People 06 March 2017
The prominence and importance of young female entrepreneurs are one of SWAAY's themes this week given the significance of this year's International Women's Day. Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler are perfect examples of young innovation in girls that we could all only hope to exemplify.
Having first appeared as a duo on the hit TV show Dance Moms, the pair quickly rose to fame and were touted for multiple TV and film projects. The older of the two - Maddie famously starred in Sia's music video for her song 'Elastic Heart' in what was perhaps one of 2015's most singular performances, which she went on to perform live on some of the world's biggest and most widely viewed stages.
Following in her sister's footsteps, Mackenzie has begun to pursue entrepreneurial exploits and the first of those is her breakout T-shirt collection Tee4too. Beginning the line with her close friend Gabi Medvene-Cirigliano, the two have explored their creative talents and the brand has been highly successful since its launch - especially given that proceeds from the brand are shelled out to the girls' favorite charity, the ASPCA.
Maddie is set to take Hollywood by storm this year - starring in Ballerina and The Book of Henry - both set for release in 2017. While Mackenzie has enjoyed stays on top of Itunes and Billboard charts, and has recently starred in Nickelodeon's Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn on top of a nomination for a Teens Choice Award.
This pair is no ordinary duo and Mackenzie talks to SWAAY about branching out from her initial stardom gained from Dance Moms.
How has your appearance on Dance Moms changed your life?
My life has changed a lot! People recognize me just about everywhere I go. It was strange at first but I am used to it now. I have great fans and I love that they support me in everything I do.
Why did you decide to create the clothes line?
My friend Gabi and I love T-shirts and we would do 'DIY' designs at home. We were always asking our moms for supplies. People would comment on our shirts and it sparked the idea that we should start our own line. Now we create T-shirts and have so much fun doing it. We don't let our moms get involved at all. When they come up with any idea, we tell them that this is our company and we can handle it.
Why did you choose ASPCA to receive donations from your brand?
We are big animal lovers! We love all animals. Gabi even has horses! It was just a natural fit. We want to help animals that are in need.
What is your creative process - how do you come up with your designs or videos?
Gabi and I text or FaceTime each other ideas. We think about what's going on in our lives and on social media with kids our age. We also listen to fan ideas that they submit on social media.
You're a YouTube sensation - who was your inspiration for starting your own channel?
I have always loved any type of camera, lights or tech things and I also have always wanted my own TV show. YouTube is kind of like having your own show! I love coming up with video ideas and sharing them with my fans. Once I started making videos, I was hooked!
What are your upcoming business plans? Who helps you with your business?
Next we are doing cute baseball caps and more awesome T-shirts. We are having a new shoot next week! Gabi's mom and my mom do all the financial stuff but that's it. We do the rest. We even email and send messages to all our customers ourselves.
How do you deal with the spotlight?
I'm just a happy-go-lucky kid. I try to stay positive. Kids tell me they look up to me (even though I'm short! Ha ha) so I try to be a good role model.
What's the outlet you most enjoy doing at the moment - Instagram, YouTube, clothes designing?
That's a hard one. I love them all for different reasons! IG because it's quick and easy, YouTube because it's fun coming up with video ideas and clothing because I love to dress cute!!
What app do you use the most?
Maddie and Mackenzie are a testament to their generation that is growing up in a turbulent and uncertain time for women. In the aftermath of the election, much care was taken to inform girls of their age that although Hillary Clinton lost, it was not a loss for women. There would be female presidents and leaders in the future and there's no doubt that these two will be representative of an entire generation of female leaders, unburdened by failures or setbacks - the women of the future.
Dr. Victoria Bateman, an esteemed economist best known for her nude protests for gender equality, uses her body as a form of art that serves to challenge the stigma around women's bodies and women's rights, in the world of economics. In March 2018, Bateman attended the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society in Brighton stark naked with the word "respect" written across her chest and stomach. Unbashful in delivering her message, Bateman was determined to start a conversation.