Interview of JoJo by Sophie van Bastelaer


Hey JoJo, how are you?

I’m well, thanks!

How old are you?


Where do you call home?

Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I’m a circus performing photographer who wants to be a neuroscientist, travel the world, and live by the ocean. I love the sound that straws make when you unbend them, and enjoy daydreaming about summer and drinking tea.

What are you passionate about?

Photography, circus performing, traveling, learning, and tea.

What is your favourite subject at school?

Spanish, English, and art.

What do you wish they taught at school?

How to cook.

Have you travelled much? If so, where?

My family goes on one big trip a year that we call our “culture shock trip.” I’ve been to Turkey, Italy, Bhutan, India, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Israel, Morocco, the Dominican Republic, and this year we’re going to Bali and Hong Kong. Each place we go to has a new religion, culture, and history that my family and I enjoy learning about and exploring during our visit. It’s always a great photography opportunity, too!

If you could go anywhere in the world today, where would it be?

Somewhere warm and tropical with a lot of adventures awaiting. Maybe the Philippines or Myanmar, or the Maldives. I’d definitely want to swim in the ocean, surf, and hike to ancient temples. I’ve also been dying to go to some of the Greek islands.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I would want to fly because I could go places quickly and see everything from above, and never be stuck in traffic.

Where do you go to relax?

The beach and the ocean.

What do you love about being a girl?

I love when girls do things that are traditionally “male.” There’s nothing better than being a girl and being surrounded by other girls who aspire to be doctors, scientists, and lawyers. You rarely see guys as nurses and caretakers, but you always see girls stepping into historically male careers. On a lighter note, I like that I can use clothing and makeup to express my personality and style.

What do you find hard about being a girl?

The expectation to always look good. Frankly, it’s unfair that guys can show up at school wearing the same dirty sweatpants with a stain on them for three days in a row, but I can’t go to school without makeup or jewelry without someone questioning if I’m okay. Some days I’m tired and I don’t feel like wearing skinny jeans, but I know that someone is going to have something to say about it if I don’t. Why is it that how I’m dressed has to reflect my mood? Just because it’s a lazy day doesn’t mean I’m having the worst day of my life. Also, period cramps. That’s the worst.

If you could change the way society depicts girls and women, what would you change?

I would change the stereotype that women need to be “rescued” or taken care of by a man, and that in order to be “rescued,” she needs to be perfect, skinny, beautiful, and submissive. That’s all dumb. I can save myself, thank you very much!

What is your favourite colour?

Burgundy or maroon.

What is your favourite book?

A Mango Shaped Space. I read it for the first time in 6th grade, and nothing has managed to top it since then. This book basically has and will continue to shape my interests, my future, and hopefully my career. Even though it’s technically a young adult book, I highly recommend it no matter your age.

What is your favourite movie?

I really love Bridesmaids. No one has made a funnier movie since that one came out. They’ve tried and they’ve failed. It’s just so good, and it never gets old. I laugh each time as if I didn’t know every line by heart.

What are five things that fascinate you?

Basically everything about the brain, language, mummification, the ocean, and outer space.

Any final words of advice?

It’s all smoke and mirrors, folks. The way you put yourself out there is how others will see you.



Sophie van Bastelaer

Sophie is a Beligian-American expat currently living in Toronto. Some of her favourite things include rain, TV shows that make her cry, other people’s birthdays, and baking chocolate chip cookies. Find her on Instagram @sophie_rose_vb and Twitter @svanbastelaer and tell her your stories.

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