I’ve really found my forte has become celebrity interviews. They are something I really enjoy doing and just having the honor to conduct them is a special privilege I have. When I was in L.A. at the Glendale Studios seeing a live taping of Lifetime TV smash hit Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition this past spring, I took notice of a little blonde spitfire named JoJo, 10, who truly danced her dance. I was there interviewing Lady Gaga creative director Richy Jackson, one of the judges for AUDC, as JoJo really stood out to the choreographer in me. She will be hell in heels when she grows up.
Since the second season of AUDC hits Lifetime TV on 9/3 I reached out to JoJo and her wonderful mother Jessalynn about allowing me to introduce her talented wonderwall of extension and strut of sass to our big gay world. I was thrilled they replied so quickly. So glad she supplied the amazing photos, as well. Sadly, few do. I sent the girls an email saying, “Here’s a round of Q/A for you both. They are geared towards JoJo but I will note where Mamma can answer, too.” Here’s what they shared about dancing for Abby Lee Miller, fun out-of-studio time for JoJo and what it felt like shooting reality television. Just love what they both said…
Steven Michael – JoJo, Did you ever get scared or intimidated by the lights or camera?
JoJo Siwa – “No, I loved them!”
I love them to. That will never change. How about Abby Lee Miller? Did you ever feel that she was ever too mean to you? She’s stern and strong with her ways.
“No, Abby was always good to me.”
Mamma, did you ever feel as if Abby was too hard or critical on JoJo?
Jessalynn Siwa - “No, I knew going into the show Abbys teaching techniques.”
Yes, I suppose you know what you’re getting into by working with Abby. Mamma, what attracted you to having JoJo on the show? Was there an audition to go through?
“JoJo dances all day long and watches Dance Moms over and over. I think it’s nearly every dancer’s dream to dance with or for Abby. Yes, there was an audition.”
Growing up and dancing in my day, there were very few studios that train like her girls do on the show. They, of course, were the studios that everyone achieved to be like. It really is what you put into it. How was it working with the other competition moms? Any ones we should watch out for?
“Well, whenever you have dance you have dance moms. (smiling) Crazy moments and super fun moments. Yes! Watch for the ‘TRIANGLE.’”
Oh, that sounds juicy. I can’t wait. JoJo, how much time do you spend dancing a week in class or otherwise? Is being a dancer what you want to so when you grow up?
“I dance around 20 hours a week. I would love to be FAMOUS!!!!”
Darling, you will be famous. Have fun with it and keep grounded. Stay close to Mamma and point those toes. JoJo, who are your idols in the dance world?
“Abby Lee, Rachelle Rak and Richy Jackson.”
Oh, I never would have guessed. (lauhging) Three great choices, nonetheless. Mamma, can you give me a brief bit about where JoJo is from and do you have dance background?
“JoJo and I are from Nebraska. I have been dancing my whole life. I have had a dance studio for 20 years.”
Oh, wow! That’s fierce. I really miss being in a studio. JoJo, that scorpion extension is mind-blowing. When I saw you do it live during the taping I was blown away. How did you learn it and can you teach me?
(smiling) “I would love to teach you but you have to be flexible and have tons of control. That was one of those tricks my mom made me do over and over and now I can do it on a dime.”
Well, it’s phenomenal. What do you enjoy doing when you’re outside the studio? And do you have a lot of friends outside the dance world?
“I love to play the piano and play with my two dogs LuLu and CoCo. I am super social and have tons of friends. We like to swim, have slumber parties, go to the movies and just hang out!”
Sounds very fun! Mamma, how do you feel about Dance Moms and the outrageousness of it?
“Outrageous… nahhhh.” (smiling)
JoJo, I was able to visit with judge Richy Jackson the day I saw the taping live. Did you appreciate what he told you during critiques?
“I absolutely love Richy and took everything he (and the other judges ) said seriously. I loved getting compliments from them!!!”
I was there the Gaga-inspired day and yes they did give you great critique. You’ll have so many people tell you so many different things. Even people will tell you what they think you want to hear. Keep an open mind but also realize it is all so subjective. Especially in performing while being judged. I wish you the best of luck with your career. Mamma, did you ever shy away from the cameras? What was that like being under the lens?
“No, I was never shy. You will see! (smiling) It was fun. An experience of a lifetime!”
And finally, JoJo, can you tell me who wins the competition, please?! I have to know. (laughing)
“Nooooooooooooooo!!!! Ha Ha, I am laughing too!” (both laughing) “Thank you sooooooo much!” Jessalynn and JoJo.
And to my gays… WATCH OUT for this one. JOJO IS DYNAMITE! The new season of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition starts next week on Lifetime TV. Watch for me in episode 2 giving you on-camera audience realness for your nerves. X