The untold truth of JoJo Siwa

What has roughly one thousand hair bows, a teacup Yorkie named BowBow, and a riotous urge to "live the dream like a candy queen?"

The answer can only be JoJo Siwa. A former Dance Moms cast member and finalist on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, Siwa has successfully parlayed her brief reality-show notoriety into a lucrative YouTube channel JoJo Siwa Vlogs, a three-book deal, an onslaught of singles like "Boomerang" and "Every Girl's a Super Girl," and an "overall talent deal" with Nickelodeon. That last career coup has already yielded delights like The Jojo & BowBow Show Show, an animated series that debuted on Nickelodeon in September 2018. 

Born Joelle Joanie Siwa on May 19, 2003, the teenager (and her seemingly bottomless collection of sparkly hair bows) is massively popular, but her fame has often come at a price. The Nebraska-born star — who was fifteen-years-old as of October 2018 — is routinely bullied on social media, has gotten into scrappy online beefs with the likes of Danielle Bregoli aka the "Cash Me Outside" girl, and has even orchestrated one particular YouTube prank that managed to really upset her fans. 

But will she "let the haters get their way?" Fasten your seatbelt and favorite JoJo Bow... because this is the untold truth of JoJo Siwa.

There's a reason she never wears her hair down

There's a boatload of fans out there who want to know why JoJo Siwa won't do something new and kicky with her hair. "People tell me I should wear it down more," she told J-14 in May 2018 (via Just Jared.) "They'll be like, 'It looks so pretty down!'"

Well, Siwa has her reasons. "I feel more confident with my hair up," she confessed, revealing that she simply hates "having it on my neck." If this one-woman teenage spectacular can be believed, Siwa doesn't even let down her hair at home. (She's always on.) "I wear bows and my hair up, no matter if I'm performing or not," she told the publication. When her hair isn't up, it reportedly leads to negative psychological effects: "I just don't feel right if my hair's not up with a bow," she insists, because it just looks so... alien. "I don't feel like me," she revealed. 

Curiously, in a vlog posted to YouTube on Apr. 26, 2018 — and provocatively titled "WEARING MY HAIR DOWN!!!" — Siwa let her mom Jessalynn do her hair "however she wants." Well, this boundary-pushing Jessalynn created a hairstyle that finds JoJo indeed wearing her hair down. ("No, this is not clickbait," JoJo assures us in the video summary.) Admiring herself in the mirror, JoJo finally admitted the truth: "It actually does look really pretty."  

We'll leave you for a moment to take all of this in... because there's a quiz later.

Is her public persona "fake"?

It's safe to say JoJo Siwa is a certifiable handful — by the standards set on Earth, and in every distant solar system. In July 2017, her unremittingly manic persona even inspired This Morning host Eamonn Holmes to ask (via the Daily Mail): "Where do you get all that energy from — do you drink a lot of sugary drinks?" 

Some folks may find themselves bristling at Siwa's dynamic personality, and might even think it's overblown, forced, and artificial. Well, J-14 — the magazine that offers "the scoop on all your favorite teen stars" — has news for you: A January 2018 headline insists Siwa's schtick is "so not an act." To support this thesis, the article leads readers to another YouTube vlog by Siwa, where she assures fans she's not fake.

"My favorite thing ever is, like, I love doing YouTube," she perkily rants, adding: "That's what I love to do and that's my passion. That's who I am." She goes on to lament all those sad souls who suspect "JoJo is fake" or "JoJo is a character." She's here to assure all the naysayers that she's unswervingly real in every way.

For what it's worth, Jace Norman — an actor who co-starred with Siwa in an original Nickelodeon TV movie called Blurt — found her very authentic, indeed: "She's awesome, she's like this huge aura of energy," he told People in January 2018, adding: "The persona that she has online is not fake at all. That's actually her." Case closed.

Yikes: So many cruel memes​

From The Department of Be Careful What You Wish For: On July 19, 2018, JoJo Siwa tweeted a photo of herself — big bow, big smile, big personality — alongside the caption: "I'm ready to become a meme." Unfortunately, the Twitterverse was all too happy to oblige her. 

As We The Unicorns reports, an avalanche of malignant memes began popping up right away. The content was alternately racist and homophobic, with one image even depicting Siwa in an "I Hate F**s" T-shirt (thanks to the black magic of Photoshop.) Some memes insulted Siwa's physical appearance by laboriously mocking her hairline, while others reportedly depicted sexual assault. (In June 2018, Stranger Things cast member Millie Bobby Brown temporarily left Twitter after being bombarded with similarly hateful memes, as Mashable reports.)

