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Chloe Center Stage: Why this Dance Moms star decided to ditch the drama

Fresh off of two months at home with her family in Pittsburgh, Chloe Lukasiak arrived at her Girls’ Life cover shoot with an attitude just as bright as the bubblegum pink set she’d spend the day dancing around in. She was real (read on). She was fun (and a legit DJ, tbh—her photo shoot playlist was on point). And she was fearless (even sky-high platforms couldn’t keep her from breaking out a gravity-defying backbend—see the impres- sive snap on GL’s Instagram).

After a roller coaster ride from child reality star to actress, author *and* clothing designer, Chloe has learned to expect the unexpected. After all, when the 16-year-old joined Abby Lee Dance Company at age 2, she couldn’t have known that dance would become her life. Or that she would snag more competition titles than she could count...or that she’d land a leading role on Lifetime’s Dance Moms.

“Starting the show, I thought it was going to be six weeks—and then it turned into four seasons,” Chloe admits. “I was so young and naïve, I figured I’d grow up and dance and that would be that.”

Turns out, younger Chloe was way, way off. Since the dancer and her mom, Christi, made a dramatic departure from the show three years ago, Chloe has taken several steps toward a new life: She started acting (she’s already knocked out two movies and is currently filming her third) and launched two booming YouTube channels. She’s currently working on her debut clothing collection, and early next year she’ll release her first book, Girl on Pointe: Chloe’s Guide to Taking on the World. Oh, and one more thing: She’s going back to where it all began with a return to this season.

Exit Stage Right
With so much going on, many performers could get overwhelmed—but Chloe’s handling it like a pro. It’s a type of poise she picked up on Dance Moms, especially after her emotional exit in 2014.

After being severely bullied because of her right eye—a sinus condition caused it to become smaller than her left eye during puberty—Chloe also endured a great deal of emotional stress while working with her longtime teacher Abby Lee Miller.

And once Abby allegedly insulted Chloe’s eye to Christi—along with numerous other critiques—they decided to say goodbye to ALDC, their castmates, Dance Moms and life as they’d known it for the past 11 years.

“I was glad I left when I did. It was the right time. I needed to get away from that environment,” she says. “It took time to move on, but I’m happier now. And dealing with something like that made me have tougher skin.”

New Beginnings
And it gave her new focus, too. Chloe soon began competing at a different dance studio and taking acting classes, which helped her land a role that couldn’t have been more fitting: as dancer Gwen in last summer’s Center Stage: On Pointe, Life- time’s spinoff of the hit Center Stage flick.

“I was a huge fan of the first movie!” Chloe gushes. “I got to work with some of the original cast members [like Ethan Stiefel] and I was fangirling hard. I had to remind myself, ‘OK, be professional. Don’t say anything weird. Just do your job!’”

This past spring, she played Savan- nah in A Cowgirl’s Story alongside Bailee Madison—and soon you’ll see her star in Loophole as Lexi, a chill college gamer girl whose entire life changes in a single day.

“It was my first time being a lead in a movie, and I was pretty scared, but it ended up going super well,” she shares. “I’m really fortunate to be challenged by all of these different roles.”

Another first? Designing her own clothing line, which will soon be available on Dazzine, a curated marketplace that produces unique collections from some of the top influencers on social media.

If the collection is anything like her style idols Zendaya and Blake Lively, it’ll be fresh and fashion forward.

“Zendaya is just really cool and so chic,” Chloe spills. “Blake’s effortlessly beautiful and looks gorgeous in anything she wears.”

Chloe says her collection will be on trend and true to her personal style, but totally wearable, too. “Comfort is one of the key factors in anything I wear,” she says. “I’ve gotta have that.”

“I was glad I left when I did. It was the right time. I needed to get away from that environment. It took time to move on, but I'm happier now.

Back to Basics
In the midst of all this, Chloe also is follow- ing yet another big dream: writing a book. In January, she’ll release her memoir, Girl on Pointe: Chloe’s Guide to Taking on the World, which offers exclusive insights on her experiences with bullying and helpful advice for finding confidence.

“I’ve just always enjoyed reading and writing. I love being able to share things with people that make me vulnerable,” she says. “I mean, I’m 16, so I definitely don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve been through a few rough patches and I’m still here, so I want to help people who are going through the same thing.”

Flip through the pages and you’ll also find old photos, doodles, poems—and, of course, inside scoop on all the good times she had with her Dance Moms co-stars.

“They’re like sisters to me,” Chloe says of her teammates, a crew that she missed dearly after leaving the show. So much, in fact, that she’s heading back for the show’s eighth season, where she’ll work with new teacher Cheryl Burke of Dancing With the Stars fame.

It’s an ideal time for her to do so, too. Abby left the show at the end of last season (in May she was sentenced to serve one year and a day in prison for nearly two dozen charges related to bankruptcy fraud and bringing currency into the country without reporting it). And for Chloe, dancing is life.

“My mom always gave me the option: ‘You can quit dancing. You don’t have to keep doing it—it’s up to you,’ and I said, ‘No, I’m going to give it one more go.’”

With a whirlwind three years behind her and a long list of exciting projects still ahead, Chloe’s ready for anything—espe- cially the unexpected.

“I really believe that everything hap- pens for a reason,” she says. “Even though the show might not have always put me in the best situations, it put me where I am today—and I am super grateful for it.”

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2017 issue of Girls' Life.

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by Sydney Adamson | 10/14/2017
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