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The piece brings into question the singer’s choice to use former Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler as the face of her musical brand. Sia made headlines in 2013 when she stepped away from the spotlight, donning an oversized wig to hide her own face in any public appearance, music video, or concert ever since.
Ziegler, meanwhile, has emerged front and center under Sia’s guidance. The two first collaborated on the artist’s music video for her chart-topping hit “Chandelier” and have remained inseparable ever since, with the dancer acting as Sia’s “mini-me” in most portrayals, bringing an apparent face to the hidden voice.
The Guardian writer Bonnie Malkin, who attended Sia’s recent Sydney, Australia concert, criticized the performers’ dynamic.
“Up on the stage in Sydney on Saturday, with Furler concealed and Maddie in the spotlight, it seemed that the superstar was deploying a child in a way that she herself refuses to be,” Malkin wrote. “Where Furler was hidden, Maddie was exposed. Where Furler was still, Maddie was moving. Where the singer was in darkness, the child was in the spotlight. Where Furler’s face and body was carefully hidden from the eyes of a stadium full of strangers, Maddie’s face and body was offered up instead.”
In direct response to the piece, Sia posted a series of tweets on her account.
“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. It’s a conversation we should all be having. Not just myself but all directors, stage parents and agents.”
This article poses a question I have asked myself often. I do check in with Maddie weekly about whether she wants this, and assure her if she ever wants it to stop it stops. It's a conversation we should all be having. Not just myself but all directors, stage parents and agents.— sia (@Sia) December 6, 2017
“Maddie was already famous when I discovered her,” she continued, “but I have certainly expanded her exposure and feel responsible for that. I feel very protective of her and my goal is to empower her in whatever choices she makes.”
With their children, clients, charges. Maddie was already famous when I discovered her, but I have certainly expanded her exposure and feel responsible for that. I feel very protective of her and my goal is to empower her in whatever choices she makes. Some would argue a teenager— sia (@Sia) December 6, 2017
Can't or shouldn't be charged with making sound choices for themselves and so I do try to choose the best for her always. But I think this is an important conversation https://t.co/0k6bQ8EsvT— sia (@Sia) December 6, 2017
“What I learned from Maddie is that fame affects her differently than how it affected me,” Sia wrote. “I can only trust that she is telling me the truth. If that changes, we stop.”
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.— sia (@Sia) December 6, 2017
The responses were largely supportive.
Queen of caring for others pic.twitter.com/kNlkgQp2FP— SZA made me do it (@DelbinKnowles) December 6, 2017
People obviously don’t know what they’re talking about!!! You guys have such a cool bond and it’s really nice that you two are open with eachother about future projects! Love you sis!— ✨Xoxo, Vic✨ (@VomitsHerMind) December 6, 2017
Great response. We love you and Maddie and if Maddie wasnt comfortable, we would be totally fine with her stepping back— Julian (@believeinfurler) December 6, 2017
Samantha Reichstein is a former intern for the Daily Dot whose work focused on entertainment and politics. She's written for the Bump, the Nest, the Knot, the Austin American-Statesman, Austin Way Magazine, and Broadway World TV.