Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall opens up on horrific bullying she faced because of her mixed-race heritage

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall has opened up on “avoiding” discussing her race when she shot to fame with the girl group on the X Factor.

The 27-year-old revealed how she feared opening up on her mixed-race heritage after being cruelly bullied when she was in school.

Jade’s grandfather is from Yemen, while her maternal grandmother is from Egypt.

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Opening up on her school life in South Shields, the singer said: "I think because I was bullied quite badly in school because of the colour of my skin and for being Arab I wasn't very proud of who I was.”

She added to the No Country For Young Women podcast: “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.

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“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.”

Jade also bravely opened up on the vile bullying she faced as a child, explaining: “Where I am from, if you weren't evidently black you were literally put in a bracket of being called the p-word.

She continued: “When I was at school if I was ever bullied for the colour of my skin I'd get so confused as I'd be like, well I'm not from Pakistan.

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“I remember one time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead, it was horrific.”

Jade explained that she felt as if she struggled to fit in during her school years, saying: “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.

“Some of the things I think about that I can laugh about now are just so crazy. I used to be in an amateur operatic society, they would literally put white powder on my face to whiten me on stage.

“Even now me and my mum will talk about it and we'll be like, 'That was f****** mental'. We never really understood what was going on at the time.”

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