JoJo Siwa
JoJo Siwa talked to International Business Times about her YouTube career at Vidcon in Anaheim, California, on June 24, 2017. Rebecka Schumann/International Business Times

JoJo Siwa has gone from reality TV sensation to style icon and now author in just a few short years. In the former “Dance Moms” star’s new book, “JoJo’s Guide to the Sweet Life,” the Nickelodeon and YouTube darling doles out her favorite life tips, shares her plans for the future and even sheds some light on her time spent dancing for the infamous Abby Lee Miller.

Before getting a starring role on “Dance Moms” in 2015, JoJo competed on Season 2 of Abby’s spinoff series on Lifetime, “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition,” an experience which she dishes all about in her book.

JoJo, one of the show’s youngest contests, vividly remembers a compliment Abby gifted her during the first day of shooting. “Meeting Abby for the first time was incredible,” JoJo writes.

After two hours of improvised dancing with the cast, JoJo said Abby recognized her ability to be a professional. “All of a sudden she appeared behind everyone. She was watching us, but we didn’t know it,” JoJo said. From there, the young performer did what no else thought to do, she turned toward Abby and kept dancing.

“My mom heard her say, ‘That little JoJo is the only one with common sense enough to turn around and face me.’ Best tenth birthday present ever, right?”

While JoJo, now 14, only went on to place fifth in the competition series, her star power managed to wow the “Dance Moms” producers enough to earn her an audition. The rest is history.

After briefly putting her life “on hold” waiting to find out if made it onto the show, she finally got the word during a dance competition that in two days time, she would be filming with the ALDC (Abby Lee Dance Company) team in Pittsburgh.

“They said to us, ‘Bring bows! Be yourselves. Be entertaining,’” JoJo recalled. “You know how people say, ‘Everything changed overnight?’ Well, in my case, that was 100 percent true.”

While JoJo, who quit the show in 2016, went on to achieve big things after “Dance Moms,” including scoring an overall talent deal with Nickelodeon, she admits quitting wasn’t easy.

“By the time I left ‘Dance Moms,’ I’d made so many friendships. And I didn’t want to leave anyone behind,” JoJo said, adding she “begged” her mom and co-star Jessalynn Siwa to “go back” so they could say goodbye.

“We still talk constantly, Snapchat, we stay in touch. I’m not talking about just the girls -- they were amazing, but there was a lot of other friendships happening off-screen: crew, makeup, camera people, producers,” she explained.

dance moms cast
JoJo Siwa writes in her book that leaving her friends, who she is pictured with here at Nickelodeon’s 2016 Kids’ Choice Awards, was the hardest part of quitting “Dance Moms.” Getty Images

While JoJo and Jessalyn never returned to the show as part of the ALDC team, they did make a brief appearance during the Season 7 finale to cheer on her former teammates at Nationals.

It’s safe to say with so many projects on her plate, JoJo’s career is on the fast-track. Luckily for her, she’s always three steps ahead.

“When I plan ahead, I don’t just plan what I’m doing tomorrow. I also plan what I’m doing five years from now,” she shared in her book. “When I’m 19, I’ll still be living with my mom, but I’m going to be doing music and acting. I can picture it really vividly.”