JoJo Siwa is set to waltz, tango and foxtrot her way to history this fall.
The 18-year-old actor, singer and YouTube superstar is joining the lineup of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” next month for its 30th season and, in a historic first, will be paired with a female professional dancer.
Speaking to Variety at ABC’s Television Critics Association panel this week, Siwa said she hoped to “make everything OK for the people who come after me” by being partnered on the show with another woman.
“There’s a lot of barriers that we’re going to have to break through — who leads, how do you dress, what shoes do you wear? But I think it’s all something that I’m looking forward to,” she explained. “It’s going to be tricky, but it’s going to give so much to people out there — people of the LGBTQ community, people who feel just a little different. It’s going to give them a sense of happiness.”
Siwa reiterated her enthusiasm in a short video posted Thursday to Twitter.
“I can’t wait to just dance every single week,” she said. “I can’t wait to meet my partner. There are so many things I am so excited for!”
Since its 2005 premiere, “Dancing With the Stars” has featured a fair number of LGBTQ contestants, including original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” star Carson Kressley, football player Michael Sam and Carole Baskin of Netflix’s “Tiger King.” In 2018, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon became the show’s first gay winner.
Each of Siwa’s predecessors, however, was paired with a professional dancer of the opposite sex.
Siwa, originally from Nebraska, has cultivated a following of millions of young followers via her YouTube channel, “Its JoJo Siwa.” Last year, she was included on Time magazine’s annual list of 100 most influential people in the world. She came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in January, stressing that she wasn’t looking to label her sexuality further just yet.
And as fans can attest, she’s no dance novice. At age 9, she made her television debut as a contestant on “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition,” which aired in 2013. She came in fifth place.
Season 30 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres Sept. 20.