The series’ youngest contestant at only 9-years-old, Siwa has since admitted the 2013 experience performing for notoriously hard-nosed dance instructor Abby Lee Miller was a struggle.
“The dances were hard, by the way,” she shared in her 2017 book, JoJo’s Guide to the Sweet Life. “We had only two days to learn each one—and only two hours with the choreographer each day.”
She ultimately placed fifth, but emerged a big winner, her impressive moves (“I am pretty good in rehearsal and then, like, fabulous on stage,” she asserted on the show) and overall state of being extra earning her a guest spot on Miller’s flagship show Dance Moms. She was only supposed to stick around one week, but, as Jessalyn has said, “It’s not her fault she’s a star.”
Seven days turned into two seasons and by the time mother and daughter exited stage left—purportedly annoyed that Siwa was being asked to perform a ballet number—the tiny diva was primed for stardom.
“One of the biggest things that I ever learned from Dance Moms was either to sink or swim,” she shared with Ripa. “Not, like, physically, actually in a swimming pool. But to really just be able to survive and to want it.”