For most of us TikTok is a fun place to kill hours of time, but for JoJo Siwa the popular social media app is so much more than cat videos and viral trends.
"Just getting social media for me, it actually gave me a safe space when I came out," she said of posting a clip of herself singing along to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" in 2021. Just 17 at the time, JoJo "knew that even if everyone around me didn't support me that there was gonna be people online that did."
She added, "And I knew that I was gonna find those people and I was really excited about that. I always told myself it was gonna be easier to come out online than it was in person. And I do believe that's very true."
But the 20-year-old has also used the app as a creative outlet.
"I've never talked about this before, but social media is an art," she explained. "And a lot of times people dog on influencers and nag on influencers saying that anyone could do it."
However, JoJo couldn't disagree more. "That's not true social media," she said. "It really is an art."
And these days, the TikToker has found her footing in the online space, acknowledging that "there's something that you just have to understand about it."
"It's been fun to be able to figure out what ways I get to be a part of that," JoJo continued. "You know what I mean? How I fit into the piece of the puzzle there."
But along with her online community, JoJo also credited some influential members of the LGBTQ+ community for inspiring her long the way, including Elton John, who she works closely with to raise money for The Rocket Fund, a campaign through his AIDS Foundation, which aims to prevent HIV infections and reduce stigmas.
Also on the list: "superstar ally" Lady Gaga, she continued, "Miley Cyrus is a freaking icon till the day I die. Freddie Mercury has taught me a lot. Freddie Mercury has gotten me through a lot of my insecurities. And he's not even alive here. He's fixed my brain."
And having gleaned so much inspiration from them, she now has her own advice for others in the LGBTQ+ community.
"Be yourself," she urged. "You have to know that you're always changing. You're always growing. You're always evolving. Never, ever put yourself in a box. And never ever limit yourself."