Coming a long way! Leigh-Anne Pinnock auditioned for U.K.’s The X Factor in 2011 as a solo artist before she was put in the girl group Little Mix alongside Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson (who has since departed from the band).

Along with her bandmates, the songstress has released a total of six records thus far — DNA, Salute, Get Weird, Glory Days, LM5 and Confetti. She also released the documentary Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop and Power in May 2021. Using her platform and large following, Leigh-Anne has been vocal about the topic of race, often speaking out about her experience as the only Black member of Little Mix.

During a June 2020 Instagram video, the “Wings” songstress recalled being told that she needed to “work 10 times harder and longer to mark my place in the group because my talent alone isn’t enough.”

“More than ever I felt like it was time that I was completely open and honest with you all because finally, the world is awake and people want to listen, help and understand,” Leigh-Anne captioned the clip. “I’m doing it because enough is enough and hopefully from sharing this we can all do more to understand the racism that takes place.”

Prior to her documentary’s release, Leigh-Anne explained to The Guardian why she ultimately decided to share her experiences with fans and speak out about race issues.

“I really wanted people to see that just because I’m successful doesn’t mean I’m not going to be affected by racism,” the singer explained in May 2021. “I sing to fans who don’t see me or hear me or cheer me on. My reality is feeling anxious before fan events or signings because I always feel like I’m the least favored.”

In the same interview, Leigh-Anne explained that even though she’s still part of Little Mix, the girls are supportive about her endeavors, which includes a budding acting career, a swimsuit line and life as a mom (she and Andre Gray welcomed twins in August 2021).

“That’s who we’ve always been,” Leigh-Anne told The Guardian. “So it makes sense that now that we’re a lot more grown up, a lot more educated, that we all individually have things we stand for. I’m just excited to let people see Leigh-Anne, and not just the girl from Little Mix, y’know?”

Click through our gallery to see Leigh-Anne’s total transformation over the years, from X Factor alum to new mom. 

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