She’s the world’s most famous dance coach, an infamous meme queen, and one of reality TV’s largest and most well-known personalities. Pop Crave had the chance to meet Abby Lee Miller at the Women’s Expo in Phoenix, Arizona, earlier this month to ask about Season 9 of Dance Moms, her upcoming documentary, helping JoJo Siwa rise to stardom, and why she thinks RuPaul should ask her to guest judge on Drag Race immediately. Keep reading for the full interview!
So, we’re here at the Women’s Expo in Phoenix, Arizona! As we all know, you’ve spent your career championing women and young girls, and you’ve even helped launch the careers of several stars at the Abby Lee Dance Company. How does it feel to know you’ve made such an impact on so many lives, and how do you hope to continue inspiring people?
Many, not several! Many stars! You just don’t know all their names because they were prior to social media. That was the thing. That’s the difference.
I always thought on my tombstone it would say, “Did it matter that I was? That I existed?” I think it did matter to a lot of people. They just maybe don’t realize it yet.
Along with championing women and young girls, the queer community has heavily embraced you online over the years by popularizing memes of you from Dance Moms, engaging with all your content, etc. How does it feel to know you are supported by that community?
Wonderful! I mean, that is my community: theater, the arts, the dance industry. I was telling somebody earlier – they asked me about not being married – and I was like, “Well, my world… I’m at the studio until 7, 8, 9, 10 at night! I’m not at happy hour with my friends that work 9-5!”
What is your favorite meme, gif, or moment of yourself that has gone viral online? The gays have made a lot of memes of you!
I know, and I have one dear friend who I talk to almost every day. She sends me a meme of me every day, a different one. I don’t even know how to get the memes, I don’t even know how to do that on my phone, and it was hilarious.
So, do you have a favorite meme or gif of yourself?
No, no! They equally all make me look insane. I think I roll my eyes in one of them. I like that. I’m a big eye roller.
You’ve shown so much love to RuPaul’s Drag Race over the years. Have you ever been asked to guest judge for the show, and would you say yes if you were asked to in the future?
Well, why has RuPaul never asked me to judge?! I don’t understand that! It’s my demographic! It’s right there! I know as far as the performances… I mean, come on. The dancing, the stage presence, that’s my world. RuPaul, you’re a pretty honorable person. You’re missing out.
You’ve helped create superstars! One absolute standout is JoJo Siwa, who started off on Dance Moms and your spin-off, Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition. How enjoyable has it been for you to watch JoJo’s career blossom into what it is today?
She started on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, and the producers loved the kid so much that they brought her onto the ALDC.
It’s been wonderful! Again, I wish I had 10%. 10%, I wouldn’t have to work ever again. When we were on the bus, though, and she first got to Pittsburgh… The very first episode where we’re going to a competition on the bus, the girls are playing with each other’s hair – Nia was always playing with Paige’s hair – and then the girls were being boy crazy and all this, and then JoJo was like this: “What’s the Wi-Fi?! The Wi-Fi’s going out!” She was editing and uploading her own videos. Why did I not take a cue from that kid and start videoing? Could you imagine the behind-the-scenes stuff that I had during that time of filming, or Zoom? Why did it take a global pandemic for me to teach on Zoom? I could have had kids in my class via Zoom when we were filming the show. I don’t mean during filming, but I mean on Mondays and Tuesdays when the kids were in regular classes. I could have Zoomed kids in from all over the world during that time. They would have paid anything to be in those classes!
I heard in a recent podcast that you’re working on a documentary! I personally love documentaries and am so excited to hear more about your recent journeys. Can you tell us a little bit more about what the documentary will touch on, and what was it like to work on it?
Yes, the documentary is specifically about my “staycation” from the United States government on their dime, as well as what happened to me there – things that nobody knows yet that I’ve kept a secret until this time. Also, going to visit six different doctors and hearing, “Go home and take it easy, honey,” when I was dying and cancer was choking my spinal cord. Six doctors missed it and did nothing. If any one of those doctors would have done their jobs, I would not be sitting in this chair.
Um, you’ve accomplished so much in your–
Stop saying “um” or you’re gonna get it from me!
You’ve accomplished so much in your career, and so much more is still to come! What is one thing you haven’t done in your career yet that you would love to do?
The biggest miss was the Broadway show… We had the demographic. We had older women, wealthy women in New York, we have the gay community, we have children, families. That’s who goes to see shows in New York, and we have it all.
Fans are dying for some more iconic Abby Lee Miller content! Is there anything you can say about what fans can expect from a potential Dance Moms Season 9 or any other future projects on the horizon?
Dance Moms Season 9 won’t be on the same network. It will be on a different streaming service. It’s separate, so it’s shot a little bit differently. I can’t give it away yet, but…
Do you have hope that it will be better than past seasons?
It’s gonna be different. It’s a little bit different. I think the fans will enjoy learning what goes on now that they’ve seen the kids from the show turn into multimillionaires. They’re gonna realize what was going on. Also, the young new kids… Now, I do cameos for kids all over the world. They go from five years old. Literally. “My daughter’s turning five and she’s your biggest fan, and she watches your show every night before bed!” I’m like, “Oh my God! This five-year-old’s seeing all that stuff and those crazy mothers?” It goes to 80 years old. I wish 80-year-old grandmothers happy birthday from their grandkids. It’s insane the range that our show entertains!
Subscribe to Abby Lee Miller’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/therealabbyleemiller