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‘Dance Moms’ alum Chloe Lukasiak: I’m grateful for Maddie Ziegler rivalry ‘manufactured’ by Abby Lee Miller

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“Dance Moms” alum Chloe Lukasiak has a positive outlook on her made-for-TV childhood rivalry with Maddie Ziegler.

“I am so grateful that I experienced the show exactly as I did because it’s made me into who I am,” the reality star, now 22, tells Page Six’s “Virtual Reali-Tea” podcast ahead of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms: The Reunion” special.

In the two-hour catch-up, Lukasiak unpacks the emotional turmoil of being pitted against Ziegler, now 21 — the latter of whom did not participate — by their browbeating dance teacher Abby Lee Miller. 

“I always thought I wasn’t enough,” she tearfully says in the trailer for the reunion, looking back on the many times Miller showed favoritism to Ziegler. “Like, in every single way.” 

Chloe Lukasiak
“Dance Moms” alum Chloe Lukasiak tells Page Six’s “Virtual Reali-Tea” podcast that she has a positive outlook on her made-for-TV childhood rivalry with Maddie Ziegler. Brian Zak/Page Six
Chloe Lukasiak
“I am so grateful that I experienced the show exactly as I did because it’s made me into who I am,” she says ahead of Lifetime’s anticipated “Dance Moms: The Reunion” special. Brian Zak/Page Six

With reflection, the Pepperdine University student feels that such comPetition with Ziegler — who typically topped the infamous “pyramid” ranking over her — was “manufactured” by Miller, now 58, to cause on-camera chaos. (Miller did not film for the “Dance Moms” reunion.)

Still, Lukasiak is appreciative of being painted as the “underdog” throughout her original tenure on the series, which lasted for four seasons from 2011 until 2014.

“Even though it was manufactured — and I really dive into this on the reunion — and even though I believe it was unnecessary because I believe natural competition blooms at dance competitions, that is kinda the whole point of them, it was nice to kind of always be on the edge of my seat,” she explains.

“I was pushing myself and doing the best I could do.”

Maddie Ziegler, Abby Lee Miller, Melissa Gisoni
In the two-hour catch-up, Lukasiak unpacks the emotional turmoil of being pitted against Ziegler — the latter of whom did not participate — by their browbeating dance teacher Abby Lee Miller. 
Dance Moms
“I always thought I wasn’t enough,” she tearfully says in the trailer for the reunion, looking back on the many times Miller showed favoritism to Ziegler. “Like, in every single way.”

Additionally, it’s made the iNFLuencer — who currently boasts 8.2 million Instagram followers — more attuned to others’ emotions, a quality she is proud to possess after surviving the grueling “Dance Moms” grind.

“One thing I’m really grateful for having experienced what I experienced on the show is I feel really empathetic toward other people,” she says, describing the upside of always being labeled second best. 

“I’m always really aware of their emotions and how they’re feeling and just checking in on people [and] being very observant of the world around me so that’s one thing I feel I really took away from the show.” 

Meanwhile, Lukasiak’s mother, Christi Lukasiak — a breakout star of “Dance Moms” who has amassed a social media following of millions since exiting the unscripted television space — was consistently uncomfortable with Miller’s treatment of Chloe. 

Maddie Ziegler and Chloe Lukasiak
With reflection, the Pepperdine University student feels that such competition with Ziegler — who typically topped the infamous “pyramid” ranking over her — was “manufactured” by Miller to cause on-camera chaos.  Lifetime
Chloe Lukasiak
Still, Lukasiak is appreciative of being painted as the “underdog” throughout her original tenure on the series, which lasted for four seasons from 2011 until 2014. Brian Zak/Page Six

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“All you do is set her up to fail!” she exclaimed in one memorable scene from an early season of “Dance Moms.” “Who does that to a kid?”

Notably, Christi, 47, who did not sign on for the reunion due to a scheduling conflict, often found herself at odds with Ziegler’s mom, Melissa Gisoni — whose younger daughter, Mackenzie “Kenzie” Ziegler, also starred on the show — amid the Maddie vs. Chloe saga. 

The conflict never upended the girls’ friendship, though, Chloe tells us, raving that it remains intact to this day. 

Maddie Ziegler, Nia Sioux, Chloe Lukasiak, Kalani Hilliker
“One thing I’m really grateful for having experienced what I experienced on the show is I feel really empathetic toward other people,” says Lukasiak (second from right). Jen Lowery / Splash News
Christi and Chloe Lukasiak and Abby Lee Miller
Meanwhile, Lukasiak’s mother, Christi Lukasiak, was consistently uncomfortable with Miller’s treatment of Chloe.  ©Lifetime Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

She and the Zieglers reunited in March — alongside Kendall Vertes, sisters Brooke and Paige Hyland and Nia Sioux — just one day before the Lifetime special filmed. (Like the Zieglers, Sioux, 22, did not attend the taping.)

“That was genuinely the first time we were all together and I think for me it was just sort of surreal, because they had been such a big part of my childhood. I truly consider them my extended family,”  she gushes, noting they have a “bond unlike any other people” as they made up the original cast. 

“No one will understand what we went through on the show,” she adds, “especially that certain group of girls.”

Maddie Ziegler
The conflict never upended Chloe’s friendship with Ziegler, which remains intact to this day. WireImage
Chloe Lukasiak
Chloe says the original “Dance Moms” cast members share a “bond unlike any other people.” Brian Zak/Page Six

Chloe admits that she initially “said no” to the “Dance Moms” reunion, but ultimately signed on because she wanted to find “closure” — which she didn’t feel she got when reprising her role in 2016’s Season 7 following a two-season hiatus. 

“I still didn’t feel like I had a proper goodbye, like, a closure, closing of the chapter,” she says. “So I wanted to go back, share my gratitude for everything ‘Dance Moms’ has given me and kind of reminisce on the good times and the bad times and everything in between and then move on.”

Chloe was also thrilled to provide context to specific onscreen situations after so many years of shooting the show as an adolescent with “no voice,” she divulges. 

Chloe Lukasiak
Chloe admits that she initially “said no” to the “Dance Moms” reunion, but ultimately signed on because she wanted to find “closure.” Brian Zak/Page Six
Chloe Lukasiak, Paige Hyland, Brooke Hyland, JoJo Siwa, Kendall Vertes, Kalani Hilliker
“Dance Moms: The Reunion” — which premieres Wednesday, May 1, at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime — stars OGs Chloe, Vertes and the Hyland sisters, plus later additions Kalani Hilliker and JoJo Siwa. Lifetime

“I just really wanted to be there because … I didn’t realize until we were there, was [that] when I was on the show as a really young kid, we didn’t really talk or have a voice. We were just there dancing,” the aspiring author elaborates. 

“So it was just really interesting and fascinating to go back and really speak our minds and have opinions and voice them and just be heard completely — unlike when we were children.”

“Dance Moms: The Reunion” — which premieres Wednesday, May 1, at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime — stars OGs Chloe, Vertes and the Hyland sisters, later additions Kalani Hilliker and JoJo Siwa, plus several of their mothers.

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