How JoJo Siwa has gone from a bubbly Dance Moms tween star to outspoken Gen Z icon
JoJo Siwa has been a household name since she was a child, thanks to her successful stint on Dance Moms which she turned into a lucrative career.
However, these days the 19-year-old is almost better known for headline-grabbing antics than she is for the YouTube videos which helped make her one of the most successful teenage stars in history.
Indeed, the multi-hyphenate teen raised eyebrows this week when she uploaded a TiKTok video in which she accused Full House star Candace Cameron Bure of being the ‘rudest celebrity’ she had ever met.
Outspoken teen: JoJo Siwa is all grown up and she’s making more headlines for her comments than her business ventures these days
Sharing such a shady revelation with her 42.2 million followers is just one of the many ways in which the Dancing With The Stars alum has been proving she is all grown up and more than happy to speak her mind about anything and everything to do with her life.
From deciding to come out in the face of backlash from homophobic fans, to calling out her business partners for failing to let her control her tours, Jojo has been fighting to do be her completely authentic self and she’s just getting started.
With over 12 million YouTube subscribers and a reported fortune of over $20 million all before she enters her twenties, it’s safe to say the Lifetime star is a big name in the industry.
Indeed, the social media superstar has already landed on Time’s 100 most influential people of the world list and also made history during her time competing on DWTS in recent years as she makes the deliberate transition from teeny-bopper sensation to a fully fledged icon.
As the young mogul continues to carve out her new path, FEMAIL looks back at her transformation from a often-mocked bow-obsessed tween to a multi-million dollar brand.
A star is born: JoJo makes the move from a talented young dancer to a bonafide reality star
Instant star: JoJo was introduced to the world on Lifetime’s Abby’s Ultimate Dance competition before she went on to join Dance Moms
Dancing queens: JoJo appeared in seasons five and six of Dance Moms, and she’s since remained close to controversial dance teacher Abby Lee Miller
Star power: The young dancer was a fan favorite as she starred alongside the likes of Maddie Ziegler – pictured right
The reality star was born Joelle Joanie Siwa in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 19, 2003, to chiropractor Tom Siwa and professional dance instructor mother Jessalynn.
JoJo’s career truly began aged nine when she became a top five finalist in Lifetime’s dance show, Abby’s Ultimate Dance competition.
The hit series was a spin-off of the successful series Dance Moms starring Abby Lee Miller, and soon the 11-year-old was signed on to star in seasons five and six of the hit Lifetime series.
The show followed dance studio owner Abby Lee Miller as she helped young dancers — typically ranging between the ages of 6 and 15 — become professional-level dancers and compete nationally.
During this time, JoJo became star in her own right as viewers became obsessed with her sassy face-offs with often-blunt dance instructor.
Abby has since come under fire for hurling ‘verbal abuse’ at the young dancers – including the likes of Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler, with the backlash leading the show’s cancellation.
However, JoJo has remained close to Miller, who’s been wheelchair-bound since she had spinal surgery after being diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma in April of 2018.
Big business: JoJo turns growing up in the spotlight into a multi- million dollar brand by signing huge deals with Nickelodeon and Claire’s
Building her brand: JoJo soon became so successful that she was able to launch a YouTube channel and start a singing career
Triple threat: JoJo also launched her acting career in 2018 after starring in the Nickelodeon TV movie, Blurt!
As her star rose, JoJo and her momager Jessalynn took the initiative to launch a solo career with her newfound fanbase, who were quick to subscribe to her YouTube channel in 2015. To date, the star has more than 12 million subscribers.
Big partnerships: JoJo has consistently worked with Nickelodeon after signing a lucrative overall talent contract with the channel at 13
Considering the fact a similar channel with 18 million subscribers was able to earn $22 million in 2018, according to a Forbes report, it is expected that JoJo’s channel could be racking in around $15million for the star each year.
The following year saw JoJo release her debut single Boomerang, which went on to be certified as double platinum by the RIAA due to its immense popularity.
Her two 2017 singles — Kid in a Candy Store and Hold the Drama have been certified Gold.
She has released three EPs: 2018’s D.R.E.A.M. The Music, 2019’s Celebrate and 2020’s JoJo’s Rockin’ Christmas.
The singer then starred in numerous productions from Nickelodeon after signing a lucrative overall talent contract with the channel in 2017 when she was just 13.
