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EXCLUSIVE! Nia Sioux and Teala Dunn talk all things adulting

Who couldn't use good advice about growing up? In their new Spotify podcast "Adulting with Teala and Nia," social media stars and performers Teala Dunn and Nia Sioux take on *everything*—from breakups to roommates to life lessons. Teala and Nia spilled to Girls' Life about what inspired this latest project, friendship and more...

On starting a podcast together:

Teala: Where to begin? This podcast has been an idea for, like, the last two years.

Nia: We've been working on it for a long time.

Teala: So long! I feel like, when we dropped it, people were asking, "Oh, wow, did you come up with it last month?" Like, no!

Nia: Yeah, a lot of people are like, "Oh, you guys just did this?" But we were working on it for a while.

Teala: It has been a process. But there's no other person I'd want to do a podcast with besides Nia. Not only have we known each other forever—I mean, the first photo we took together is actually hilarious, we're literal babies—but we're genuine best friends.

Nia: Yes, [that photo] is so funny!

Teala: Our [bond] is more like a sisterhood. Our friendship has grown tremendously. We have this great dynamic duo feel toward each other. We're at slightly different stages of "adulting" so we felt the name was perfect—I'm 24, Nia's 19—and we're able to touch on topics that are silly and ones that are important. It's just a fun conversatioin, and I hope when people listen to it they feel like they're just having a conversation with their girlfriends. Just a safe place where people can go and not think too much about the craziness going on in the world and just have a good time.

Nia: As two young Black women, I think it's so important that we're doing this together. We've been through so much together and apart and navigating life onscreen and in the public eye, so I feel like we can speak to a lot of different audiences about growing up and learning how to be an adult. Obviously I'm a new adult, I call myself that because I'm still learning things, Teala's like a *real* adult—I think it's really cool for people to see all that goes into "adulting" and that it's not easy.

On growing up in the spotlight:

Nia: Growing up in the spotlight, you're in a fishbowl—everyone can see inside your life. Especially being on reality TV growing up. I was nine when I started [Dance Moms]. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes it hurts. It's not like we're playing characters, it's our own lives, so when people would say mean things about us it's like, "OK, well, I'm a real person. It's not some fictional character. You're saying those rude remarks about me." People forget that, online, you can see things, and they still hurt, you know? You have to grow up really fast and not listen to those haters all the time.

Teala: You kind of have to act like you've got it all together and you've got it all figured out. Everybody's just staring at you, waiting for you to fail or to mess up. I think we both had to navigate growing up a bit faster than the average person. It's a process—I definitely learned a *lot* in my teen years of realizing that you can't please everybody. Some people will just choose not to like you without a reason, and you just have to deal with that. You can't change who you are for others, because then you're just going to lose yourself. 

On what it means to "adult":

Teala: I'm still learning! I just now figured out how to do my laundry without getting, like, random bleach stains everywhere, to be honest. And I don't think I've even mastered that yet! For me I feel like every day I make my bed which starts my day on a more productive note. And the second thing is to be able to make myself breakfast. I'm not a chef at all, but some decent scrambled eggs, you know? And lastly, being able to wake up early. If you set an alarm, get up! I've realized recently I'm more of an early bird than a night owl. Maybe I'm becoming a grandma. 

Nia: I'd agree, and doing your dishes and laundry and that stuff. I think another perspective on what makes you an adult is being able to handle situations maturely.

Teala: You really do!

Nia: I feel like that's my most adult thing. If someone...

Teala: Does you dirty?

Nia: Does me dirty, I will contact them and be like, "Hey, I'd really like to work this out in a respectful manner." And if they can't do that and there's still an issue, I'm just like, "OK, nice knowing ya." And I just drop them.

Teala: And you move right along!

Nia: I try to, at least. 

(And, tbh, isn't trying to grow what adulting is all about?) 

Check out "Adulting" on Spotify here!

Images provided by Nia Sioux and Teala Dunn. Parts of this interview were edited for length and clarity.

by Katherine Hammer | 4/8/2021