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