How Little Mix empower their fanbase to open up and be themselves

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.

BBC Sounds – Life Hacks podcast, where Jade speaks about her battle with Anorexia. (Please take caution when listening as it contains content that some may find upsetting or difficult to listen to.)

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.

A trailer for Jesy’s documentary. You can watch the entire documentary here. (Please note it does contain scenes that some may find upsetting and difficult to watch.)

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.

View this post on Instagram

I’d like to open up about something. Venting your feelings is healthy and I want to be honest with you all. Over the past few years I have suffered really badly with anxiety and panic attacks. When I first started to feel the effects of anxiety I thought I was losing my mind and it terrified me. I felt so alone and like I was the first person in the world to ever experience it. – The first panic attack was so intense and overwhelming I felt like I was having a heart attack, I was so scared and confused and had no idea what was happening to me. I’m not sure what triggered that first one but it soon spiralled & I found myself in a really dark place, feeling alone and scared. I had people around me but I couldn’t explain to them what was happening to me or why. It affected me so badly that I didn’t even want to leave the house. I would step foot out the door and feel the overwhelming need to go straight back inside. It completely took over my life. – I’m happy to say that the physical attacks have stopped but unfortunately the anxiety still lives on. The reality is it probably always will. – I’ve had a relationship with my mind for 25 years now, so to feel it working against me sometimes makes me feel like a prisoner in my own head. It feels like the most unnatural thing in the world but the thing that helped me the most was discovering I’m not alone. I’m not the only person going through this. There are people all over the world feeling the exact same way I do! As soon as I realised I wasn’t going insane I felt more eager to beat it. I had therapy and I surround myself with my loved ones. Talking to someone relieves you of SO MUCH STRESS. I worked out coping mechanism’s and learned what the triggers are so that I can fight the attacks before they take hold. I restricted my time on social media which often made me feel trapped and claustrophobic. I took control of my life and accepted what I couldn’t control. – I don’t want to hide it anymore. I suffer from anxiety and I want you to all know if you suffer from anxiety you’re not alone ♥️

A post shared by Perrie Edwards ✌️🌻 (@perrieedwards) on

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.

Perrie speaking about her experience of dealing with anxiety for Glamour Magazine.

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.

Let us know on Twitter how LittleMix has empowered you!

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