The world first met CHLOÉ LUKASIAK when she was a breakout star on the hit show Dance Moms. Now 19 years old, she has more than 6 million Instagram followers, 2.2 million YouTube subscribers, and has already published an autobiography. Did we mention she’s also in college? Lukasiak took a rare break to tell THE DAILY how she’s doing it all and why this year was a much needed opportunity to focus on herself.
How has this year been for you? Keeping your spirits up?
I’ve been doing really well. Everyone is going through the ups and downs. I saw this weird and crazy time and decided to use it for good. Life was always so crazy. I felt like I never had control of my days. But now I have all this time to settle down and connect with myself and ground myself, so I said, “Let’s do it!” I hopped on the train and used this time to slow down, appreciate time with my family, find passions. I started painting, drawing, and reading more. I was taking more walks and connecting with myself. We get so caught up in the world we live in. I wanted to slow down and ground myself. I know a lot of people struggled during this time, and I feel for those people. But I was fortunate to have a productive experience, and for that I am grateful. It was the time I needed for myself.
What was the best lesson you learned in 2020?
To put myself first. I have a hard time with that because I’m an empathetic person. I’m always thinking of other people and how they might be affected by my actions or words. I’m concerned with the world around me, but I realized it’s a super power to focus on yourself and better yourself. You can be better for the people around you. Now I feel way less guilty and selfish if I say I need to take tonight for myself. I’m prioritizing myself, which is weird because I try to do it all. Slowing down has been so good for me.
You’ve already accomplished a lot for someone your age. How do you define what you do?
It’s actually quite difficult to define it. I’m in college now, which is weird because I’m so used to having an abnormal life and it feels so normal. I don’t quite know how to navigate this. When people ask what I do for work I say that I act, I’m an author, I’m currently working on writing another book, I do social media. It’s hard to describe. How do I describe it?
You’re an entrepreneur!
I like that!
I like that! That sounds powerful!
We watched a lot of your YouTube clips. They’re so cute. You’re on so many different platforms, from TikTok to Instagram. How do you manage to do it all?
Time management is my best friend. Every night before bed, I look at what I have to do the next day between school and acting and all the other work I do. I try to put in equal amounts of time for everything. If I spend an hour writing, I spend an hour working on a scene for an acting class or an hour of homework or content creating. It’s important to me that I do a bit of everything each day. I give a bit of myself to each field.
Do you have a favorite social media platform?
I’ve been loving TikTok lately. Before quarantine, I was so against it. I was stubborn about it. I said I wasn’t going to fall into this whole new world of social media. I have enough as it is. Then quarantine came around and one night I was lying on my couch and scrolling through videos. The next time I looked up, three hours had gone by. I had missed dinner! I realized I was obsessed with TikTok. Now it’s my favorite platform to make content for. It’s so fun and raw. You can let your hair down. The other platforms feel a little more polished, which I also love. I love creating a brand for myself and putting a vibe out there.
What’s the responsibility like of having so many followers? It must be a lot of pressure.
It is, but it’s also not. I’m lucky to have an opportunity to be a voice to so many people, and I can reach so many. It’s probably my favorite part of my job. I can influence so many people. To be able to talk to people about voting and remind people to register to vote was the coolest thing. I’m trying to be a positive light for people. Whenever I get a DM from people and they say I brighten their day and make it a little better, it warms my heart like I can’t even explain. It’s exactly what I aim to do. It’s the best feeling to get kind messages.
Tell us about your upbringing.
I had such a low-key childhood in Pittsburgh. It was a very grounded childhood, which I’m grateful for when I look back on it. My dad works for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in marketing and PR. My mom worked in fitness. It was the most normal childhood. When I first entered this industry, I thought it was so cool to grow up in L.A., but I’m so grateful that I grew up where I did because I feel I wouldn’t have had the same beliefs and morals that I do now. My dad used to take me to the library every Sunday. I would pick out a bunch of books and read them throughout the week. That bonded us. I used to go to the park and play basketball with my dad. My little sister came around when I was 8, which was the highlight of my childhood. I was an only child for so long and then she came. Now she’s my favorite human in the whole world.
