JoJo Siwa was Wednesday's guest on the 4D with Demi Lovato podcast, where the two pop stars got to bond over everything from being too hard on themselves and dealing with paparazzi to coming out in the public eye.
"I wanna give you credit and kudos for coming out because I know how hard that is just for anybody to come out," Lovato told Siwa, 18, who revealed she was gay through a series of social media posts earlier this year. "But especially, like, for someone to have their s**t together at your age, and have a grasp on their identity, is really powerful…"
Lovato, who first came out as pansexual and, more recently, as nonbinary, added, "For me, I didn’t come as bisexual until 2017, and it was something I had known about myself for quite some time." Then they asked Siwa, "Did you have any apprehensions? Or were you just so excited to tell the world?"
Siwa explained that the only thing holding her back at first was making sure that her girlfriend, Kylie Prew, and her girlfriend's family, were ready to go public. "You always know," she said about understanding her own sexuality. "I always knew with me… I was always like, 'I'll just wait until I actually have a girlfriend or until I have a girl that I'm in love with, and then I'll do something with it."
She added, "The internet kind of outed me for me, and all I had to do is confirm it," recounting how joining a queer TikTok house for a video on the platform was the first public clue, and that after it "kind of outed me," the TikTokers apologized, to which she replied, "Truthfully, I don't mind, because it's true! And they were like, 'Welcome!'" That's when Kylie gave her the green light to keep going, she said.
Siwa, who spent time adorably gushing over Lovato, also discussed the various stages of her "gay awakening," noting that one of her first might have been watching Jenna Dewan's super-sexy 2016 performance on Lip Sync Battle — as well as, just before that, watching dancer JoJo Gomez in Lovato's 2015 "Cool for the Summer" video. "I remember seeing that and being just a little too interested," Siwa said.
It was a confession that tickled Lovato, who said that when they did that video, it was their way "of sharing with the world, without confirming, that I was bisexual… my way of saying 'I'm not ready to come out, but….' I'm so happy you could see a little glimpse of that pride through that performance."
Expanding on the theme, Lovato asked Siwa if she thought her personality captures "the essence of Pride." She answered, "Oh! I am a walking rainbow!" adding that she's long had a Pride shirt and "rainbow Adidas pants," and that "'Born This Way' has been my favorite song forever."
Regarding the paparazzi, Lovato asked Siwa if she's found them to be very intrusive over the years — to which Siwa explained "I never did," until she turned 18. "It switched to, not, 'How’s your family?… Tell us about your TV show…' to politics. I like to stay completely removed from politics… religion and money. My audience has kids. I’m a true believer in what makes you happy is what you should do." However, she added, when she was recently asked a hard-hitting question about an anti-trans school policy in Kentucky, she answered honestly, saying that "any kid should be able to do what they wanna do, of course."
Siwa also talked about the nuances of coming out while being a child star, with young fans.
"Obviously, I work for Nickelodeon, and there’s a stereotype, like, 'Ooh child network! What are they gonna think of somebody being gay?'" she said. "And I think that it's 2021! And everybody saw the Blue’s Clues [Pride episode]!"
She also discussed becoming an adult and coming out in relation to Lovato's question about her trademark — bows — and whether or not she's got a new symbol waiting in the wings.
"Once I turned 18, I really was like, alright, I gotta — not grow up, not move on — but I just feel like I wanna change something up… Me really realizing who I am and what I love has something to do with it," Siwa said. "It just grew me up a little bit, I’ve never been in love before, much less being in love with a girl before. It grows you up."
The hair bow, though, she added, is "not just a hair accessory… it means something much greater. So I don't think anything will ever be able to replace the bow for me." However, she adds, she has been experimenting. "I found this light-up scrunchie in my hair drawers today, so I'm like, 'Oh! I'm putting that in… I don't like being boring."
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