JoJo insists she's just a normal girl, but she's certainly not an average one.
While filming her latest video this past week in Los Angeles, the teen pop star was making last-minute plans for her upcoming two-and-a-half-month stay in Australia to film her first movie, for which she leaves on Wednesday (February 9). "I'm not even packed yet!" she exclaimed. "And I have too much to pack. I want to pack my record plaques, but my mom was like, 'They're too big!' And there's too many."
The only things JoJo knew for sure she'd be taking on her first trip Down Under were her mom and her tutor, so that she can have a bit of normalcy. But like her final scenes in the "Not That Kinda Girl" video, where she downscales from being a glamour puss to just wearing a hoodie and playing with her iPod, she won't need to take too much to make her happy (see "JoJo Unfazed By Trappings Of Fame (In New Video, Anyway)"). Let that be a lesson to any guys who try to woo her, she says.
"It's the little things, like if you knew what kind of flowers I like," she said, adding quickly, "I like daffodils."
"If a guy is trying to talk to me, you have to be confident in yourself. And I know it's so hard to know who you are when you're young, but you need to at least be trying to find out who you are, and want to do something with your life besides stay at home, go to school or play basketball."
That might seem intimidating given JoJo's goals — becoming a film star on top of being a pop star. But, she insists, "I'm certainly not Lindsay Lohan, where everywhere I go, there's a camera in my face." And she plans to stay grounded and in control. That's why she had "100 percent say" in making the video for "Not That Kinda Girl." "I wrote the treatment. I sent it to them. And they just elaborated," JoJo said. "It's very important to me that I'm part of the creative process. I just can't be put out there and not know what's going on."
|Click for photos from JoJo's "Not That Kinda Girl" video shoot|
That's also why she was so particular about choosing her first film. Most of the scripts her agent sent to her, she said, were "real cheesy," until she read the one for "Aquamarine." She immediately liked the script, based on Alice Hoffman's novel, that the director (Elizabeth Allen) would be female, and that her co-star would be Emma Roberts (Julia Roberts' niece). JoJo started talking to Emma about the characters they would be playing — two best friends who find a mermaid and must find a way to get her back to the sea — and they became fast friends themselves (see "JoJo Says She's 'Not That Kind Of Girl,' Wants Dr. Dre For Next Album"). JoJo's character, Hailey, is the tougher of the two.
"She's very insecure," JoJo said, "so she releases that by cussing and wearing baggy clothes and pulling her hair back and being ready to fight anybody. But it's really about the two of them, two best friends, trying to stay together. [My character] is moving away because my mom got a job so I need to move with her. It's a real coming-of-age movie. And it's going to be beautiful and fantastical too."
Though JoJo doesn't relate to her character as far as confidence goes, she's beginning to grasp Hailey's emotional arc, now that she's moving away herself. She's crossing her fingers that some of her friends will make the trek to come visit her in Australia, because she's now realizing what accepting this film role means.
"I thought shooting a music video was long," she said. "No. Shooting a movie for two and a half months? That's long."