“We want my parents to come to our wedding, we want them to support us, but we’re constantly feeling like we are being judged.”
While convincing her parents to come to her wedding will be a massive undertaking, it’s not the only hurdle that JoJo has faced in her life.
For many years, JoJo has suffered from an unhealthy relationship with food, suffering both anorexia and bulimia at different stages of her life.
“My whole relationship changed with food when I was in Year Seven,” she tells New Idea.
“I started dieting from a really young age and I became quite obsessed with my diet and restricting calories.
“Then, when I was in Year 10,I overindulged one day on Christmas, and that would have been my first episode of bulimia and it really continued from there.”
However, JoJo’s difficult relationship with food really began much earlier. When she was only 6 years old her twin sister died in a drowning accident on Christmas Day, and that’s when she began to overeat.
“I guess subconsciously as a child you really take it on board and I turned to food, not even knowing it, to deal with my emotions,” she says.
“I put on weight, so when I turned 12, that’s when I really started controlling my food.
“Controlling my diet was my way of controlling things in my life.
“I guess it turned more to anorexia in the early stages then it evolved to bulimia from there.”
Like many who suffer from eating disorders, JoJo admits that she became very good at hiding the signs of her bulimia.
“I would say it would have been a good eight years before anyone picked up or realised it,” she reveals.
“But even when they did, no-one realised the extent of it. I moved overseas and worked in the UK when I was 23 and I took [bulimia] with me and I hid it even longer.”
After returning home at 26, it suddenly dawned on JoJo that she had to get help with her eating disorder, but more importantly, she had to address what had started it.
“I watched self-help film The Secret when I was 26 and I think that was a turning point for me,” she says.
“I just wanted to be healthy and have a good relationship with food.”
That’s when she turned to psychotherapy to help her understand the cause of it.
“Through therapy, I discovered it had a lot to do with my sister, with my family, and a lot to do with my relationships, and I had to work through those relationships so that I could heal.”
Of course, it hasn’t always been an easy journey for JoJo, who admits that she has had several relapses since starting her journey to recovery.
“I did lapse through my relationship with my ex, and I experienced a lot of death and I would lapse through that,” she reveals. “It was always when things got tough, especially emotionally – I never understood how to handle it.”
But her breakthrough came when she finally learnt to love herself and found peace with her sexuality – and Jess, 28, helped her find that.
“I have really had to train myself to love myself unconditionally and love, I guess,the parts of myself I hated on my body.
It was a really painful, slow journey. But I think a lot changed for me once I decided to honour myself and accept who I am,” she shares.
“Jess probably being open to my sexuality was the missing piece to my puzzle.”
Indeed, Jess and JoJo are head over heels for each other.
“From the day we met we just knew there was a special bond,” she says.
If you or someone you know needs support, help is available from Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For more, see this week's New Idea - out now!