Jojo Siwa couldn't be happier to be living her truth. The 17-year-old YouTube and Nickelodeon megastar came out as LGBTQ in January and appears on the cover of the April 19, 2021 issue of PEOPLE magazine, the internet sensation got candid about her decision to come out and how her life has changed since.
Siwa told the outlet that despite having only just shared her truth with the world, she has "known since I was little" that she was part of the LGBTQ community and she knew that in coming out, she had "a lot that could have gone away." Siwa shared her truth earlier this year over a series of posts on TikTok and Instagram lipsyncing to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" in one video and wearing a "BEST GAY COUSIN EVER" t-shirt in another. While Siwa said she "never wanted [my coming out] to be a big deal," her January posts immediately led to thousands of comments on social media.
"I've never gotten this much support from the world," Siwa said. "I think this is the first time that I've felt so personally happy. Performing has always made me super happy. But for the first time, personally, I am like, whoa, happiness. I am so proud to be me."
Not all of the reactions have been so positive, though, and the young star said that after she came out, Googled herself, something she admitted she "never should have done that. I was thinking that all the comments were going to be nice and supportive, and they weren't." Siwa said a lot of the comments were people saying, "'I'm never buying your merch again. My daughter's never watching you again.'" While she "couldn't sleep for three days" after reading the comments, the 17-year-old found clarity, realizing, "I don't want people to watch my videos or buy my merchandise if they aren't going to support not only me, but the LGBTQ community."
Siwa, who is dating girlfriend Kylie Prew, is now continuing to happily live her truth in the spotlight, though she is still figuring out her sexuality. While she didn’t initially want to put a "label" on it, she told PEOPLE, "I like queer. Technically I would say that I am pansexual because that's how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human." Siwa added that amid her coming out, she has "never gotten this much support from the world. I think this is the first time that I've felt so personally happy." Although performing has always made her happy, she said that "for the first time, personally, I am like, whoa, happiness. I am so proud to be me."