‘Dance Moms’: Why JoJo Siwa Doesn’t Feel It’s Time to “Age up” Yet

To the adult world, JoJo Siwa is nothing short of an enigma. Only 16 years old in age, the performer got to be a household name after her stint on the hit Lifetime show, Dance Moms. Since leaving the show in its sixth season, Siwa has become multi-millionaire and a full-blow brand. Having partnered with Nickelodeon, Siwa has built an empire for herself and travels the world to perform for her millions of fans.

JoJo Siwa age 16
JoJo Siwa | Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

A new-age role model

Though Siwa is hardly lacking support from Gen Z, older people may have a hard time truly understanding her brand. Siwa is drastically different from most of the people her age. While many of her peers try their hardest to blend in with edgier and more sophisticated looks, Siwa is the complete opposite. The singer is as bold as brass. With a booming voice, she wears only the loudest, most colorful attire. Sporting giant bows that seem to truly defy gravity and a face full of glitter, it’s hard for many to believe that she’s 16.

Though Siwa’s attire might read a little childish, her personality often deviates completely from that. Love her or hate her, you can’t accuse Siwa of not being self-aware. Coming up in the age of the Internet, Siwa is no stranger to the harsh critique that is constantly slung her way. But somehow, the performer seems to take it all in stride, focusing only on the people who appreciate her for nothing more or less than exactly who she is.

A different kind of 16-year-old

Siwa recently showed her appreciation to her Instagram followers for accepting her as is. “Thank you to everyone who accepts me for who I am! Trust me, I know I’m different from most 16yr olds, I know I dress different, I know I act different, I know people my age don’t normally live life the way I live mine, but I get to do what I love 24/7 and I get to inspire the next generation of kids on such important incredible things like being kind, being confident, and having fun! Love you guys!,” the Dance Moms alum shared.

But despite Siwa’s comfortability with who she is, it can be hard for other people to take her at face value. Siwa confessed that there’s been plenty of times when people believe her personality is a performance. This even occurred when she was exploring her partnership with Nickelodeon. At a meeting, Siwa had to convince Pam Kaufman (the president of Viacom Nickelodeon global consumer products) that she wasn’t putting on an act.

JoJo with the bow bows

“The third time I met with Pam, she said, ‘You know, you don’t have to come to these meetings all JoJo. You can just come normal.’ And I said, ‘Pam, we have to have a talk, because I need you to know that this is my normal. This is my life. There is no other secret. There is no other person. I literally am JoJo. I wear the bright clothes every day. I wear the sparkly hair bows. I wear the high-top shoes. I sing the fun music. I talk really loud. I talk fast, and I talk a lot. This is who I am,” Siwa confessed in a recent interview with TIME.

Will her brand survive

Sure this is who Siwa is for the time being, but critics of the 16-year-old are concerned about who she may become in the future. They struggle to understand how her brand (which is extremely juvenile in a lot of ways) can possibly age with her. It’s not a question that Siwa is unfamiliar with, but she admits that she doesn’t have a clear answer for right now.

Aging up

One thing Siwa knows for certain is that she wants the “aging up” process to happen as naturally and organically as possible. As she’s built her brand around her life, it seems that things will simply change when she does. In the meantime though, she’s content to continue doing what she loves. “There will be a time when I age up. Everyone does grow up. I think I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. But, I mean, what do people want me to do? Wear black every day?”