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 latest popping out as LGBTQ, ask any preteen or tween. They know her story.
They’ve most likely secured their ponytails with an important massive, glowing, rainbow-striped bow, too. The celebrity 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 outdoors her home emblazoned together with her face.
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“I work so much,” Siwa says.
After incomes her GED two years in the past, her work life consists of rehearsing, filming — proper now, her new summer season film The J Group — enhancing movies, TikTok-ing and signing off on merchandise bearing her identify and picture.
“However I do regular issues!” Siwa insists.
She likes Kraft macaroni and cheese. She FaceTimes together with her girlfriend, Kylie Prew, 18, consistently. And she or he loves Ariana Grande and Gray’s Anatomy. “I’m going to the toilet on my bathroom 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 cope with being overworked and never getting any sleep,” Siwa says. “Do I ever have breakdowns? Sure, in fact I do. I am a youngster. There are a number of 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 appearance of Fb, JoJo would not know a world with out emojis. She sees her telephone as extra answer than downside: “My telephone retains me linked to the world!”
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It is also turned a gateway to neighborhood and assist. In January, Siwa got here out as LGBTQ, over a sequence of posts on TikTok and Instagram. When she lipsynched Girl Gaga’s “Born This Manner” following a day with TikTok collective Pleasure Home 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 mentioned about us,” she says. “It is good to have anyone 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 wish to put a “label” on her sexuality.
“I nonetheless do not know what I’m. It is like, I wish to determine it out. And I’ve this joke. Her identify 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 all the time simply say homosexual as a result of it simply form 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 all the time been my entire life is rather like, my human is my human.”
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Siwa and Prew met on a cruise ship. “I informed her my entire spiel that I inform everybody after they ask me my life story,” Siwa remembers. “She goes, ‘I may have Googled that. I wish to know your life story. You simply informed me about your profession. I wish to find out about you.’ And I used to be like, Nobody’s ever requested me that earlier than.”
“I by no means wished [my coming out] to be a giant deal,” she provides. But it surely 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 so much that might have gone away due to my love life,” Siwa says.
Ever linked to her followers, she Googled herself. Then she learn the hundreds of feedback. “I by no means ought to have completed that. I used to be considering that each one the feedback had been going to be good and supportive, and so they weren’t,” she says. “A variety 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.”
For extra from JoJo Siwa, decide up this week’s difficulty of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
However Siwa discovered readability: “My factor is, I do not need folks to observe 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 blissful.”
“Performing has all the time made me tremendous blissful,” she provides. “However for the primary time, personally, I’m like, whoa, happiness. I’m so proud to be me.”