JoJo Siwa reflected on what it means to be labelled a “gay icon” in an interview with fellow trailblazer Laverne Cox.
Siwa, the sugary-sweet bow-wearing social media superstar, beamed as she told E! what an “honour” it is to represent her community.
On the 2021 People’s Choice Awards red carpet Tuesday evening (7 December), Cox, an unashamed “superfan” of Siwa, asked the 18-year-old about her stint on Dancing with the Stars.
Cox reflected on Ellen DeGeneres calling Siwa a “gay icon”.
“Forty years ago, it was illegal for two women to dance together in public and two men to dance together,” Cox said, “that was why the Stonewall rebellion happened.
“So, it’s amazing that it wasn’t a big deal. What I loved about it was that people were like, ‘Hey, she’s dancing the house down’. It’s about her talent, it’s about her personality.
“How does it feel that being such a groundbreaker?”
“It honestly feels like such an honour,” Siwa replied, “and I know what a big deal it is.”
JoJo Siwa ‘knew what history’ being on Dancing with the Stars would be
JoJo Siwa knew all too well what her appearance on the show as a proudly openly queer woman would mean for so many people across the world.
“When I had the opportunity to dance with another female, immediately I knew there was no other way for me to do it because I knew what it would do for the world,” she said.
“I knew what history it would make,” she said, “and I knew what it would do for little kids at home who maybe felt like they were afraid to love who they wanted to love and that’s something that I’ve always said is love who you wanna love, be who you wanna be.
“Getting to dance with Jenna on Dancing with the Stars, getting to dance with another female, just showed that we’re watching a bunch of boys and girls dancing together and they’re amazing, too.
“But watching a girl and girl dancing together is just as amazing.”
Siwa, to quote Cox, certainly “danced the house down” during her time on Dancing with the Stars.
After 10 weeks of the competition, Siwa ended the show with an utterly electric freestyle number to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. Because LGBT+ rights, that’s why.
The performance left fans “sobbing” as countless dubbed it a milestone moment for queer representation on television, especially for a show that has been on the air for 16 years and 30 seasons.
For Siwa, though, Dancing with the Stars was more than pop songs and Disney costumes – it helped her grow as a person and realise who she is.
“Even though I am only 18, it feels like I’ve transitioned into a woman,” she said during the finale.
Her dance parter Jenna Johnson, she said, “has single-handedly changed my life”.