Maddie Ziegler, arguably the most popular cast member of Dance Moms, announced back in December she would no longer appear on the hit reality show, as her career focus has shifted away from dance.

Ziegler currently has her sights set on Hollywood and will make her acting debut when Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry hits theaters later this year.

“At first I wanted to just do acting for fun, but over the last couple of months I’ve really started to realize that I want to become an actress for the rest of my life,” she said in an interview with Hunger Magazine. "That’s what I’ve been working on lately, and doing my first movie has helped me to realize that. I’ll still keep my dancing up because I love it, but this year acting is going to be my focus."

And though her career path has changed, Ziegler doesn't downplay the impact Dance Moms has made on her life.

"It’s definitely helped me get to where I am now. I mean, Sia wouldn’t have found me if she hadn’t seen the show,” she said. "I became known in the dance world to start with, but now it’s outside of that too.”

That connection led Ziegler to Shia LaBeouf, who she starred opposite of in Sia's "Elastic Heart" music video, and he offered her some timeless advice.

“I learned so much from them. Shia is an amazing actor. He also started out young, so watching him on set was really useful,” she said. “He told me to always be myself and not let anyone tell me otherwise.”

“And then Sia’s just really helped me sty humble and have fun,” Ziegler continued. “She told me to make sure that I love what I do because if you’re not passionate about it then you shouldn’t be doing it."

Despite her young age — Ziegler is only 13 years old — she recognizes the responsibility that comes with her newfound visibility.

“People still do consider teenagers to be moody and bratty, but I think that there are teens that are actually changing the word,” she said. “Look at Zendaya; she’s amazing! There are a lot of teens that are really making a difference and I think that adults need to take us more seriously.”

Check out the full interview over at Hunger Magazine.

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