The collaboration has included the 2018 made-for-TV movie Blurt and the musical comedy series School Of Rock, which was based off of the 2003 movie of the same name.
Her exclusive licensing deal with the TV network, branded merchandise with retailers such as JCPenny, and a sold-out tour across the country soon confirmed JoJo was a major name within the entertainment industry.
She most famously released her licensed brand of giant hair bows – an item which she has notably been known to wear and fast became her trademark – in a collaboration with accessory company Claire’s.
By 2018, JoJo sold 40 million hair bows at $9.99 a pop, resulting in $399,600,000 in sales.
Racking in the cash: JoJo famously released her licensed brand of giant hair bows in a collaboration with accessory company Claire’s
Streaming queen: In recent years the star has signed more TV deals with streamers like Peacock – pictured at the premiere party for Siwas Dance Pop Revolution in 2021
The star previously confirmed to Forbes that over 80 million bows have been sold worldwide, which means at least $400 million has been made from bow sales alone.
With the young star sure to get a large cut of the profits from items such as her bows as well as dolls sold in Walmart and night-lights available at Target, it’s not surprise the published author (with over 17 books and counting) is believed to have a fortune worth over $20 million.
By September 2020, JoJo was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people of the world, with the then 17-year-old’s large online following and successful businesses being a contributing factor to her designation.
Money moves: JoJo splashes the cash on a $3.5 million mansion and some VERY striking personalized cars
Happy girl: In 2020, JoJo shared videos of her new $3.5 million mansion mansion on both YouTube and Instagram
Entryway: The entrance of the star’s home includes a baby grand piano. Multiple costumes Siwa previously wore are also in class cases in the entryway
More room: Her new home also includes a larger merchandise room for all of Siwa’s merch
Her contribution: Siwa proudly shared a collection of plates that she designed whilst walking around her kitchen
More to see: Around one side of the home is a pool next to a seating area – the home also boasts a basketball court, and an in-home 7-Eleven
Check this out: The singer has two customized cars with her face on it – a BMW Convertible (left) and a Tesla X (right)
To celebrate her continued success, the star purchased a $3.5 million mansion in Tarzana, a Los Angeles-based neighborhood within the San Fernando Valley.
In a YouTube video, the star opened her doors to her avid fan base by filming a house tour of her new 6,000 square feet digs, complete with an in-home 7-Eleven.
Indeed, JoJo and her family said goodbye to their old home in Sherman Oaks, California, for the new mansion which boasts amenities like fireplaces, marble floors, French doors and a gourmet kitchen.
The home also has a merchandise room and a backyard area fit with a basketball court, pool, foosball table, ping pong table, and sitting area.
While the mansion also features a game-style room in which there is Coca-Cola memorabilia, an arcade claw game, and a host of candy machines.
JoJo’s extravagant spending didn’t end there as the singer has two customized cars that feature her face on them.
The star is often seen in her tricked out Tesla X (worth over $60,000), which literally has multiple images of the singer plastered all over it.
Meanwhile, JoJo also has a custom BMW convertible (worth over $50,000), which features a paintjob depicting the pint-sized performer along with rainbows, ponies, stars and the like. The vehicle was customized by West Coast Customs.
Branching out: How the YouTube sensation took over TikTok after launching a hugely successful singing tour
On the road: JoJo’s D.R.E.A.M. tour, which was by Nickelodeon, first kicked off in May 2019 but its continuation was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed in 2022. Seen in 2019
Mixing it up: JoJo was often going viral on TikTok after she started to post more on the platform during the coronavirus pandemic
Transformation: Jojo gave her 22.2 million TikTok followers a rare look at her natural hair when she did TikTok’s Wipe It Down Challenge in 2020
Those who might doubt JoJo’s popularity should only look at the continued success of her first major concert tour titled ‘D.R.E.A.M The Tour’, with the young singer earning an impressive $26.9 million from the shows she did in 2019.
After selling over 72 thousand tickets and performing in over 50 cities across the United States and Canada, JoJo’s tour collected a total of $3,782,156 in gross revenue.
The singer’s star only continues to rise thanks to her clever decision to put money time and effort into TiKTok amid the social media app’s rise in popularity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked about her future social media plans by Forbes in 2020, she had admitted her sights were set on the platform as she stated: ‘Next is TikTok. I love it because you can just make a dance video.’
