Zackery Torres is speaking out about their experience of being “bullied” during their time on “Dance Moms”.
The 22-year-old performer, who announced that they were transitioning back in May, starred on both the hit Lifetime show, as well “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition”.
“That was the first time I really understood what it meant to be bullied into dancing a certain way,” recalled Torres in a new interview with Page Six.
“I don’t really know whose fault it is. I think we have the system to blame, and I think that it’s something we all need to be aware of and continue speaking out about.”
The dancer also remembered how the behind-the-scenes drama left their mom, Gina Torres, feeling uncomfortable.
“That’s always what threw her off, like, ‘These people are kind of mean,'” they continued.
“There’s a lot of detrimental moments that really kind of set me back as a young person and being on that TV show.”
However, the dancer insisted that there were plenty of “amazing” people in the cast.
Torres entered the reality television world as the first male-born contestant on “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition”. They then joined the Candy Apple team on “Dance Moms”.
Since then, they have graduated with honours with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Southern California and is currently getting their Masters of Arts in public relations and advertising.
Torres came out as non-binary to their student paper The Daily Trojan last year, explaining how the “expectations” from their dance teachers to “dance like a man” had “really got to [them].”
“Everyone always talks about how inclusive the arts communities are. But I’m just not really feeling it. I’m not seeing it on an everyday scale,” they explained.