EXCLUSIVE! Elliana Walmsley opens up about *everything*
How would Elliana Walmsley describe herself? "Energetic, bubbly—I'm bouncing off the walls sometimes," says the Dance Moms and Chicken Girls star, 13, in our Zoom interview, her tiny chihuahua pup Lola on her lap. "I'm a realist—I can be optimistic but I do think about what the outcome will be," she adds. "And I can be adventurous, too, but overall I'm a rule follower."
Elliana doesn't mind that she doesn't fit into any specific category: Dancer, influencer, introvert, extrovert ("I'm a bit of both," she explains), realist or optimist. In fact, the self-aware teen owns who she is from past to present to future. In our exclusive Girls' Life interview, Elliana opens up about *everything*...
Girls' Life: How do you relate to your character Claire on Chicken Girls?
Elliana: Claire can be rude and conceited at points, which I don't relate to. But I do love her style this [upcoming] season. Last season, it was a little questionable, I had a few fits that kind of looked like a grandma. But that was [the costume designer's] job, so they did a great job making those bad outfits! My fits this season are so cute, though. This season, Claire's running for class president, so she holds herself with pride and cares more about how she looks and tries to be more genuine and confident. So I can really relate to that. No matter the situation, Claire tells it like it is and says what she means. I respect that, but for her it sometimes comes out the wrong way.
Girls' Life: What's been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Elliana: Radio City and the Christmas Spectacular I did with the Rockettes last year. 100 percent, that was hands down my favorite experience I've ever had. I enjoyed it so much and it was so sad this past year when the show didn't happen. Surprisingly, I'd always hated New York for a long time, definitely more of a Cali girl. But it was actually amazing living in New York. I loved it. I loved the vibe of Christmas in New York. Everyone should experience that at least once in their life. The entire show and experience was incredible and I'm so grateful.
Girls' Life: What's the best advice you'd give about navigating social media?
Elliana: Social media can be a great place. It can also be very, very toxic. There's going to be hate when you have a following. It comes with everything. Even if you don't do anything wrong and you're pretty much perfect, there will be hate, because people will envy you and be jealous they don't have your life. They see something in themselves that makes them insecure and they take it out on other people.
My advice is not to let those comments get to you. Don't respond to those people because they want that attention. They may think they have a better chance of you responding because it's a hate comment. The positive comments outnumber the negative ones but it's easy to forget that. The hate comments stand out. But remember to focus on the good.
Girls' Life: How do you balance teen life with influencer life?
Elliana: It was honestly kind of hard in the beginning, especially when you have a relationship on social media. You feel like you have to document every part of your life. Which you kind of do, because people love seeing me with my friends and stuff, but I've learned that I don't have to document everything. Everywhere I go, I just take an Instagram story or a Boomerang or just talk or something like that, people love to see that, but I don't have to also vlog or do an Instagram Live every time. So I kind of balance it out. I enjoy doing it and so do my friends, so I'll just ask them if we can take a quick Boomerang or something and they're like, "Yeah! For sure." We know it's important.
Girls' Life: What do you wish more people knew about you?
Elliana: A lot of people will say, "OMG, she looks so mean." I see those comments. And I'm like, OK, I'm not mean. I try to be as nice as I can to everyone. I wish people would see me more for who I am.
Girls' Life: How do you handle having a relationship in the public eye?
Elliana: A lot of people frown upon having relationships this young. But the thing is, I know middle school relationships are definitely—I'm not trying to be rude—but they're not going to last. I'm probably not going to have this relationship until I die. But I've learned you just need to enjoy it while it's happening.
I'm with a really amazing person. He treats me so nicely and I'm really, really happy right now. We're not doing anything that's not our age. We're just enjoying each other's company and I think that's important and nice.
It's hard having a social media relationship at times because of that pressure to get more content. A lot of kids enjoy these young relationships, so they're like, "We want more content!" Our ship name is Jelliana, so we try to give as much Jelliana content as we can. We like to do stories, or I try to teach him dance moves, because he does not dance at all and that's hard for me because I'm a dancer. I'm teaching him slowly and he's trying. All I'm saying is that in a year he is going to be a dancer.
Girls' Life: Why do you think people enjoy following along in your relationship?
Elliana: This is the age, for a lot of kids, when they start getting into their own relationships and stuff. So I feel like they follow us along to see what it's like and what it's going to be like for them. Even though they don't see every aspect of our lives, they still see what it's going to be like. Of course, it won't be exactly the same, but they can get an idea.
Girls' Life: What's a typical day in your life?
Elliana: I wake up around 10:30 and do a few hours of school. I really want to go to college when I'm older. I don't shower in the morning, I shower at night. So I get ready and do my hair and makeup. I usually like to watch a show on Netflix, right now I love the show Lucifer. I go eat breakfast and then I meet up to film. We film for a long time, which people may not realize. YouTube videos take a long time to create, usually over an hour for each video. We typically film around three videos, so that's five hours. Then I try to get lots of content while I'm there: TikTok, Instagram stories, Instagram pictures. Then after that I go eat somewhere or Jentzen and I just hang out. Then I usually come home, watch Lucifer and do a little more school, then I shower and eat and go to bed.
Girls' Life: What's one thing that you'd go back and change in your past?
Elliana: This one isn't that big because, honestly, I have very few regrets, but it's something I've thought about. When I was on Dance Moms, I had this solo where I was Charlie Chaplin. It's not the best solo, and there was this one move I messed up and it caused a whole thing on the show. So I would change that move in the solo and actually do it right.
And also, in that same episode, they forced my mom to dress up as Charlie Chaplin and walk around [in the crowd outside the dance competition]. I was crying that morning because I just wanted to be with my mom and have her with me when I was stretching and running my solo. But instead she had to get her makeup done to dress up. We were in Arizona, it was so hot and she was sweating and I felt so bad for her. But on the show they made it out to be like I was like, "She's so weird, why is she doing that?" But I just felt bad for her.
At the end of the episode, you see me go up to her and apologize, but it looked like I was saying sorry for losing my solo [at the competition]. But I was apologizing for what she had to do earlier with the dressing up, because I felt bad for her. If I could go back, I'd say, "I'm so sorry that you had to dress up like that," and just be clearer.
Girls' Life: Who do you look up to the most?
Elliana: It's basic, but I'd have to say my mom. I feel like I spend the most time with her. Almost every daughter wants to grow up to be like her mom. She has a lot of really good advice for me which I really appreciate. I couldn't do any of the things I do without her. I'm really grateful to her and I think she's a great mom, even if I don't show her that all the time, she really is.
Girls' Life: What are your goals for the future?
Elliana: My dream is to be a series regular on a TV show. Definitely more dancing and I want to go for a title next year. I'm going to start doing more aesthetic, beauty and lifestyle videos on my YouTube which I'm really excited about. And ASMR!
Find more Elliana on our Instagram @girlslifemag!
Image Credit: Elliana Walmsley/Instagram. Parts of this interview were edited and condensed for clarity.