Since the popular reality series Dance Moms came to an end, many of Abby Lee Miller's former students have opened up about their negative experiences while filming the cutthroat show.
In a recent interview with Page Six, former Dance Moms cast member Zackery Torres talked about being "shocked" by the "crazy" behavior of her costars and their moms. Keep reading to find out more about Zackery's life now post-Dance Moms.
'Dance Moms' alum Zackery Torres talks about the "pressures" she faced as the only male-born contestant.
The 22-year-old dancer first graced our television screens on Season 1 of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition which aired in 2012. Following her success on the competition show, Zackery was asked to join Abby's competition team. The University of Southern California graduate spoke with People about how she felt pressured into acting more masculine.
"There are definitely those pressures because I think the biggest thing I felt was people expected me to contrast my female-born counterparts," she told the outlet. "As a male-born contestant, I was always intended to be more masculine, stronger at whatever, better at these certain styles … All of these stereotypes that exist in the entertainment industry and dance as a whole."
She added, "It also didn't help that a lot of the choreographers I worked with there were also perpetuating that stereotype. Although I'm sure a lot of them have grown, at the time it was definitely very detrimental and a lot of pressure for me as a young person to feel, especially on national television."
Zackery decided to leave the show when she was 15 years old and go to high school.
Zackery opens up about her transition: "My pronouns are they/she."
In June 2021, Zackery came out as transgender in a social media post. "That means I’m transgender if you didn’t know," she said. "My pronouns are they/she, which means that they or she are totally fine." They added, “I’m just hopping on here to tell you that I’m going to be posting more on Tiktok and I’m excited about it!”
Currently, they are undergoing hormone therapy, which has had both physical and emotional effects on Zackery.
"One of the biggest struggles that I have encountered is just the emotional toll and all of the different logistical steps and barriers that happen through a transition process," she explained to People.
"I think the biggest [obstacle] is like, the insurance thing, finding doctors in your network, going over all the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy. Hearing your doctors tell you all the risks is scary, and going to all these appointments sometimes alone if your support system is doing their own thing. Those steps can get exhausting."
Zackery also took to Instagram to thank all of her followers and fans for their unwavering support after announcing that they were transitioning.
"Don't really have a ton of words to express how I am feeling right now, other than grateful. Grateful to everyone who has supported me and continued to help me be my full self. Grateful for the outpour of love and support. Grateful to all the advocates who made this possible," she wrote.
She continued, "As I sit here with my mouth still open, it is important to recognize the amount of LGBTQIA+ individuals who do not receive this loving response. There is still work to be done, and I cannot wait to be a part of it. Much love, and HAPPY EARLY PRIDE MONTH!"