Sia has an uncomfortable relationship with fame and is known for retreating from the spotlight. But one of her tactics for dodging celebrity has shined that very same light on someone else — 15-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler.
The young dancer has starred in five of Sia’s music videos. Ziegler also appears in performances with Sia, her dancing pulling the visual focus away from the singer.
Sia’s choice to deflect fame off herself and onto Ziegler is the subject of an article published in the Guardian on Tuesday, headlined, “The Sia conundrum: if fame is so damaging, why pass it on to a child?”
The 41-year-old musician responded to the criticism in a series of tweets on Wednesday.
“This article poses a question I have asked myself often,” Sia wrote. “I do check in with Maddie weekly about whether she wants this, and assure her if she ever wants it to stop it stops.”
In a later tweet, “The Greatest” singer also acknowledged that teenagers “cannot, or should not be charged with making sound choices.” Sia said she tries to “choose the best for her always.”
Sia discovered Ziegler while watching the reality show “Dance Moms.” In 2014, the singer invited the then 11-year-old dance prodigy to star in her music video for the song “Chandelier.”
The video turned out to be a huge success, sparking a creative collaboration between the two. Ziegler has since become the face of Sia’s music and often appears as a mini-me version of the Australian singer-songwriter.
Sia pointed out in her tweets that Ziegler was famous before the two began working together, but she admitted that she intensified the teen’s fame and feels a sense of responsibility for that.
“I feel very protective of her and my goal is to empower her in whatever choices she makes,” Sia wrote.
She also added, “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.”