Jade Thirlwall, a member of the popular girl group Little Mix, has opened up about the “horrific” bullying she experienced during her teenage years.

The 27-year-old British singer, whose maternal grandmother is Egyptian and maternal grandfather is Yemeni, revealed on the BBC’s No Country For Young Women podcast she was bullied due to her Arab heritage.

“When I went to secondary school, I was literally one of three people of colour in the school,” she recalled. “I remember one time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead; it was horrific.”

So much so, when the singer rose to stardom on The X Factor in 2011 along with her Little Mix bandmates – Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock – she avoided discussing the fact she was mixed race in the public domain.


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“I think when I then entered the group, I subconsciously didn’t want to talk about my heritage or what my background was in fear of not being as popular,” she admitted. “Which sounds awful to say, but I was only 18-years-old and through years of being ashamed of who I was, I found it quite hard to talk about it.”

This resulted the singer, who won The X-Factor along with her bandmates nearly a decade ago, to feel “ashamed” of her background, causing her to have an “inner battle” with herself.

Even now, nine years after winning the hit singing competition, the star admits she has a constant “inner battle” with herself.

“I have constantly had this inner battle of not really having who I am or where I fit in or what community I fit into,” Thirlwall said.

She also added, “Even now I am constantly learning what the right things are to say and I would hate to talk about my race and my heritage and not say the right things.”

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Feature Image: Jade Thirlwall Instagram