The JoJos have now met — and they have more in common than just their names.
As part of Variety's Power of Young Hollywood series, JoJo (the "Baby It's You" pop star) and JoJo Siwa (the "Kid in a Candy Store" sensation) sat down for a conversation in which they connected over child stardom and online bullying.
JoJo, born Joanna Levesque, is now 29, but at 13 years old she topped the music charts with 2004's "Leave (Get Out)." Siwa, 17, has been a popular Nickelodeon star and bubbly children's icon for years — and Levesque is glad she's not being thrust outside her comfort zone too soon.
"My first single was so grown. I was singing about things that were way older than what I should have been singing about, so I kind of caught up to my subject matter," recalled Levesque. "Do you envision your music evolving as you evolve?"
"Yeah, I do. But for me, it's actually the opposite. I don't want to sing about something yet [if I'm] not ready to," Siwa said.
"That makes me so happy. I never got the sense that you were doing something you didn't want to do," said Levesque. "I love that you're not in a hurry to grow up, or to assume those adult responsibilities, or whatever. You already have your responsibilities on you, but there really is no rush. When we first met you were like, 'I love being 17. It's my favorite age I've been.'"
"It only gets better," added Siwa.
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The two stars also bonded over their experiences navigating the music business alongside their moms. And their pre-pop ambitions? Siwa had surgeon on her career goals list, and Levesque was eyeing a future as a veterinarian.
"But people will say, 'Oh, my kid has it,' or 'My kid wants it,' or 'My kid wants to be famous.' But it was different. I really did," said Siwa. "Everyone who met me was like, 'You just need to walk her into Disney Channel and just be like look at this kid.' And we were like, 'Okay, well, clearly that's not how it works.'"
"My mom managed me for the first 12 years of my career, from 5 to 17, and it was good, and then it wasn't good," shared Levesque, who also appeared in films like RV and Aquamarine, both in 2006. "She hated the industry so much. She just saw people trying to come in and take advantage and split us apart, and get in her ear. She is such a pure soul that it was not right for her. If you don't have the thick skin to deal with that…"
Added Siwa: "It's not worth it."
During their discussion, the JoJos also reflected on their experiences with internet bullying, with Siwa mentioning that she reads all online chatter about herself. "Good for you. You must be really strong to be able to do that," said Levesque about her younger counterpart's willingness to Google herself.
Siwa also said she feared teen fans who attacked her online.
"After I was the top meme in October, with people criticizing my hairline and saying I'm a giant toddler, I went to Knott’s Scary Farm, and people were being awful. All these teenagers were, like, 'JoJo Siwa, F you! Go home.' All night long people were shouting things at me. So I just thought teenagers don't like me. And I am one! But I didn't have any teenage friends, and I do now."
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