At the time, Siwa was fifteen-years-old, and to her credit, she stuck to her guns and didn't leave Twitter at all. Perhaps wisely, Siwa didn't even bother addressing this outpouring of hatred, even though it almost certainly caught her attention. Shortly after the whole mess unfolded, a Twitter fan commented on Siwa's horde of online bullies on Aug. 6, 2018, writing: "when someone hates on you but then you look at them and remember you're JOJO SIWA." The former Dance Moms star simply responded: "Lol I love u."

​Her dog BowBow was cyberbullied

As far as "punching down" goes, it doesn't get much lower than cyberbullying teenage girls — but how about taunting defenseless dogs and teenage girls at the same time?

Speaking from the red carpet at Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights event in September 2018, JoJo Siwa revealed to Access Online that she'd recently been attacked by a Twitter troll that went after the sparkly YouTube sensation and her little dog, too. She claims the comment was short and sour: "JoJo, you are ugly. And so is BowBow. It runs in the family." On Sept. 8, 2018, this low blow inspired Siwa to tweet: "I've been getting a lot of hate recently and I'm okay, I know how to deal with it... BUT SOMEONE JUST COMMENTED THAT MY DOG IS UGLY I'M ABOUT TO GO OFF."

As she told Access Online: "Do not come for BowBow... Mama Bear comes out. Do not hate on my dog." These haters would be much better off curling up to The JoJo & BowBow ShowShow on Nickelodeon, an animated series that will melt the heart of all but the most dedicated anti-canine creepo.  

Meanwhile, BowBow took the high road, ignoring the hotheaded hound-haters by issuing no public statement at all. 

She told fans that her dad was in a bus accident

In July 2017, JoJo Siwa angered plenty of fans with a misguided YouTube prank. As Inquisitr reports, the pint-sized powder keg shared a long story in a now-deleted vlog that involved her dad getting seriously hurt: "A bus just came flying at us," she claimed, "[and] actually knocked my dad down to the ground." Sitting alongside her brother Jayden, she assured fans that her father wasn't going to die, but was nevertheless "in the hospital" and "very badly hurt."

But the video had a twist ending: Suddenly, Siwa laughingly confessed, "We had no clickbait for the blog, we wanted the views, so we made up a story about a near-death experience. We hope you liked it ... so that could be a certain fan fiction, I guess." Then her dad popped into frame, shouting: "I'm back from Canada!"

According to Inquisitr, many fans were offended by the prank, particularly some people who'd actually lost people in car accidents. In a follow-up post, Siwa subsequently apologized: "I'm very sorry for yesterday's video... I know it was a lot of clickbait, and I know some of you are mad at me, but you know what? It wouldn't be a YouTube video if there wasn't clickbait."

​She beefed with Danielle Bregoli

It's the online spat you didn't know you didn't want: In July 2018, a certain Danielle Bregoli aka "Cash Me Outside" girl, got into a virtual sparring session with JoJo Siwa. Thankfully, Cosmopolitan lovingly documented every twist of the knife. 

It all began when a fan of Siwa's — Siwa's fans are improbably called "Siwanatorz," by the way — wrote a now-deleted Facebook post (forever immortalized on Twitter) in praise of her perky teen hero: "There are GROWN WOMEN on some of her posts just trashing her because of the way she acts," she wrote. Meanwhile, the fan also called out Bregoli, claiming that she "publicly disrespected her mother, danced half naked on the Internet, [and] dresses like she's grown." The inflamed Siwanator further lamented the fact that people came after Siwa for "acting too young" while Bregoli "makes millions being a delinquent."

But the real trouble started when Siwa retweeted the post, writing, "This post means so much to me. ... I love being a positive role model and I want everyone to know it's ok to be a kid and to not worry about growing up so fast!" Needless to say, Bregoli wasn't remotely pleased about this turn of events, taking to Twitter to succinctly express her consternation: "Suck my d**k," she wrote. Not to be outdone, Siwa went ahead and got the last word, responding: "Exactly my point." 

As far as we can tell, Bregoli didn't write back. How bout dat?

​A man is accused of impersonating Siwa's friend

Here's a desperately grim wrinkle in the JoJo Siwa saga: In May 2018, details emerged about a grotesque criminal case involving 27-year old Californian Juan Beltran, who stands accused of pretending to be "a close personal friend" of Siwa's, all in the hopes of tricking an 8-year-old girl into sending him lewd photographs.

