with Maddie weekly about whether she wants this, and assure her if she ever wants it to stop it stops,” she wrote.
Ziegler was already famous from the US show Dance Moms when she began working as Sia's creative partner, works on other projects and has more than 10 million Instagram followers. But the musician admitted that the 15-year-old's stardom had exploded because of her.
“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,” Sia said.
“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."
She concluded: “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.”
Sia's tweets received a largely positive response from fans, with many praising her for her "refreshing take" on the issue given the large amount of child exploitation in the industry.
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