FILE PHOTO: 2019 Kids Choice Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, U.S.

YouTuber JoJo Siwa will join Dancing With the Stars next month as part of the first same-sex couple on the show, producers said on Thursday. Siwa, 18, who earlier this year said she was pansexual, will be paired with a female professional dancer when the show launches its 30th season in September.

It will be the first time the U.S. version of the dance show features people of the same sex dancing together and follows the first celebrity same-sex couple on the British version, “Strictly Come Dancing,” in 2020.

“I think it’s cool. I think it breaks a wall that’s never been done before,” Siwa told television reporters after the announcement. “I think it’s really special that I get to share with the world that you can love who you love, but now you can dance with who you want to dance with.”

Of course, Siwa acknowledges that there will be plenty of criticism that comes with the pairing, but she seems to be ready for the challenge. “There [are] a lot of barriers that we’re going to have to break through,” she said. “Who leads? How do you dress? What shoes do you wear? But I think it’s all something that I’m looking forward to.”

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Known for her over-the-top personality and appearance, Siwa quickly rose to fame after appearing on Dance Moms and is now a popular internet personality, especially among the young crowd. Siwa has more than 12 million subscribers to her “Its JoJo Siwa” YouTube channel and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2020.

After coming out as part of the LGBTQ+ community in January, during which she received an overwhelming amount of support as well as backlash, she said: “The world is the world to me. No matter what, 50 percent of people are going to like you and 50 percent are going to hate you, but I need the 10 people around me to like me.”

Siwa’s DWTS partner has not yet been announced. U.S. Olympic gymnast Suni Lee, 18, will also join the new cast in September, producers of the ABC television show said.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio)

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