Do a quick sweep through pop star legend JoJo’s Instagram and count the ratio between makeup-free selfies and fully-glam looks. Pardon my math, but that percentage looks pretty 50/50 to me, and it's one of the many reasons to fall in love with this no-nonsense girl from Massachusetts. Whether it’s a post about boob sweat, or a picture exclaiming affection for her mom, you can tell JoJo is unapologetically confident and isn’t afraid to show the world her true self (underneath the makeup and the fame) — and chatting with my former teen idol two weeks ago only confirmed that.
I was given the opportunity to interview JoJo before her performance at the Colgate Total event (she’s teamed up with the brand for their new launch), and the 12-year-old in me basically cried with excitement. Her vocals, vibe, and attitude are attributes about her that I’ve admired for 15 years, and it was JoJo who made me truly consider pursuing a career in music. The woman has a damn voice, and I’m almost positive I’ve replayed her first song, “Leave (Get Out)” close to 1,000 times since its release in 2004.
13-year-old JoJo had a hard outer shell and wouldn’t let anyone knock her down. The 28-year-old JoJo I met had characteristics of her younger self, but I could tell how much she’s matured since then.
“I feel a lot more confident in my creativity and I find strength in vulnerability, whereas ten years ago I was a teenager and felt like I needed to be perfect, strong, or infallible,” JoJo told me. “Now, what’s most important to me is being authentic.”
JoJo's authenticity has continuously carried over into her overall aesthetic now. Old pictures of JoJo show a fresh baby face with natural-looking makeup and a sweet smile. The JoJo I met unapologetically rocked extra-glittery lids, false lashes, and a bright red lip that screamed "bold." It seems, now, she knows exactly what she likes and what makes her feel the most confident — and that includes what she's putting on her face.
When opting for a full face of makeup, JoJo reaches for the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick ($87, Sephora), which promises full coverage, but with a lightweight, natural-looking finish. In terms of skincare, JoJo gushes over KLUR Skincare — a clean beauty brand dedicated to treating a diverse set of skin concerns — to keep her skin healthy and clear. “It’s this dermatologist’s brand in LA, and I’ve been seeing her for a long time,” she tells me. “She makes her own products and they’re so amazing.”
Caring for her skin is a top priority for JoJo, but another habit that's helped her feel confident and unapologetic in her aesthetic is maintaining the health of her teeth, too. This habit, however, is one she's carried with her for a long time. “My mom has made me an oral hygiene fanatic because she brushes her teeth multiple times a day,” says JoJo. “I remember being on the bus for my first tour, and my mom said, ‘Joanna, don’t forget to brush your teeth every time you eat.’”
It’s thanks to Colgate, JoJo tells me, that she’s never had a cavity. “This is a product I use every day anyway, so it felt super organic for me to partner up with them and launch this new version of Colgate Total,” she explains.
The new formula, which uses stannous fluoride to not only clean teeth and prevent cavities, but also to combat gingivitis and sensitivity, is another one of JoJo’s go-tos. “I always want my breath to stay fresh, because even as cute and put-together as I feel that I may look, if my breath isn’t right, I have no confidence,” she says.
Well, fresh breath or not, I’d never be able to tell whether JoJo was feeling less than 100 percent. Of course, we all feel that way sometimes, but she has, and always will be, “Not That Kinda Girl” in my mind.