Inscrutable pop priestess Sia found herself with a juggernaut on her hands last May, when she released the lead, platinum-selling single “Chandelier” from her sixth LP, 1,000 Forms of Fear. Instead of slapping on some makeup and thigh-high boots to star in that song’s video, she let a (literal) kid take the spotlight—in a janky blonde wig and a nude leotard. It was an outfit that launched a thousand parodies and tribute Halloween costumes. The tween at the center of the meme was dancer Maddie Ziegler, star of camp-reality show Dance Moms. In the video, she delivers a performance that’s spookily intense, delightfully weird, and thoroughly twitchy—one that placed Maddie squarely in music-video history.
Sia tapped the now-12-year-old Maddie to star alongside Shia LaBeouf in her latest video, which spotlights the single “Elastic Heart.” The result—a tough-to-deconstruct face-off between Maddie and the temperamental actor—is already the subject of controversy and a slew of think pieces. We chatted with Maddie about being “family” with Sia, her place in the pop-culture pantheon, and what she really thinks of Shia’s dance skills.