Dance Moms’ Kalani Hilliker Is ‘Still Grateful’ for Abby Lee Miller Despite Memories of ‘Trauma’ (Exclusive)

Kalani Hilliker may have experienced “trauma” during her time Dance Momsbut she is still grateful for her experience on the show – and for her trainer Abby Lee Miller.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE during New York Fashion Week, Hilliker, 22, admits she is “forever grateful” for everything Miller, 57, has done for her.

“I haven’t talked to Abby in a long time [after the show ended]” she tells PEOPLE. “But recently she reached out to me and asked me to be on her podcast. Obviously I don’t agree with everything she has done to other people, but we all make mistakes. So I thought, ‘Why don’t I see if it catches fire again?'”

Abby Lee Miller in ‘Dance Moms’. Scott Gries/Lifetime ‘Dance Moms’ Kalani Hilliker Opens Up About ‘A Lot of Trauma’ From ‘Being on the Show’

Hilliker and her mom, Kira Girard, joined the cast of the reality TV show during its fifth season. The mother-daughter pair also appeared in the episode “Big Trouble in the Big Apple” during Season 4.

During her time on the show, Hilliker says she was traumatized and constantly criticized for her weight. This, she says, led her to body image issues and anxiety.

“Dance can be very toxic to your body image just because there’s a specific way a ballerina is supposed to look. There is a specific way a dancer should look. I didn’t fit into that stereotype,” she explains.

She continues, “I feel like I didn’t have stage fright on the show. I was just suppressing all my emotions just to get by somehow. I really had the worst anxiety after the show, when I was finally able to sit down and take a breath and realize who I am and what I’ve been through.”

See also  Here's How Lucky You’ll Be This St. Patrick's Day, According to Your Zodiac Sign

“But like I said, I’ll always be grateful for Abby,” she adds of her former dance coach.

Dance Moms' Kalani Hilliker opens up about 'A lot of trauma' the show has caused

Kalani Hilliker during a dance competition.

For life

As Hilliker got older, she says she began to develop a better relationship with Miller. She remembers helping Miller and fellow dance coach Gianna Martello with choreography when she was about 16 years old.

“I wanted to go on stage and do my best every time,” she says. “It was more about impressing Abby and the judges and winning versus the TV show.”

“I think that more or less everyone has their own different traumas,” adds Hilliker. “I think that apart from the trauma, there were so many good things. I’m really grateful for that and everything I’ve been through.”

‘Dance Moms’ Kalani Hilliker opens up about ‘Lots of trauma’ from ‘Being in the Show’

Hilliker isn’t the only former cast member Dance moms who spoke about his experience on the show and his relationship with Miller.

Maddie Ziegler, who has been on the show since its debut in season one but left with her sister Kenzie Ziegler after season six, opened up about her experience and decision to leave during an interview with Cosmopolitan in June 2022.

“She coached me, she helped me, but I also knew I would be fine without her and I was sick of being in a toxic environment,” Ziegler, 20, explained to the outlet. “I thought, ‘This is not for me. I can’t do it.’ I haven’t spoken to her since.”

The cast "Dance moms" attend Nickelodeon's 2016 Kids' Choice Awards

The cast of ‘Dance Moms’ at Nickelodeon’s 2016 Kids’ Choice Awards Ziegler is shown second from left, while Siwa is second from right. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

See also  Identify one difference in the image within a time frame of 4 seconds. Challenge your focus!

JoJo Siwa, another former cast member from the show, also previously told PEOPLE. Miller is still constantly swiping on social media to give her dance advice.

“I don’t think I’ve ever asked her for choreography advice,” Siwa, 20, told PEOPLE in December 2022. “Almost every time I post something about how I dance, she’ll swipe up and give me a correction or she swipes up and gives an idea about it.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Although the two haven’t worked together in a while, the former Nickelodeon star admitted how lucky she was to be coached by Miller at the Abby Lee Miller Dance Studio in Pittsburgh.

“I respect her choreography and I respect what she has done for the world,” Siwa said. “Whether the dance community wants to admit it or not, she changed the dance world for the better. I think that’s really cool.”

Categories: Trends
Source: HIS Education

Rate this post

Leave a Comment