You call your parents by their first names! Why?
[Laughs] I don’t have a good explanation. It just seemed funny. I had a moment where I realized my parents are their own human beings. They’re not just my parents! When you realize your parents have their own identity, it’s the trippiest thing ever. After that I started calling them by their first names, and then my mom said she wished I would call her mom again. I was like, “All right, you’re mom!” My sister and I are learning French and she’s been calling them le mère and le père. Now that’s our new nickname. We’re always keeping things interesting.
You’re in L.A. right now in school. What’s it like to be studying from home while pursuing an acting career? What kind of projects do you want to do?
My main goal is film. I’ve always felt such a connection to films. In the past couple of years, I’d go to the movie theater twice a week. I love talking about films. I get so nerdy about it. I’ve always felt drawn to drama and action films. They’re so opposite. People always called me dramatic growing up, and I like doing things like boxing and action-packed things, so that fits!
You came up from being on the TV show Dance Moms. Would you ever do another reality show?
I don’t think so. I’ve gotten so far away from it. I was talking about reality TV recently and I haven’t watched it. I never even watched Dance Moms. I feel like it’s not the best environment, and I wouldn’t do it again.
What are you studying in college?
Integrated marketing and communications. It’s interesting, but it’s not for me. I’ve always wanted to go to college and expand my knowledge, so it’s good.
Is it weird having to be in school remotely?
It’s so weird and hard! In high school I did online school for four years. To do it online again has not been a good time. I understand why we’re doing it, but I’m having flashbacks to high school.
We know you love fashion. You came to New York Fashion Week in February. What was that experience like?
I’ve always loved Fashion Week. It’s one of the highlights of my year. I found that growing up I was always so self-conscious about my style and fashion. I was always relying on other people to tell me what looked good. I found that as I’ve grown up and found my confidence, fashion has completely changed in my eyes. It’s how I show my power, my style. I use it to showcase the mood I’m in that day. Some days I feel edgier, and sometimes I feel more sophisticated and want to look elegant. I feel like the clothes I wear change the way I walk. It makes you feel different and good. I’ve been having fun with fashion and realizing how far I can push it. I’m learning to find my voice through fashion.
What designers would we find in your closet?
My favorites are Dior and Chanel. We’re working on getting those in the closet!
What shows did you see at New York Fashion Week?
Carolina Herrera, Rebecca Minkoff, Anna Sui, Jonathan Simkhai, J. Mendel, Jason Wu, and a few others. My publicist, Trixie [Richter], and I always laugh because we don’t remember anything about it. I was so sleep-deprived! It’s more than just shows. There were fittings and lunches; there’s so much going on. I was changing in the car! It was all so chaotic, but I love it. I don’t understand why I like it because it’s so chaotic, but it’s so fun going to all the shows. It was the craziest time of my life!
How did your relationship with Maybelline New York start?
It was an organic partnership. I’ve always loved their products, and I guess they were a fan of what I stand for and who I am. We worked together for the first time on a partnership and I loved the team. Everyone involved is so amazing. I’ve always used makeup to showcase strengths—not to cover up flaws, but to accentuate the beauty I already have. I feel like Maybelline stands for that as well. I love working with people who have the same goals as me and spread the same message I do. I feel like we’re aligned in that way.
What’s your approach to putting on makeup?
I love a good hydrating foundation. I like to do a poppy eye. Mascara makes me feel good! I’ve tried the way of doing a lot of makeup, especially growing up in the dance world where they were piling on the makeup. I found it didn’t feel good. I felt like I was covering up rather than making me feel confident. I love a more natural, glowy, and dewy look rather than covering it all up.
No one would ever say you aren’t a hard worker! We’re looking forward to following your major career.
Thank you! It was so nice chatting with you!
Photography by KRISSY SALEH