Little Mix has come a long way since the early days of their career on the X-Factor. Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards all auditioned for the popular TV show back in 2011 as solo artists, and much like One Direction the year before them were put together as a girl band. They went on to win the show.
As the band established themselves they began to use their ever growing platform to speak up on issues they knew from meeting fans and interacting on social media affected them. Candidly opening up and sharing their own personal stories with their fanbase to connect with them more, and ensure that their fans did not feel alone or unheard no matter what they were going through.
Jade has been open about her struggle with an eating disorder as a teenager and how it very nearly killed her. Her story is one which fans of the band can take hope and positivity from if they too are struggling.
She is also one of the most passionate and supportive advocates for Stonewall, which campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain.
Jade also supports a local charity back in her hometown of South Shields called Cancer Connexions, which helps people with their illness and their families. It’s a charity extremely close to her heart as they have helped her own family. She regularly fundraises for them, including selling her clothes, with the proceeds going to the charity.
Last year Jesy teamed up with BBC Three to produce an award-winning documentary Jesy Nelson: The Odd One Out. It is one of the most powerful documentaries to produced in recent years. It’s an unflinching and deeply moving look at the effects cyberbullying and trolling have on people’s mental health.
Throughout her time on the X-Factor and as the band was just finding their feet as artists, Jesy was subject to some of the vilest and most sickening abuse online about her appearance. It became so bad Jesy attempted to take her own life.
Jesy opening up about her suffering and how it made her feel, while heartbreaking, again much like Jade, is an empowering move, that shows fans they are not alone and can get through things if they reach out. Jesy’s documentary also sparked an extremely important and ongoing debate about tackling cyberbullying and trolling online, holding those who partake in it responsible for the words they write.
Similarly Perrie has been incredibly open about the crippling effects anxiety have had on her in the past.
In a post on her Insta, which was intensely personal but extremely informative to fans, she spoke of how she felt and how aware she was that many others have felt and still feel the way she does. She spoke of how she’d found coping mechanisms and learnt what triggered her. One of the things she said helped her was limiting her time on social media.
While the post was Perrie revealing something she’d kept hidden and struggled with privately for years, for fans who have struggled with or were still struggling, the post was a form of validation and a powerful message that what they were feeling others do to, and that they are not alone.
Leigh -Anne has also spoken up about being the target of online racism. She spoke up about how it made her feel in an interview with Glamour Magazine, she told them she would actively search out what people were saying about her.
It’s so important to speak up on these issues because the more people that do, the more change is going to happen. I have got the most incredible fan base who pick me up and we do it for them. This is why we do what we do. They are our fans and they are the best.Leigh-Anne talking to Glamour Magazine in 2019
She went on to detail how the comments she would read which were extremely horrible would make her cry. But how she eventually became comfortable with herself. Self-love and acceptance is something all the ladies in the band promote and empower their fanbase to adopt for themselves.
While in Brazil recently, Leigh-Anne was visibly moved to tears by comments made by one the bands fans who told her ” she’s so important for black community and that she represents all of them and that they loved her’.”
Reactions like this highlight just how receptive and open Little Mix‘s fans are to the ladies opening up and using their platforms to discuss and talk about subjects that many of them can relate to.
Little Mix are not just a girl band. They are four incredibly socially aware individuals who see and hear the struggles their fans face. Who individually and collectively use their platforms to advocate and help as many people as possible, while encouraging their fans to speak up and talk about issues they are going through.
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