We met former “Dance Moms” star and now author JoJo Siwa, 14, at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Carle Place recently. We were so lucky to get to the front of the line because the line was almost around the store! Her new book is “JoJo’s Guide to the Sweet Life” (Amulet Books).
We love your book. What do you think other kids will get from it?
What I want other kids to get from it is that it is OK to be themselves and to follow their dreams. In this book I tell you my story, and it is all about how I followed my dreams. And I feel that if you follow your dreams it may all come true. I was just a little kid from Nebraska, and look what I am doing now.
How long did it take you to write the book, and did anyone help you?
Yes, I had someone help me. So what I did, I told someone my story and they would write it. Everything I said is in my words, but someone else typed it for me. I have been working on it since I was 13, so it has taken about a year and half. It’s been a good journey — it has been fun. You want to know a fun fact? I actually started on the book before “Boomerang” [her 2016 song]. Think how long ago that was.
When you look back on your old videos, do you laugh or cringe?
I laugh, I definitely laugh. There is a little bit of cringe!
What do your bows symbolize?
I love that question. If you are wearing a JoJo bow, you are a Siwanator. If you are a Siwanator, then you are nice, powerful, confident and believe in yourself. I think that is very important to me, that everyone loves everyone.
Why did you leave “Dance Moms,” and is Abby that mean in real life?
I knew you were going to ask that! I left just because it was the right timing for me to leave. I had a huge opportunity with Nickelodeon, so I could not pass that up. It was a very hard decision to leave because it was such an amazing show and my time on there was so much fun. I am so happy that I did it. Was Abby really that mean? You know, the thing is, it was a reality TV show so at the same time, yes, and at the same time, no. Abby is a sweetheart, and she just posed for my book on Instagram. She deep-down inside loves the kids, and without her I would not have even been on the show. I love her.
What motivated you to start dancing and singing?
To be honest, my mom owned a dance studio and I was just kind of there. There was never a time when I wanted to quit, but my parents always gave me the choice if I did decide to. Dancing and singing are the two things that have stuck with me throughout my life.
What is the best and worst part about being famous?
The best part is meeting all the people and getting to see my fans. When I was driving by earlier, I saw all these kids wearing JoJo bows and also wearing JoJo shirts, and I thought that was pretty unbelievable. The worst part? You know, there really isn’t a worst part. The thing that is most different is I can’t really go places. I just go differently. So instead of going to a theme park, I would be performing at a theme park. It is all fun.
How do you come up with inspiration for your songs?
For every song I just knew what to write. I go off on what my life is like. Like the song “Boomerang.” What is my life like? I come back on the haters — just like a boomerang.
Who would you like to do a YouTube video with and why?
I think it would be fun to do one with Joey Graceffa. He is really cool and really nice in person.
What is your biggest fail?
I don’t know! My thing with failure, just forget about it and get up and do it again. On “Dance Moms” I did forget one solo, and that was just a nightmare.
Did you ever think you would be in this position today?
I never did, but it is so unbelievable and great that it has happened.
What is your role with Nickelodeon?
I don’t have a set Nickelodeon show, so I go and do all these million different Nickelodeon things. So I will do TV shows, movies; they help me with all the products I have. I do a lot with them.
Why do you hate hamburgers and hot dogs?
Good question! When I was little I used to think that if I ate a hamburger it was going to be so bad for you, just like French fries. Worst food you could possibly eat. But now I realize it is just fine. But after all that, I just don’t like the taste of that. They look good and a lot of places have them, but not for me.
You are a big star now — do you still have to clean your own room?
I do. It is kind of unfortunate, but I do.
If you could be in a movie with anyone, who would you choose?
Will Ferrell. Have you ever seen “Elf”? Yeah, we should do “Elf 2” together.
Why don’t you like your hair down?
It is the weirdest thing. I am not going to lie, I hate it down because it touches my neck and gets in my face and moves around. But it does look good down. It’s weird.