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“Be who you are and keep striving to achieve what you want.”

The millions of people around the world who’ve had the pleasure of watching Nia Sioux dance could never possibly guess that nine years ago, she spent her entire summer in the hospital, unable to walk. After experiencing tremendous pain in both legs, the young dancer was diagnosed with a rare pain disorder called RND (Reflex neurovascular dystrophy). Fortunately, Nia overcame it with months of grueling physical therapy and exhaustive coping sessions. “You have to really focus and get yourself into the mindest that you can do it,” she explains. “Having that experience definitely taught me to work twice as hard.”

The harrowing experience would also prepare Nia for the next unforeseen chapter of her life: reality television. Just months after leaving the hospital, a camera crew arrived at Nia’s dance studio and started filming what would eventually become Dance Moms. “At first it was only supposed to be a six-week documentary, but it didn’t turn out to be that way,” she says with a laugh. “And it changed my life forever.”

While Nia may have learned how to control her RND, she couldn’t control how the cameras portrayed her. “On the show I was labeled the weak link,” she explains. “I was definitely an underdog, but I was nowhere near a weak link. At a certain point, I was done with my dance teacher telling me that I’m not as good as everyone else. You shouldn’t let anyone else label you. You can overcome that and be who you are and keep striving to achieve what you want.”

In 2015, Nia did exactly that, launching a YouTube channel where she could showcase not only her dance skills, but also her incredible singing voice. With stunning choreography, covers, and even a few original songs, Nia’s channel has since amassed over 50 million views.

Somewhere along the way, she began to set her sights on acting. “I was coming out to Los Angeles a ton for auditions,” she says. “You audition for ten things and you’ll hear ‘maybe’ out of one of them!” But when Nia auditioned for CBS’ long-running soap opera, The Bold & the Beautiful, she got much more than a “maybe.” After being cast as Emma in a four-episode arc on the show, Nia’s performance, attitude, and work ethic impressed producers so much that she became a series regular! “This is what I’ve been dreaming about,” she says. “It’s pretty amazing.”

And Nia is amazing – at singing, dancing, acting – and also, at lending advice. “You always have those days where you feel overlooked,” she says. “It’s something that you have to always work through, but you have to have the confidence to keep going and never give up. Because you’re gonna get there eventually; it’s just gonna take some time. But I promise you, if you want it and you work for it, you will get it.”


Photos by Joe Magnani

Story/Video by Colleen Broomall

Styling by Robiat Balogun

Hair by Matilde Campos & Sabrina Porsche

Makeup by Anton Khachaturian using JORDANA Cosmetics exclusively

Dress by Mac Duggal, Jewelry by Zaxie

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