If you do not know JoJo Siwa, if you have not seen any of her movies — now with 3.6 billion views on YouTube — or examine her current popping out as LGBTQ, ask any preteen or tween. They know her story.
They’ve most likely secured their ponytails with a fantastic huge, glowing, rainbow-striped bow, too. The famous person with Elton John‘s fashion, Miley Cyrus‘ voice, and SpongeBob’s outlook describes herself on this week’s cowl story of PEOPLE as “an entertainer” and “the happiest human alive.”
Siwa not solely sells out worldwide arenas, however is a burgeoning mogul, inking offers which have ensured her face grins from a staggering quantity of merch at Goal, Walmart, and JCPenney from dolls, garments and sweet to watches, footwear and bean bag chairs. She embraces all of it — she has two convertible Mercedes parked exterior her home emblazoned along with her face.
“I work quite a bit,” Siwa says.
After incomes her GED two years in the past, her work life consists of rehearsing, filming — proper now, her new summer time film The J Group — modifying movies, TikTok-ing and signing off on merchandise bearing her title and picture.
“However I do regular issues!” Siwa insists.
She likes Kraft macaroni and cheese. She FaceTimes along with her girlfriend, Kylie Prew, 18, continuously. And she or he loves Ariana Grande and Grey’s Anatomy. “I am going to the lavatory on my rest room with my face on it,” she says earlier than unleashing an echoing cackle. “That is regular. Proper?”
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However the world’s happiest human does have unhealthy days. “My struggles take care of being overworked and never getting any sleep,” Siwa says. “Do I ever have breakdowns? Sure, after all I do. I am a young person. There are numerous occasions the place I simply will throw my telephone down and lay on my mattress and have a look at the ceiling and cry for a second.”
Born simply earlier than the arrival of Fb, JoJo does not know a world with out emojis. She sees her telephone as extra resolution than downside: “My telephone retains me related to the world!”
It is also turned a gateway to neighborhood and assist. In January, Siwa came out as LGBTQ, over a sequence of posts on TikTok and Instagram. When she lipsynched Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Approach” following a day with TikTok collective Pride House LA, followers questioned if she was revealing one thing about her sexuality. And with a really direct t-shirt — BEST GAY COUSIN EVER — she confirmed it.
Siwa additionally declared her love for girlfriend Kylie Prew, 18. “She by no means cares what the web stated about us,” she says. “It is good to have any person in my life like that.”
Siwa says the announcement was the very last thing she hadn’t shared with the world. And was impressed by her love for Prew, which started as friendship and turned romantic in late 2020. At first, Jojo did not need to put a “label” on her sexuality.
“I nonetheless do not know what I’m. It is like, I need to determine it out. And I’ve this joke. Her title is Kylie. And so I say that I am Ky-sexual,” she says. “However like, I do not know, bisexual, pansexual, queer, lesbian, homosexual, straight. I at all times simply say homosexual as a result of it simply type of covers it or queer as a result of I feel the key phrase is cool.”
“I like queer,” she provides. “Technically I might say that I’m pansexual as a result of that is how I’ve at all times been my complete life is rather like, my human is my human.”
Siwa and Prew met on a cruise ship. “I advised her my complete spiel that I inform everybody after they ask me my life story,” Siwa remembers. “She goes, ‘I may have Googled that. I need to know your life story. You simply advised me about your profession. I need to find out about you.’ And I used to be like, Nobody’s ever requested me that earlier than.”
“I by no means needed [my coming out] to be an enormous deal,” she provides. However it was: By no means earlier than has somebody with such a younger fan base recognized publicly as LGBTQ.
“I’ve recognized since I used to be little,” Siwa says. (“I did too,” her mother Jessalynn provides. “A mom is aware of.”) They each additionally knew it was a danger to inform the world. “I’ve quite a bit that would have gone away due to my love life,” Siwa says.
Ever related to her followers, she Googled herself. Then she learn the 1000’s of feedback. “I by no means ought to have executed that. I used to be pondering that every one the feedback had been going to be good and supportive, and so they weren’t,” she says. “Loads of them had been, ‘I am by no means shopping for your merch once more. My daughter’s by no means watching you once more.’ I could not sleep for 3 days.”
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However Siwa discovered readability: “My factor is, I do not need folks to look at my movies or purchase my merchandise if they don’t seem to be going to assist not solely me, however the LGBTQ neighborhood.”
And new followers Elton John, Meghan Trainor, Kerry Washington and extra applauded her openness. “I’ve by no means gotten this a lot assist from the world,” she says. “I feel that is the primary time that I’ve felt so personally comfortable.”
“Performing has at all times made me tremendous comfortable,” she provides. “However for the primary time, personally, I’m like, whoa, happiness. I’m so proud to be me.”