Keeping on dancing till the world ends! Dance Moms star Stacey Ketchman gave Us Weekly an exclusive update on life with daughter Lilly — and husband Christopher and son Caden — after the reality TV cameras stopped rolling.
“The separation for months at a time was the biggest shock to my family. It took a lot of adjusting to make it work, however, my son still gets a kick out of seeing us on TV and he is our biggest supporter,” Stacey told Us about filming the show. “He is one to yell at the TV to stick up for us.”
Fans met Lilly and her mother on season 6 of Dance Moms, which aired in 2016. While they were featured on season 7, they had even bigger roles on season 8 in 2019.
“Season 8 was the most time-consuming of all the seasons we did. We got up at 5 a.m. and had to be on set, camera-ready, at 7 a.m.,” Stacey dished to Us. “The kids would start school and the moms got ‘pep talks’ from the producers. We would then film until 3:30 p.m. This was the schedule Tuesday to Friday, though we also traveled to wherever we would have competition on Friday. Saturdays we filmed the actual competitions, Sundays we traveled back and Mondays the kids were in school all day. There was generally no downtime!”
Since wrapping up season 8, Lilly is still creating content.
“Lilly has been really focused on her YouTube channel, Lilliana Ketchman, and has been having a great time collaborating with other YouTubers and creating. She also recorded her first single, Underneath, which will be released along with her music video, soon!” the proud mom gushed.
Stacey added that her daughter is still “very self-motivated.”
She explained, “It isn’t difficult to remind her to stay on top of her skills throughout this pandemic. It’s a little less fun to practice these skills through Zoom or on her own, but lucky for me, she isn’t much of a complainer! Lilly likes to make a to-do list in the morning, just like I do, so that she can feel accomplished as she checks everything off her list.”
Stacey added that she and Lilly often take trips to Los Angeles, but the family of four is based in North Carolina.
“Living in North Carolina definitely makes it more difficult for Lilly to chase her dreams and pursue her career. There are very limited opportunities in our small town and even our state for her to further her career,” she explained. “This is quite an adjustment for our family, but my son and husband are very understanding as we don’t seem to have any other options. It’s a bit chaotic but worth it!”
For more from the Ketchman family, read the exclusive Q&A below:
Us Weekly: What’s your favorite moment from the show?
Stacey Ketchman: My favorite moment from the show is when Abby [Lee Miller] surprised Lilly by having her dad make and record her an original song for her National Solo. She played the song for her in rehearsal, and Lilly looked amazed saying, “Is that my dad?” who she had not seen in months because of filming the show. Then, at competition, when Lilly entered the stage, she was shocked to see her dad and brother in the front row. I’m so proud of her keeping her composure, it was such a great surprise for her. Her solo won Nationals, which was the topping on the cake.
Us: What’s your least favorite moment from the show?
Stacey: My least favorite moment is definitely when I accidentally chopped off a chunk of Lilly’s hair when cutting out a costume headpiece! She had a tiny chunk of hair sticking straight up on the top of her head for months!
Us: Being incredibly accomplished in a number of fields can you tell us about your career aspirations beyond dance?
Stacey: I knew I wanted to be a psychologist since the second grade, though I can’t remember why! I was the first in my huge family to get a college degree and then went on to get my doctorate in psychology as well. I was awarded an army scholarship during graduate school, so immediately after my schooling was completed, I served in the army as a psychologist for four years as a captain. I worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. and then at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where I saw soldiers for mental health.
Us: How has COVID affected your life?
Stacey: I am very lucky that everyone in my family has remained healthy throughout this crisis. COVID has mostly impacted us financially as we own businesses, one of which has been completely shut down since the beginning.