During a recent appearance on the “No Country For Young Women” podcast, Jade Thirlwall explained why she “subconsciously” didn’t talk about her race after joining Little Mix on the X Factor in 2011.

“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,” the now 27-year-old admitted. “I think it was through a lack of education as well. Even now, I am constantly learning what the right things are to say and I would hate to talk about my race and my heritage and not say the right things.”

For those who don’t know, Jade’s maternal grandfather is from Yemen, her maternal grandmother is from Egypt and her father is white.

“When I was at school if I was ever bullied for the color of my skin I’d get so confused as I’d be like, well I’m not from Pakistan,” the singer recalled. “I remember one time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead, it was horrific.”

She continued, “When I went to secondary school I was literally one of three people of color in the school. It was a very predominately white Catholic school. I went through a lot in the first two years of secondary school. It was known as a really good school and my mam wanted me to have a really good education. In hindsight I probably would have just rather gone to school were I would fit in more. 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.”

Now, Jade says she’ll look back and think that some of the experiences she went through were “f**king mental.”

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