Zackery Torres is opening up about the pressures of dancing on television.
The Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition and Dance Moms alum, who came out as transgender in May and uses they/she pronouns, spoke to Page Six about the difficulties of being a performer on the programs.
"That was the first time I really understood what it meant to be bullied into dancing a certain way," the 22 year old shared of their time on the Lifetime shows. "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."
Zackery also shared that his mother Gina Torres didn't like the behind-the-scenes drama. "That's always what threw her off, like, ‘These people are kind of mean,'" they explained.
The dancer added, "There's a lot of detrimental moments that really kind of set me back as a young person and being on that TV show."
While Dance Moms wasn't the easiest experience, the recent University of Southern California graduate also noted that there were many "amazing" people in the cast.
This isn't the only time that Zackery has spoken out about being told to dance a certain way. They shared with their college newspaper The Daily Trojan that dancing on reality TV delayed their coming out.
"I started seeing all of the expectations that teachers—well-known dance teachers, and well-known choreographers—had for me as a male dancer growing up and at the time identifying as a boy," Zackery explained in October 2020. "'Oh, you're too feminine, you need to dance like a man.' Just having teachers tell you that on national television, all this stuff, it kind of really got to me."