People

Jesy Nelson: Little Mix star opens up about mental health issues and suicide attempt in new documentary

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
Jesy Nelson from Little Mix cutout against yellow background,

Jesy Nelson has opened up about her experience of incessant bullying at the hands of internet trolls after Little Mix’s X Factor win. 

Ever since their X Factor win in 2011, Little Mix have become synonymous with their unforgiving “girl power” stance.

Take their last album, LM5, for example. From the body positive Strip to the sex positive Love a Girl Right, there’s a sense of feminist empowerment laced through every aspect of Little Mix’s image. And while for most of their careers this angle has been spearheaded by the band’s members, it hasn’t always been such a positive thing.

In a new interview with The Guardian, Jesy Nelson has opened up about how the band’s unrelenting girl power stance led her to feel trapped in her role as a “strong woman” – when, in reality, she was struggling with her mental health after years of vicious trolling. 

You may also like

Jesy Nelson has an important message for every woman battling self-hatred

It all started after Little Mix’s first performance on the X Factor live shows, when Nelson caught sight of the harsh criticism about her looks which was spreading throughout the comments section on YouTube. When a member of the X Factor production team found her crying about the comments late at night, they asked her to speak about it on camera. She didn’t want to do it.

“They told me it wasn’t recorded, and it was,” she tells The Guardian.

From then, Nelson explains, her role within the band was that of the “strong woman,” someone fighting back against all odds to beat the trolls: but while she was providing interviews about being strong and body confident, she was struggling with mental health issues which she then felt pressured to hide.

Little Mix
Jesy Nelson opens up about mental health struggles: Nelson alongside her band members at this year's Brit awards.

“Our schedule was so gruelling. I was going to see a therapist at six o’clock in the morning, crying, and then going to a photoshoot,” she explains.

“I felt I had to be this person who was like… ‘I don’t care what people are saying about me, I’m this strong woman.’ That was the role I had to take on in the group, when really I was an absolute mess.”

As her mental health issues worsened under the intense pressure and the continued trolling, Nelson attempted suicide: “I felt that I physically couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore.”

You may also like

Jesy Nelson is to explore body image and mental health in new documentary

Now, recovering with the help of continued therapy, Nelson is sharing her story in new BBC One documentary Odd One Out, which will detail her struggles behind the scenes as the band rose to fame.

Instead of being forced to hide her problems and feeling too ashamed to seek help, Nelson is redefining her role in the band.

Just last month, Nelson opened up about her body image issues and her journey to self-love in an incredibly moving Instagram post. 

“Six months ago this girl was someone I just wanted to forget,” Nelson wrote beneath a picture of herself from 2011. “I wanted to erase her from my mind and everyone else’s memory. I didn’t see her as Jesy I saw her as ‘the fat one from Little Mix’. Up until now I hated her not because she’d ever done anything bad but because I was made to hate her by endless amounts of trolling.

“Since filming my documentary for BBC and BBC Three I’ve learned so much more than I ever expected to. Thanks to all the inspirational people I’ve met on this emotional journey, I now love the girl in this photo. I’ve made this documentary for 2011 Jesy and for anyone who might be feeling like she did.”

Don’t miss out: sign up to the Stylist Daily email for a curated edit of brilliant content every day

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

Images: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Author

Lauren Geall

Recommended by Lauren Geall

Opinion

Why Little Mix are the feminist icons we need right now

It’s time to embrace the true girl power of this quartet.

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published
Life

Little Mix’s comments about being told to “flirt with men” for their careers are a wake-up call

Sexism is still a huge problem in the music industry, and these women have had enough of it.

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
Published
People

Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall opens up about anorexia battle

“I just wanted to waste away and disappear”

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Little Mix’s Leigh Anne gets emotional as she reveals she used to search out online abuse

But the singer says she’s so much stronger now

Posted by
Sarah Shaffi
Published
People

The truth behind Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and that 2019 Brit Awards eye-roll

Jade Thirlwall was caught rolling her eyes on camera at the 2019 Brit Awards – and for good reason.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published