JoJo Siwa Says HSMTMTS Queer Role Was 'Really Special:' 'Never Played a Gay Character'

·2 min read
JOJO SIWA, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - "Camp Prom"
JOJO SIWA, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - "Camp Prom"

Anne Marie Fox/Disney

JoJo Siwa is speaking on the importance of representation.

The So You Think You Can Dance judge has stepped into a new role on season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series — and it aligns with who she is today.

Siwa, 19, spoke of her character, Madison, who is gay. "I've never played a gay character — besides myself, and I'm not a character, I'm just myself, but that's that's how it looks to the world," Siwa told Entertainment Weekly.

"But this is so straightforward: Madison is a queer human. I think it's really special getting to know that kids are going to watch this and not be like, 'She's queer? What's that?' They're going to be like, 'She's queer. Cool.' I love that the next generation just kind of [moves past] it vs. it being a weird thing."

RELATED: JoJo Siwa Opens Up About Coming Out as LGBTQ: 'The First Time That I've Felt So Personally Happy'

JULIA LESTER, SOFIA WYLIE, MATT CORNETT, JOE SERAFINI, JOJO SIWA, FRANKIE RODRIGUEZ, DARA RENEÉ, JASON HANCOCK, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - “Camp Prom“
JULIA LESTER, SOFIA WYLIE, MATT CORNETT, JOE SERAFINI, JOJO SIWA, FRANKIE RODRIGUEZ, DARA RENEÉ, JASON HANCOCK, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - “Camp Prom“

Anne Marie Fox/Disney

Siwa grew up a fan of the original High School Musical films and committed to the project before she knew much detail about her character, including her sexuality. Now Siwa compares the role to what she saw in the media during her childhood.

"I think it would have made me realize that it's okay a lot younger. It's normal," she said of having more diversity in characters. "It took me a while to really be comfortable with that. I didn't really realize that it's okay until I was like 17. I didn't really realize that it was okay — I always thought with other people it was okay."

RELATED: JoJo Siwa on Making DWTS History with Same-Sex Partner: 'There's Nothing That I Would Rather Do'

JOJO SIWA, SAYLOR BELL CURDA, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - “Camp Prom“
JOJO SIWA, SAYLOR BELL CURDA, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - “Camp Prom“

Anne Marie Fox/Disney

This isn't the first time Siwa has used her platform to expand the boundaries of LGBTQ+ representation. The Dance Moms alum came out on social media in January 2021. In a cover interview with PEOPLE, she spoke about her decision not to fully define her sexuality.

"But like, I don't know, bisexual, pansexual, queer, lesbian, gay, straight. I always just say gay because it just kind of covers it or queer because I think the keyword is cool," she said.

"I like queer," she adds. "Technically I would say that I am pansexual because that's how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

In fall 2021, Siwa made history on Dancing with the Stars as the first female contestant to dance with another female partner: Jenna Johnson.