Chloe Lukasiak on Overcoming Bullying and Life After Dance Moms
When you’re a TV-famous dance prodigy by age 9, you grow up fast. So it makes sense that Chloe Lukasiak, who left the show in 2014 only to return for the finale this season, has the wisdom of a woman twice her age. But the 15-year-old is more than a dancer. She’s also a singer, an actress, and come next winter, a published author. Girl on Pointe: Chloe's Guide to Taking on the World hits shelves in early 2018, but until then, read up on her thoughtful advice about best friends, internet haters, and always being real.
What was it like to have cameras in your face throughout your childhood?
That's how I grew up. When I think of how life was when I was younger, I think of filming and dancing. I was about 9 when we started the show, and in the beginning, it was a little weird to get used to. It was jarring to look over and see a camera. Then by season two, I got used to it. It was just second nature. Now I don't even think twice about cameras.
You seem very candid and true to yourself on social media, which isn't easy for someone who's in the public eye in 2017. It must be a lot to handle.
Yes. I'm not going to lie, it is. There are so many people on social media with big platforms; some of those people use those platforms to speak out about things like bullying, and some choose not to. I try to be someone who does. I think it's important to send a positive message to young people. Instead of just talking about what I'm wearing, I try to talk about important things. Don't get me wrong—I still like to talk about fun stuff, but I think it's important to let them know they're not alone.
You dealt with some seriously relentless bullying a few years ago, and worst of all, it was for a medical condition that required surgery. That’s so much to deal with at 14. How did you do it?
It was really hard for me. I've been on Dance Moms since I was 9, so I was kind of aware of people saying mean things, and I was aware of the haters out there. But I didn't pay attention to it, I didn't want to waste my time getting down about myself. I just ignored it. But then when my eye became an issue, I started deleting comments. I hate that I let it get to me, but I did, unfortunately. It was really, really hard to read those comments and push through it; it was also hard to go through tests and be unaware of what was actually happening to my eye, and to hear people say things like, “Oh, she has a lazy eye,” or “She’s so ugly.”
It’s really difficult. Social media in general makes me kind of upset, because everyone uses it as a platform where you have to be perfect and look skinny from every angle and make sure it's filtered. I wish people would just be real on social media. It’s setting everyone’s expectations too high, and it’s just so much pressure.
How do you reconcile that kind of pressure?
Honestly, I have good parents. I go to yoga, I just try to focus on the positive things in life. I’ve declared 2017 as the year of bettering myself as a person in general. I try my best to ignore all the negativity. I’m a teenager, but I like to spend my Friday nights in my room, with my candles lit, reading a book—that’s just the kind of person I am. I don’t want to give the haters the attention.
I’ve learned over the past couple of years how important it is to cut negative people out of your life and only keep those who are supportive and are there for you in every way. It’s all about the quality of friends, not the quantity.