JoJo Siwa revisited a resurfaced clip from the reality show Dance Moms in a TikTok video that had fans reeling in the comments. Siwa and her mom, Jessalynn, were on the show for two seasons starting in 2014.
Siwa was 9 years old when she competed in the second season of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition with choreographer Abby Lee Miller. Miller had started the reality series Dance Moms, which chronicled child dancers at Miller’s dance school. The show, which aired on Lifetime, showed Miller in a less-than-ideal light, as she became known for her strict and occasionally problematic teaching methods.
Siwa was on only two seasons of Dance Moms before subsequently launching her own YouTube series and starring in a Nickelodeon series. Now 19, she currently has an estimated net worth of $20 million, with over 12 million YouTube subscribers and 45 million TikTok followers.
Miller pleaded guilty to felony bankruptcy fraud in June 2016 and was sentenced to one year in federal prison. She continued filming Dance Moms through 2019, but the future of the show seems uncertain.
Despite the accomplishments Siwa has accumulated in recent years — being part of Dancing With the Stars’ first same-sex pairing and coming in second; being included in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2020 — her humble beginnings as a dancer on Dance Moms still resurface every once in a while.
Recently, Siwa responded to a clip from the series on TikTok that reminded fans of how far she’s come.
“I asked each of you to do a homework assignment,” Miller says in the clip. “I wanted you to write about JoJo — reasons she should not be part of the Abby Lee Dance Company.”
As younger Siwa wiped tears from her face as her castmates listed what they thought was “wrong” with her, Miller kept going.
“You’re lucky to even be a guest here at the [dance company],” she says. “If you’re so good you don’t really need to be a part of the Abby Lee Dance Company.”
In the TikTok duet, Siwa mostly smiled and shook her head at the clips — even mouthing along with Miller telling her that she “deserved nothing” when she was 9 years old.
“When people hate to try and hurt me but this was my childhood…” she wrote in the video text overlay.
“The trauma…” one commenter wrote. “its so unfair how this show was cruel.”
In 2012, AV Club reported that Dance Moms, which had moved to Lifetime, was drawing more than 2 million viewers a week. This made it one of the most-watched reality shows on basic cable. Miller has said in multiple interviews, including a 2011 one with Reality TV World, that production has much more influence over what she says or does while filming.
This isn’t the first time Siwa has referenced her time on Dance Moms as being less than stellar. In a July 2022 TikTok, she explained that the balding spot along her hairline wasn’t from her signature ponytail look, but from a stress rash she developed while being on the show.
Siwa is one of many child reality TV stars who have grown up and recognized that the spotlight that was put on them at such a young age has had a lasting impact.
Collin Gosselin, who was one of the eight children starring on Jon & Kate Plus 8 told Entertainment Tonight in November 2022 that the show “tore [the family] apart.”
Collin, now 18, was one of the sextuplets on the show. He has not spoken to four of his other sextuplets or his older twin sisters in years. He also added that he does not have a relationship with his mom.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “I think every son wants to have a relationship with their mom. But I’m doing very well.”
Jinger Duggar Vuolo, one of the children featured on 19 Kids and Counting, recently spoke out against the show giving a platform for her parents’ religious beliefs. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a strict nondenominational Christian organization. Jinger’s brother, Josh Duggar, was found guilty of receiving and possessing child pornography in December 2021.
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