“You can”t sing, you won”t make it”: But X Factor winners Little Mix have the last laugh at their school bullies
They are the first group – let alone girl group – ever to win the X Factor.
But yesterday, all four members of Little Mix admitted they had suffered severe bullying before winning the ITV talent show.
The entire band come from broken homes and said their troubled pasts had spurred them on to try to find stardom on reality TV.
Who”s laughing now Little Mix suffered severe bullying at school – but last night won the coveted X Factor crown when they were announced as this year”s winners
They also hit out at magazines for giving young girls ‘threatening’ and sexualised images of women, revealing they had deliberately chosen to dress in a non-provocative manner for their young fans.
Jesy Nelson, 20, from Romford, Essex, was left devastated by jibes about her weight after being subjected to cruel bullying over the internet during her time on the X Factor.
The curvaceous blonde barmaid, whose father John was jailed in 1986 after being convicted of murder and affray, revealed she nearly quit the show after being called fat and ugly.
She moved schools five times to get away from bullies, and she told the Mail she would not lose weight for fame, saying: ‘I did expect it when I first auditioned for X Factor.
They”re no losers! Little Mix beamed at the cameras as they left their London hotel today
‘When you come into this industry you’re going to get comments and criticism, but it’s not until you actually see it, you think ‘Oh’.
‘It wasn’t nice, it did upset me, I just think I’m so lucky to be in a group, they’re like my three sisters, whenever one of us is down we always pick each other up.
‘I’ve learnt that for every bad comment, there’s 1000 good comments – but that one comment will always stick in your head.
‘You have to embrace who you are, if everyone was the same it would just be boring. I’m not going to be a size six in six months time.’
Her father, 46, was convicted of the killing of amateur boxer Paul Reidy outside a disco in Dagenham before the conviction was overturned and he served a shorter sentence for affray.
Tears: Jesy broke down on the show after she was targeted by bullies who called her fat and made jibes about her weight at the bottom of a video of Little Mix on YouTube
He is now a successful businessman who runs a string of companies including the Nelson’s Garden Centre in Hornchurch, Essex.
But when asked about her father’s past, Jesy said nervously: ‘I don’t really want to talk about it.’
Meanwhile, Leigh-Ann Pinnock added: ‘There’s been times where no-one believed in me. I knew I wanted to be a singer, no-one thought I could ever do, the only people who believed were my family and friends.’
The 20-year-old from High Wycombe had been working as a waitress at Pizza Hut before auditioning for the X Factor, said: ‘I used to get teased at primary school, boys would say I was ugly and as I got older it was ‘you can’t sing, you’ll never make it’, but I kept going.’
Jade Thirlwall, 18, from South Shields, admitted: ‘I used to get bullied, I used to be the school swot and kids threw paper at my head because I was doing better than everyone else.
Bullied: Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwell admitted that they had been picked on when they were at school
‘They’d laugh ‘you’re a swot’, but I’m here now.
‘Thepeople who are like that are people who see you doing well and they don’t like it. It’s the same as Jesy now, they’re seeing her doing well and they think ‘how can I put her down’
‘Iwould sit there, thinking ‘when I leave here with A star grades what are you going to do ‘And I got 15 As and A stars for my GCSEs.’
Leigh-Annesaid the X Factor had brought her divorced parents Debbie and John closer together, adding: ‘I love that my parents have come together for this experience.
‘They wereboth supporting me and coming to watch me on every show, brought them closer as friends, because they weren’t getting on before.’
Girl next door: Perrie Edwards said she believes they are popular because they aren”t threatening to other girls
Perrie Edwards, 18, from Newcastle, whose parents Debbie and Alex are divorced, said their broken families had helped them.
Her father is a rock singer and nearly fronted AC/DC, however he left when Perrie was young.
Duringher time on the show, her step-father Mark Dufty, who married Debbie when Perrie was just four years old, revealed they had split.
Heblamed the X Factor, saying: ‘Since Perrie got on the X Factor we have split up. That was Deb’s decision. Since she has been going backwards and forwards to London for the show and for Perrie she has decided she hasn’t got time for the marriage.’
But the petite blonde insisted: ‘We’re so lucky, no matter what’s happened in our past, our parents are so supportive.’
Busy day: The girls showed no signs of fatigue as they arrived bright and early at the Daybreak studios today
She said the band wanted to sign up to promote an anti-bullying charity, and said: ‘We have lots of young girls on Twitter asking how to cope with being bullied, it’s so nice they want to confide in us and ask for advice. They say “you’re our role models”.”
Perrie said the band were popular because they were not sexy and threatening to other girls.
She added: ‘We look at magazines, turn a page and see a beautiful girl and think ‘why don’t I look like that But it’s not real, what you see is not real.’
Jade, who is naturally a size six, said: ‘A lot of girls are threatened by that. But we’re not a clone of each other, girls can relate to a different girl in the band.’
Making a difference: The girls, seen here during the semi-final show, said lots of their fans have turned to them asking about how to tackle bullies
Perrie, also slender, replied: ‘I think it’s good to look curvy, whatever size you are it’s good, girls come in all shapes and sizes.”
Leigh-Anne said: ‘I don’t have to be skinny, I don’t have to look a certain way to be successful. We’re not perfect and we’ve made it.’
Little Mix, now on course for the number one spot with the single Cannonball, a cover of the Damien Rice hit, have been given backing by X Factor show supremo Simon Cowell.
Perrie said: It’s not always going to be 100 per cent rainbows, butterflies and flowers, there are going to be hard times, but we’ll get by it together.
Jesy said: ‘We loved the Spice Girls and there’s a big gap in the market for a girl group.’
Friends for life: Little Mix were mobbed by their fellow finalists after hearing they had won