After starring in four seasons of the hit reality television show Dance Moms, Chloe Lukasiak took the dancing world by storm. Now, at age 14, Lukasiak continues to delve further into her career in the midst of entering high school. After becoming a YouTube sensation, winning the 2015 Teen Choice Award for “Choice Dancer,” as well as “Favorite Dancer: 17 & Under” at the Industry Dance Awards, and becoming a spokesperson for the national dancewear company “Just for Kix,” Lukasiak now plans to take on the acting world, starting with the third installment of Center Stage. Rooting every pursuit with her love of dance, the only question we are left to ask is: “What will she do next?”
Cliché: You grew up dancing, but what first got you started? Did you try any other activities before or after dance?
Chloe Lukasiak: My mom put me in classes because she thought every little girl needed to take a dance class. She was just like, “Why not? Just try it!” So I went in at 2 years old and I started dancing and, let’s see, I’ve tried everything! I tried softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, playing the piano—I did everything. At age 4, I started competing, and then just sort of along the way, I was like, “I just want to dance! I like the tutus and the makeup.”
Did your mom ask you to join dance, hoping you would compete and pursue it in the future?
No, not at all! Actually, my cousin was dancing at Abby’s studio, and so I was just like, “Yeah, I’ll take a class with you.” It wasn’t anything planned out. My mom wasn’t like, “Okay, learn dance and then we’re going to compete.” It just sort of happened along the way.
In past interviews, you’ve said that you knew you were serious about dancing around the age of 8, which is very young! What has kept you motivated to continue all these years, and have you ever experienced a time when you thought about giving it up, even if it was very briefly?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve been dancing for 12 years now. There’s definitely been times where I’m like, “I just don’t want to do this anymore,” but then I think about it and it’s my whole life. I just can’t imagine my life without dance. I love it so much and I’m so passionate about it, so I just continue on. There’s always going to be moments where you’re frustrated, but you just have to keep going.
You were a part of Dance Moms for four seasons, which was a really great framework for the rest of your career. What made you decide that it was time to leave?
I think it was just the right timing. A lot of things were going on and it wasn’t exactly a great situation anymore, so my mom just said, “It’s gotten to the point where it’s not good for you and it doesn’t fit us,” so we just decided to leave. Now I’ve had the opportunity to do so many other things, which is amazing! So I’m really grateful for it, but I’m also grateful for what I’m able to do now.
What did you take away from Dance Moms that has helped you out once you left?
Well, it sort of introduced me to this whole industry. Even though I know reality is different than some things [shown] on television, it’s similar because you’re filming, obviously. I just got to see how everything worked and all of that!
Did you ever feel the need to act a certain way because you were being filmed constantly at such a young age?
It was kind of hard because I was on the show for four years and I was constantly with my mom. It was a tough situation, so sometimes we would fight. I mean, it was my reality and I was just being myself. I’m mainly focused on dancing and my mom’s more focused on the talking. So really [dancing] was my main concern!
Your mom has been a big part of your career growing up, especially in the decision-making process. Does she still play a big role and help you make some of the executive decisions?
Oh, definitely! My mom is a huge help and I appreciate her for everything she does. You know, I do go to her for a lot of my decisions because she’s just looking out for what she thinks is best for me. I can always confide in her and ask for her opinion.
After Dance Moms, you’ve become a YouTube sensation. What brought you to YouTube? Did you go in knowing that this is something you wanted to pursue, or was it just for fun?
I think my mom had a YouTube channel when I was 8 or sometime around then, and she just put up videos every once in a while. Then, after Dance Moms, I was just like, “YouTube’s becoming a thing,” so I started trying it and I posted videos and I really enjoyed it because it was a way for me to connect with my fans. Something I love about YouTube is that I have control. I can edit it and show what I want to show to my fans. It’s a good way to connect with them and really learn more about them.
What has it been like to have more control over the process of what people get to see? Do you ever feel like that kind of freedom also means that you have to be more careful about what you present?
I think so, but for me, I guess it’s better because I know what I’m putting out there, whereas with the show, it was a little bit different and there were other people doing it. I like YouTube in the way that I get to choose what I show to my fans. I mean, it’s not like I’m doing anything bad, but it’s just a way to show what I want to get out to my fans.
Being passionate about both reading and writing brought you to creating a digital book club through YouTube. What goes into the decision-making process for your book choice?
Honestly, when I first started my book club, I just chose books that I really enjoyed. I sometimes put out books that I read more when I was younger and sometimes I put out books that I read now. But at this point, now that I’ve started it and got it going, I see what people request. I like to put out my opinion on what my favorite books are just so that it’s really my book club and I’ve gotten really good feedback on it. It feels so good to have that ability to get kids off their laptops and iPads and phones and read because I love reading so much. Just to be able to have influence on someone else is great!
It’s great that you have that kind of influence because many people don’t read for fun anymore.
Yeah! All my friends are like, “I don’t read for fun; it’s boring. I’m forced to read at school, so why would I do it in my spare time?” But I think differently.
You’ll also be joining the third installment of Center Stage. How has this project been different from anything else you’ve done?
It was so much fun and it way different from reality [television] because it was acting. We had scenes to get through in a day and it was just a different experience since we would have to do more dancing because you had to film a scene again and again. But with Dance Moms, it was more practicing and they were just filming it.
What has the experience been like to be able to act instead of filming for reality television? Do you prefer one over the other?
Oh, I love acting so much better! I’m taking some more acting classes right now and doing some auditions. I have some things coming up and I think acting is my next path.
That’s awesome! I take it that you want to continue incorporating dance alongside that.
Definitely! I’m still taking classes when I’m home, and I’m actually home right now in Pittsburgh. I think I’ll always dance. I can’t imagine my life [without] dancing.
Being only 14 years old, you have done so much for your career already. Do you have a certain goal you hope to accomplish next?
I don’t know—I’m just sort of still figuring out my plan. Like you said, I’m only 14, so I’m still figuring out what I’m going to do!
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Chloe Lukasiak Talks ‘Dance Moms’ and ‘Center Stage’: Photographed by Russell Baer