Name: Maddie Ziegler

Notable past credits: Ziegler costarred in the critically acclaimed film “The Fallout” with Jenna Ortega, which premiered at SXSW in 2021. The 20-year-old actress started out in the industry as a dancer, appearing in several Sia music videos after her “Dance Moms” breakout as a teen.

SXSW project: “Bloody Hell,” written and directed by Molly McGlynn. The film is based on McGlynn’s experience getting diagnosed with the rare congenital disorder MRKH Syndrome as a teenager. “It’s a heavy topic and this is Molly’s story, and I wanted to be very delicate about this process,” said Ziegler, who leads the coming-of-age film as Lindy. “I really wanted to trust my gut, and I trusted Molly so much.” 

Falling in love with the story: “I remember getting a script and a mood board look book of the film, and I immediately read it and was obsessed with it, and fell in love with the character,” said Ziegler. “Molly, the director and writer, took me to get coffee and we hit it off and had the best time. Leaving that, I called my manager right away and I was like, ‘I don’t care what I have to do; I have to do this movie,’” she added. “A few days later I got the offer.”

Maddie Ziegler

Maddie Ziegler

Roger Kisby/WWD

On the film landing at SXSW: “Bloody Hell” is Ziegler’s second SXSW film debut, and she wasn’t surprised to learn that the movie would premiere at the festival. “I had a weird feeling that it was gonna go to South By,” said Ziegler. “It just makes sense. This feels like the perfect place to debut it. The energy seems really good here.”

Anticipating the premiere: “I’m so happy for people to see this film. I put so much love and care into it, so I’m really excited to have that show through the performance,” said Ziegler the day before the premiere. “When you watch a movie that you’ve been a part of, the way you react is completely different than how the audience reacts. So I’m excited to sit in the audience with everyone and see what they take from it,” she added. “It’s definitely nerve-wracking, but it’s also like, OK, I did the work and now it’s out of my hands, and now it’s for everyone else to enjoy. The only thing you can do is just hope that people resonate with it.”

Watching the film herself for the first time: “Normally I’m very critical of myself — which I still am —  but I was actually pretty proud of [my performance],” said Ziegler. “It’s a huge moment for me to lead a movie at this capacity, and I hope people like it.”

Reflecting on her recent fashion week experience: This season, Ziegler sat front row at shows including Givenchy, Giambattista Valli, Acne Studios, Michael Kors and Tory Burch. “Fashion week is just such a dream for me,” said Ziegler. “I love fashion so much, and it’s fun to grow up doing that. But then now being 20 and brands seeing me in a different [way], more like a young adult, it’s very exciting. There were so many amazing shows that I went to, and I had a blast.”

Describing her personal style: “I’m very relaxed, a bit tomboy,” she said. “My go-to outfit that I wear literally every day is a different version of either a baggy jean or a baggy cargo pant with a baby T, oversized leather jacket and Adidas Sambas. That’s my uniform.”

Up next: “Definitely more acting. That’s what the focus is for me,” she said. “I have a few projects; my sister [Mackenzie Ziegler] and I are working on something this year together. So that will be coming out in a few months. My sister and I obviously grew up working together and now that we’ve done our own thing, any chance we get to work together again, it’s just the most fun ever. She’s my best friend, so we have the best time.”

Maddie Ziegler

Maddie Ziegler

Roger Kisby/WWD

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