According to Nathan Fisher, Sheriff Lieutenant of North Carolina's Catawba County Sheriff's Office: "About eight weeks ago we received a report from a father in our county stating that his daughter had been solicited online through her cell phone." As Spectrum News Charlotte reports, Beltran was allegedly talking to the young girl on Instagram. Based on Fisher's statement, the California man "would begin asking for photos of the person, innocent at first, and then quickly [start asking for] inappropriate-type photos." Meanwhile, officials in San Bernardino told The VV Daily Press that Beltran was using "large, colorful hair bows to exploit minors."

Fortunately, the girl's father heard her phone notifications pinging into the night, thanks to a family rule that demanded the phone always be charged outside her bedroom. Detectives reportedly had no difficulty tracing the suspect, and Beltran was subsequently arrested by San Bernardino deputies "on suspicion of possession of child pornography and contacting a minor with the intent to commit sex acts." 

She has trust issues

If you were a former Dance Moms sensation and subsequent YouTube star, wouldn't you worry about inadvertently surrounding yourself with fair-weather friends? In an interview with J-14 (via Jezebel), JoJo Siwa suggested that she's very guarded about who she allows into her inner circle, since she has "to be careful about who my friends are!" Furthermore, she added: "I don't want fake friends!"

Some of this anxiety must stem from the simple fact that Siwa is confronted by persistently obnoxious online bullies left and right. During a July 2017 appearance on This Morning (via the Daily Mail), she listed just a few of the insults that constantly bombard her on social media: "They can just comment, 'you're fat,' 'you're ugly,' 'you're weird,' 'I hate you,' 'you're a brat,' and 'you're annoying.'"  

She assured hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes that she doesn't let all that negativity get her down: "I don't let the haters get their way," she chirped, adding that online bullies are "just terrible. It's so mean that someone can just comment. You don't even know who it is half the time."

​Inside the bow ban

According to the Daily Mail, JoJo Siwa has something like 1,000 bows in her collection, and she reportedly goes to sleep each night with one wrapped extravagantly in her hair. Her signature look even has a name — "JoJo bows," naturally — and there's no shortage of children eager to snatch them up by the bushel in order to cop her look. Claire Low, editor of Australian "tween magazine" Total Girl, told the Sydney Morning Herald that "JoJo bows are an insane phenomenon," claiming that the YouTube star has "taken something simple and fairly widespread ... and managed to turn this into an empire." 

In fact, these JoJo bows are so ubiquitous, they've even been banned in several schools throughout the United Kingdom, a trend that's succeeded in rankling plenty of parents, according to The Telegraph"Actively encouraging my 7 year old daughter to protest about the JoJo bow ban at school," ranted one flummoxed parent on Twitter in May 2017. Another mom told the Manchester Evening News, "I really can't see any problem with the JoJo bows, they make out like it's a gun or something really bad, but come on, they're only hair clips."

Meanwhile, Siwa — who has called her bows "a symbol of power, confidence, believing-ness" — is displeased by the ban, calling it "a very bad thing," according to the BBC.

People wigged out when they discovered her height

Further evidence that the Internet is an unforgiving hinterland that should be avoided: In February 2018, JoJo Siwa posted a video in which she gleefully Googled herself, offering up her trademark motormouth commentary all the while. She was particularly galled to find that she'd been described as 5'7," ranting: "I am not 5'7"! I am more or less like 5'8" and a half, or 5'9. I guess this looks pretty close!"

At first blush, this autobiographical morsel doesn't look like a whole lot to sink your teeth into — but never underestimate the wellspring of savagery to be found on Twitter. The hordes had an absolute field day with the revelation: "The fact the serena williams, troye sivan and jojo siwa are all the same height gives me shivers," wrote one joker. "Today I learned that Jojo Siwa and Justin Bieber are the same height... I'm disturbed," wrote another. Meanwhile, yet another cultural crusader tweeted: "jojo siwa is the same height as BANE!!!! WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT'S TERRIFIED OF THIS GIRL!!!!" 

This great disturbance in the Twitterverse did not pass by Siwa unnoticed, and she rapidly put together a follow-up vlog, entitled: "The Truth On Why I'm So Tall..." In it, she exclaims, "I don't know, maybe I've just been tall my whole life so it doesn't phase me, but it phases some of you guys!" Glad we got to the bottom of that!