The Problem with JoJo Siwa

Abby Moutardier, Reporter

The thought of wearing a huge bow and sequins everyday would make most teenagers cringe. For JoJo Siwa, this childhood obsession became an empire, and she is forever stuck with it. 

“She’s like a Disney actor,” sophomore Emily Gilkes said. “All the sudden they grow up and become druggies and get arrested. I think she’s going to do that because she hasn’t gotten to live a normal childhood.”

It’s easy to laugh at JoJo, and question her sanity. The 16 year old star got her start with Abby Lee Miller, then moved her career over to Youtube, where she began to appeal to elementary schoolers with her bright clothing and ginormous bows. 

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“She was my least favorite [on Dance Moms],”  sophomore Gretchen Minich “The only way [being on the show] relates to her fame now is the dance.”

With her near nine million Instagram followers, an estimated net worth of ten million, and her face on everything from bedspreads to underwear, she must be doing something right. 

“I think JoJo is super smart,” Gilkes said.  “Think about it, you’ve got millions of 10 year olds idolizing you, than you make millions off of it. I could do that job.”

It’s easy to wonder if JoJo is like this in real life? Does the 5’9” teenager actually slide down her bed, and head straight to her face-wrapped BMW, all while keeping the unnaturally tight ponytail topped with a bow in tact?

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“A lot of people think that I’m forced into wearing a hair bow, and forced to dress how I dress, and forced to talk how I talk, and forced to promote things that I promote,” Siwa said in a Rolling Stone interview. 

Well, of course she would say this. JoJo is under contract with Nickelodeon, and she has to maintain an image. Not much is known about the 2017 contract, other than that it was an overall talent deal, and Nickelodeon has rights to work with her on music, live performances, social media, consumer products, and exclusive content. 

“She’s been stuck as a 10 year old at 16,” Gilkes said.  “I don’t think that’s normal so she’s definitely trapped. If she’s contracted, she doesn’t have any other option. That’s her money and her income. Her end of the deal is to hold up the persona that she’s a ten year old with all the bows and glitter.”

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Whether JoJo is the way she is out of choice, or not, the teen star lives the farthest thing from a normal life. 

I hope there is a part of JoJo Siwa that isn’t the way she is, and that lives a normal life,” Minich said. 

Many students spend the days school, and come home to enjoy a brief snack, before going to their minimum wage paying jobs. They spend time learning how to drive, and hanging out with friends at expensive coffee shops. One part of normality that JoJo does share with normal teens is learning to drive. 

“The thing that her mom did to her car is very terrible because she wrapped [JoJo’s] face on it for some unknown reason,” sophomore Ahmon Givens said. 

For JoJo’s Sweet 16, she received her first car. Yeah, it was definitely nicer than most people’s first cars, but at least that crappy early 2000’s car doesn’t have JoJo’s (or your own) face wrapped on the hood. 

The car was so bad, that Justin Bieber had to apologize to the bow girl after telling her to “burn it” with an Instagram comment.  

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What the future holds for JoJo is unknown. She could continue this act forever, or turn out like the many child stars who partake in drugs. It’s unknown when her contract expires, but when it does, things will almost definitely change for JoJo.