After winning The X-Factor, Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jesy Nelson started their journey to stardom as Little Mix in 2011. The ambitious girl group has earned 4 number one UK singles, and all of their albums have peaked in the top 5 of UK charts; this is how Little Mix became one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. However, it hasn’t always been a steady road for the band.
In December of 2020, Jesy Nelson announced that she was leaving the outstanding girl group because of her mental health. She took to Instagram to announce the news, and commented, “The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard.” Her decision to leave was a shock to fans but the news about her struggles have been apparent since 2019 when Jesy created a documentary about her mental health and weight struggles. “ I didn’t give a….if the performance was gonna be good all I cared about was people seeing me and going ‘oh she looks good she’s lost weight’ like that’s all I wanted is people to say when they saw the performance and then the next day the first interview that we had the lady came in and she said ‘have you seen what’s been said about you online, Jesy, Katie Hopkins just basically called you fat,” Jesy explained as she talked about one of the group’s performances on X-Factor. Fans and supporters are hoping this time away from the band is giving Jesy the time she needs to heal, and they wish her the best on her next adventures.
During an interview with Glamour Magazine, Jade, Perrie, and Leigh-Anne weighed in on their struggles with being in the spotlight. Perrie has faced her own anxiety, Leigh Anne has faced racism and Jade has struggled with mental health. “….from the beginning, we were the dark horse on The X Factor, and no one expected us to do well,” Jade mentioned about the beginning of their journey as Little Mix. One of the main problems the girls have faced has been sexism and misogyny. Glamour mentioned how Piers Morgan “continuously ripped into them for ‘nudity’ and what they wear.” Additionally, there have been multiple instances where music labels and the men in the music industry would ignore the girls; they would not consider what they had to say and ultimately take them for granted. Another example is how during interviews “The first thing women in the industry get asked about is boyfriends.” It’s clearly seen through this interview that the music industry has a lot of work they need to do to stop sexism.
The girls mentioned how they’ve faced some tough personal life problems and at times they just wanted to stay in bed. However, they had fans they didn’t want to disappoint, and they didn’t want to have a “bad reputation”. Additionally, they had to learn to say “no” as there were times they were people pleasers as they didn’t want to upset anyone.
Nonetheless, the pandemic allowed the girls to figure out what they wanted from the group. Without being able to tour or do much in general, they really had to settle down and discuss what could be next for the group. The girls have noticed even though they are not “codependent” they “heavily relied on each other” this time away was a good break and allowed them to slow down.
Even with their challenges, Little Mix “..grew and became adult women together. It’s impactful, to show others that you can have longevity, you can break barriers, win awards and break records on the back of sticking together and being a force of women.” As the group continues as three members and persevering, Leigh-Anne mentioned the next phase for the girls as “a new dawn of little mix”.