Judging by the 1.6 billion likes she’s received from over 42 million followers, it appears the star has been putting out the right content.
From using the site as a place to showcase her new hairstyles, to give fans new insight into her experience as a child star, JoJo has taken TikTok by storm and doesn’t seem the losing steam anytime soon.
Speaking her truth: JoJo makes the decision to come out to the world and takes on homophobic fans
Out and proud: JoJo Siwa confirmed she was part of the LGBTQ+ community in January 2021 after sharing a post of herself wearing a shirt which read ‘Best Gay Cousin Ever’
2021 was a game-changing year for the star, who kicked things off by seemingly confirming speculation about her sexuality when she wore a shirt which read ‘Best Gay Cousin Ever’.
Days later, the internet sensation officially came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community with an Instagram video and declared that she was ‘so so happy’.
Young love: The star has openly been in an on-and-off relationship with Kylie Prew, 18
JoJo appeared on camera in a black Time 100 hoodie and a white bow on her ponytail with rainbow-colored hearts.
‘For the last 48 hours, I have gotten the most endless amount of love and support,’ she gushed at the start of her video. ‘I am really, really — I’m really happy. And now that the world gets to see this side of my life, it makes me really happy.’
After someone asked how she labeled herself on the live video, she explained: ‘I have thought about this, and the reason why I’m not ready to say this answer is because I don’t really know this answer.
‘I think humans are awesome. I think humans are really incredible people.
‘I want to keep things in my life private before they’re ready to become public,’ she added, more diplomatically. ‘I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been. And that’s what matters.’
By April, JoJo declared herself as pansexual as she graced the cover of People magazine and stated: ‘I like queer.
‘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.’
Young love: So far, the star has publicly dated on-and-off girlfriend Kylie Prew, 18 – pictured in 2021
So far, the star has publicly dated on-and-off girlfriend Kylie Prew, 18, and while most fans were supportive – the Nickelodeon mega star did face a large amount of homophobia from fans and the parents of young fans.
When one furious mother wrote: ‘My daughter will never watch you again’, JoJo simply replied: ‘Okay!’
Elsewhere, when one fan demanded that ‘please dont say you’re gay’ at a concert, JoJo decided that would be the perfect opportunity to bring out her rainbow flag to the cheering crowd.
The star explained to People: ‘My thing is, 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.’
Making an impact: How JoJo made television history on Dancing With The Stars and cemented her queer icon status
Go girls: JoJo made history in 2021 when she competed on Dancing With The Stars as one half of the first ever same sex coupling
So close: The star and her professional dance partner, Jenna Johnson, came in second during the 30th season
JoJo made history during the 30th season of Dancing With the Stars after she became the first celebrity contestant to have a same-sex partner.
The then 18-year-old pop star completed alongside pro DWTS partner Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy.
Speaking to Ellen DeGeneres about the decision, JoJo revealed it had been her idea.
‘Immediately, when I got the email to do it, I was like, “Oh awesome… oh I’m gonna have to dance with a dude, that’s gonna be weird,”‘ Siwa admitted.
She added she was still, ‘down’ to do the show, but then realized there was an option to dance with a female.
Making waves: The duo had fun posing for pictures in between rehearsals and TV appearances to promote the show
‘Immediately, without thinking twice, I was like, “This is what’s right for me.” I am so happy with the outcome of me coming out. The world has taken it so positively and it’s impacted so many young kids in such a way that, hearing adults say, “I wish I had someone like you when I was growing up,” that make me know that the kids that are little have someone like me,’ Siwa said as the audience applauded.
The star also discussed being labeled a gay icon following the announcement, JoJo stated: ‘Its wild to me, I think because I look at people who are called gay icons – you, Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury, my favorite people – and to be in that category, at 18, is just insane. It’s just because of who I am. It feels amazing.’
She added: ‘One thing that just happened a few days ago was I was explaining to my dancers that are gonna be coming on tour with me… I was explaining to them what my concert was like.
‘I was like, “Think of it as four-year-olds… and gay 19-year-olds. It’s like KidzBop meets Pride Fest.”‘
Surprising scandals: JoJo makes headlines for calling out other celebrities – and her business partners – on social media
Viral: JoJo Siwa, 19, posted a TikTok video on Sunday that has since gone viral due to her naming Candace Cameron, 46, the rudest celebrity she has met
JoJo caused quite a stir on Sunday when she uploaded a new TikTok video to her 42.2 million followers in which she shared her true feelings about other celebrities.
