By Marybeth Bock

There aren’t too many 18-year-olds who can list all these things on their resume: professional dancer, singer, actor, author, entrepreneur, executive producer of a live-action musical, YouTube sensation, and Nickelodeon mogul.

And later this month, JoJo Siwa will also get to add this new accomplishment – first person on the ABC show Dancing with the Stars to dance with a same-sex dance partner.

JoJo started dancing at a very young age and first became a TV star while appearing on the reality shows Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and then Dance Moms.She quickly started releasing music and went on a major concert tour in 2019.

JoJo’s signature big, sparkly hair bow looks have turned into business partnerships with four companies and her YouTube channel has over 12 million subscribers.By September 2020, she was included in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Soon after JoJo became famous on TV, she decided to take on the subject of online bullying with her music single, called “Boomerang.” Not surprisingly, she began to experience a lot of negativity on social media when her name and image suddenly seemed to be everywhere.

Siwa knew she wanted to send a message to any tween or teen experiencing the same thing.

When the video came out, she explained that Boomerang’s“message is to achieve a triumph over bullies everywhere” and that “there are two ways to deal with bullies. Bully them back or tell them politely what they’re doing wrong.” She encourages young people to engage peacefully and don’t accept hate. Her hashtag #peaceouthaterz sums that up well.

In early 2021, JoJo decided to make the brave move of coming out publicly on Tik Tok and Instagram as a member of the LGBTQ community. She opened up explaining that she was still working on figuring out how to label herself.

“Technically I would say that I am pansexual, because that’s how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human,” she said.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, pansexual means “of, relating to or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.”

JoJo admitted that it took her a long time before coming out publicly. She knew that it would be risky for her career and that some people would stop supporting her. And while some have admittedly done that, she’s also received tremendous support for being open and honest about herself and says she’s never felt so personally happy.

She’s declared her love for her girlfriend Kylie on her social media platforms, doesn’t care what the internet says, and is hoping her example will lead to greater acceptance for all kinds of love.

“My thing is,” Siwa says, “I don’t want people to watch my videos or buy my merchandise if they aren’t going to support not only me, but the LGBTQ community.”

“I am so proud to be me,” this bold, young artist now shares.

*Check out JoJo Siwa on Season 30 of Dancing with the Stars when it premieres on Sept 20.


Marybeth Bock, MPH, has logged time as an Army wife, childbirth educator, college instructor and freelance writer. She lives in Phoenix and you can find her writing on multiple parenting sites.