With her own branded hair bows and scooters, an upcoming Nickelodeon animated series and hosting duties for Lip Sync Battle Shorties—not to mention almost seven million YouTube subscribers—JoJo Siwa is the hottest ticket in kid town.
Siwa’s star power was incredibly evident at the ninth annual VidCon, an online creator conference held June 20 to 23. She performed at Nickelodeon’s booth, which had a stage dedicated to Siwa’s newest song “High Top Shoes.“ The young YouTuber drew some of the biggest crowds of the conference with her performance of the aforementioned song and a quick Q&A. Screaming fans as young as four years old were among the throngs, donning their signature JoJo bows and hoping for a chance to get a coveted selfie.
With all the deals she has in place—including a licensing partnership with Nickelodeon—Kidscreen sat down with the 15-year-old star to find out how she plans to stay relevant without burning out in this fast-paced digital space.
Kidscreen: Why do you think you’re so popular right now?
JoJo Siwa: I was thinking about this last night: “Why me? Why am I so big?” It’s so crazy. Maybe it’s that I’m relatable, I’m a kid. I think that has to be what it is.
KS: You’re a teenager now. Do you worry that, as you get older, you might age up and out of this audience?
JS: Definitely, but my audience is going to grow with me. As I turn 16, my fans are going to turn 12, etc. So I don’t think that I’ll age out of them. I think that we can all grow up together. I think we can be friends for life.
KS: If you look around, you can see tiny little girls wearing your bows. How do you deal with having such a young audience?
JS: I love it. My favorite fans to me are the young little ones. They’re so cute, they’re so fun, they’re so excited.
KS: You’ve done a bit of everything: You have an upcoming animated show, you host Lip Sync Battle Shorties, you have a book, you have consumer products. Is there anything you want to do that you haven’t done?
JS: I’ve done a Nickelodeon movie [the upcoming live-action TV movie Inside Voice, featuring virtual reality sequences], but I want to do a big-screen movie. And a full album.
KS: What kind of big-screen movie are you thinking?
JS: Comedy. I have an idea of what I want to do in my head, but I can’t say because it’s actually in the works already. It could be really big.
KS: You have an animated series coming up. Why do that, as opposed to sticking to live-action?
JS: I’ve already done so much live-action and I always ask, what haven’t I done yet? How do we keep growing this huge brand? Animation is what those little kids are really driven to. It’s so funny that a lot of little kids, all they know is PAW Patrol and Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, they don’t know anything live-action. So when they come up to me, they touch me and ask, “Are you real?” So this animated show isn’t going to help that, but it’s just going to make it more exciting!
KS: Consumer products and licensing-wise, is there something you haven’t done yet that you want to do?
JS: I want to do everything, but right now I really want to do trampolines. Jumping on my face would be really fun.
KS: What are your goals right now for your partnership with Nickelodeon?
JS: I want to go on a world tour right now. I want to go to every country—England, Ireland, Australia, Mexico, USA, Canada, South America—everywhere.
KS: And what about your goals for your YouTube channel?
JS: I want to hit 10 million subscribers by this time next year. I’m about to hit seven million right now on my main channel.
KS: You’ve had so much success with YouTube, but why keep doing it? Many YouTubers get to a certain point where they’ve had success elsewhere and decide they’re done.
JS: I think what happens with those YouTubers is not that they think they’re big enough that they need to stop. I think what happens is they grow and get a TV show, and that takes up a lot of time and so does YouTube. YouTube is a full-time job because you’re filming all day, editing all night, creating thumbnails, keeping content fun and exciting. So it’s not necessarily that YouTubers want to stop doing it, it’s that there’s literally no time. I’ve been in that place before, but I’ve had to keep doing it because I love YouTube. It’s my passion and I want to do it forever, so I always make sure I upload. Even today, I got back to my room at midnight last night and I would have had to edit, and that would have taken until 2 a.m. and I had a 9 a.m. call time, so instead I did a livestream today.
KS: What’s next for you?
JS: My book is coming out, Lip Sync Battle Shorties is coming back for season 2, I’m going to Australia—so many things.
KS: Is there one partnership you haven’t done yet that you want to do?
JS: Yes! Kraft Mac & Cheese, because I want to eat my face. I want them to be JoJo shaped.