The Boomerang singer focused the video on Hollywood bigwigs, and labeled Candace Cameron Bure, 46, the rudest celebrity she had met.
Candace is known for her role as D.J. Tanner on the hit series, Full House, and also reprising the role once again on the reboot, Fuller House.
The beloved Hallmark star is known for playing kind and loving characters on screen so it came as a surprise when JoJo claimed Candace wasn’t as nice as fans might expect.
By Tuesday, Candace responded with a cryptic bible verse to her Instagram Story on Monday.
The passage from Isaiah 26:4 read: ‘Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock’.
Hours later she took to Instagram to reveal that she had called JoJo about the claim, who explained exactly why she had publicly bashed the actress.
Clear the air: Candace called JoJo after the video went viral to figure out what had gone wrong – and learned that she had refused to take a picture with the star when she was 11
The Full House star said Jojo told her the comment stemmed from an incident when the pair met on a red carpet when the former Dance Moms star was just 11 years old.
JoJo claimed she asked Candace for a photo at the time – but that Candace told her ‘not right now,’ and then never returned for the photo despite moving on to take photos with others.
JoJo, who is a devout Christian, admitted that the teenager’s story ‘broke her heart’, and revealed that she offered up an apology to JoJo, telling her: ‘I broke your 11-year-old heart. Please know that as a mom that it breaks my heart that I made you feel that way.’
The actress added that JoJo told her she had never intended for the video to become as viral as it did, and that she actually thought Candace was a nice person.
Candace wrapped up the video by offering a lesson – advising that no matter one’s intention, anybody with a following on social media should be mindful of what they say.
It’s not the first time JoJo made headlines for being honest after she publicly called out Nickelodeon in September 2021.
Not happy: In September 2021, JoJo vented her frustration with Nickelodeon over restrictions that she said the company has put in place for her D.R.E.A.M. tour
Fiery tweets: The singer took to Twitter to call out the company for allegedly preventing her from performing her newest songs while on tour
JoJo spoke out about the restrictions that she said the company put in place for her D.R.E.A.M. tour, which began in January.
‘I go out on tour in January. My movie musical was just released (with 6 new original songs)… Nickelodeon told me today that I’m not allowed to perform/add any of the songs from the film into my show,’ JoJo tweeted.
JoJo’s movie musical The J Team was produced by Nickelodeon, after the star signed with the network in 2017
She went on to say, ‘These are MY songs, MY voice, MY writing. Does this seem fair???’
The Dance Moms alum then replied to her first heated Tweet, writing, ‘There is no reason that this music should not be included.’
She concluded, ‘Working for a company as a real human being treated as only a brand is fun until it’s not.’
JoJo’s movie musical The J Team was produced by Nickelodeon and released to the Paramount+ streaming platform on September 3. In addition to starring in the film, JoJo also served as executive producer.
In her tweets, the YouTube personality was referring to the six songs that she wrote and performed for the movie’s soundtrack, which was released in July.
JoJo’s D.R.E.A.M. tour, which was also produced by Nickelodeon, first kicked off in May 2019 but its continuation was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour resumed in January 2022 and saw the star travel through 37 cities.
The tweets came as a shock due to JoJo’s long-standing relationship with Nickelodeon, having first inked a talent deal with the network in 2017.
Things appeared to still be strained in April 2022 after JoJo told fans that she did not receive an invitation to the annual Kids’ Choice Awards, despite receiving a nomination as Favorite Social Music Star category.
Excluded: JoJo claimed she did not receive an invitation to the 2022 Kids’ Choice Awards, despite receiving a nomination as Favorite Social Music Star category
Not invited: After receiving questions from fans about her absence from the ceremony, the singer alleged to her 11.5 followers that she was not included on the guest list
After receiving questions from fans about her absence from the ceremony, held at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, the Boomerang singer alleged to her 11.5 followers that she was not included on the guest list.
‘A lot of you have been asking me why I’m not at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards tonight, and the answer is very simple, I wasn’t invited,’ the dancer revealed in the 14-second clip. ‘I’m not sure why, but I just didn’t get an invite.’
In her caption, JoJo added that she didn’t ‘want anyone to think it was’ it was her ‘choice not to go’ as she would have loved to been in attendance.