Everything you should know about JoJo Siwa, the 'Dance Moms' alum turned teen Internet star

by 24USATVMay 19, 2020, 6 p.m. 18
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The Omaha, Nebraska, native, born Joelle Joanie Siwa, is famous for her giant hair bows, sparkly outfits and larger-than-life personality, and she boasts millions of followers online.

“It’s really fun for me,” Siwa told USA TODAY in 2018 of creating social media content. “It’s like my version of going to the park.”

Now 17 years old, fans think Siwa is entering a new chapter in her career. She turned heads with a TikTok video posted Monday night, which shows her teasing a look much more toned down than fans are used to seeing, trading her trademark high pony and glitter-all-over outfit for long, wavy hair and a simple black t-shirt.

USA TODAY has reached out to Siwa's representative for more info about her new look.

Here's what we know about Siwa and how she rose to digital superstardom.

The entertainment world first met Siwa in 2013, when she appeared as a contestant on "Dance Moms" spinoff "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" before landing a role as a "Dance Moms" series regular in 2015.

In 2017, Nickelodeon signed Siwa to a talent deal, which led to 2018's animated series about her and her dog, "The JoJo and BowBow Show Show." She has also worked with Nick Cannon on "Lip Sync Battle Shorties" and leant her voice to last year's "Angry Birds" movie sequel.

She's won Kids' Choice Awards four years in a row, each in different categories: favorite viral music artist, favorite musical YouTube creator, favorite TV host (with Cannon) and favorite social media star.

Most recently, Siwa was unmasked on "The Masked Singer", where she appeared as the T-Rex. Some clues about her background, like a plate of junk food seasoned with glitter, were dead giveaways for fans.

"Let me tell you, she subscribes to the idea that there is no 'off day,' " Siwa's coach said in her final episode. "Even though she's young, she's got fans of all ages and always knows how to win over a crowd."

JoJo Siwa revealed:T-Rex goes extinct on 'The Masked Singer,' turns out to be young YouTube star

And win over a crowd she does: The young star is also creating content on her own terms.

Across YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok, Siwa has racked up more than 42 million followers. Nearly always decked out in her signature giant bow, glitter makeup and bright clothing, she posts music videos and dances, and she gives inside looks at her rainbow explosion of a mansion.

She has two EPs: 2018's "D.R.E.A.M. The Music" and 2019's "Celebrate." Major songs include "Boomerang," "Hold the Drama" and "Kid in a Candy Store."

Her mother, Jessalynn Siwa, told USA TODAY in 2018: “The greatest thing about it is she literally was doing it all herself, from filming to editing to thumbnails to producing. To see her have the success is really just the cherry on top.”

Keeping up with JoJo: Playdate with the Kardashians

Building her brand over the years has also attracted some famous fans: After Kim Kardashian West tweeted last year that her oldest daughter, North, 6, was "obsessed with JoJo Siwa," North got a special visit from the sparkle-enthusiast herself.

In a playdate that turned into a YouTube video viewed more than 37 million times and landed in an episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," Siwa showed North and Kim around her house and sent her home with tons of JoJo merchandise.

"Kim is one of the sweetest people I have ever met," Siwa told "Today." "She's so nice. She's a very good mom. I wasn't sure what to expect, because you know her as Kim Kardashian… Just such a good human."

Siwa and her sparkly bows are practically synonymous: So much so that she told "Today" she's sold over 60 million of them to fans, among other merchandise items.

But controversy sparked last year after Claire's announced it was voluntarily recalling the JoJo Siwa Makeup Set because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning saying it tested positive for asbestos.

Siwa released a YouTube video addressing the recall soon after, laughing at the beginning and saying, "I was gonna start this video all serious and dramatic but that's not who I am. That's not what this video is about."

She went on to stress that "safety is myself and Nickelodeon’s No. 1 priority in everything, in every JoJo product and in everything out there” and lamented putting "too much trust in other people" with the makeup line.

Aside from hair and makeup products, Siwa fans have turned out to malls and big-box stores to buy everything from JoJo-branded kitchen-ware to activity books to Band-Aids.

"I do not have $50 trillion," she joked to "Today last year. "I will tell you that I am very happy. My bank account does not matter to me if I have a billion dollars or $2. If I'm happy and if I love what I'm doing, that's what matters to me."

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