Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall reveals being bullied and says she feared mixed race heritage would make her less popular

South Shields Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall has spoken of the bullying she endured as a youngster because of her mixed race background.
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And she said she refused to talk about her heritage after joining the band because she ‘subconsciously’ feared ‘not being as popular’.

Mum Norma’s father is from Yemen and her mother from Egypt, while Jade’s dad James is white.

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The 27-year-old told the No Country For Young Women podcast she had felt ‘ashamed’ of her background but now realised she had been uneducated about race issues.

Jade ThirlwallJade Thirlwall
Jade Thirlwall

"I think because I was bullied quite badly in school because of the colour of my skin and for being Arab. I wasn't very proud of who I was,” she said.

"Where I am from, if you weren't evidently black you were literally put in a bracket of being called the p-word. When I was at school if I was ever bullied for the colour of my skin I'd get so confused as I'd be like, well I'm not from Pakistan.

"I remember one time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead, it was horrific.”

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Jade added: "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, 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.

Norma ThirlwallNorma Thirlwall
Norma Thirlwall

"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. I used to be in an amateur operatic society, they would literally put white powder on my face to whiten me on stage.

"Even now I am constantly learning what the right things are to say. I would hate to talk about my race and my heritage and not say the right things."

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