DUBAI: Girl group Little Mix’s star Jade Thirlwall has opened up about bullying she experienced as a teenager due to her Arab roots.
Speaking on the BBC “No Country For Young Women” podcast, the 2011 “X-Factor” finalist, whose maternal grandfather is Yemeni and maternal grandmother Egyptian, said that she felt “ashamed” of her background.
“When I went to secondary school, I was literally one of three people of color in the school,” the 27-year-old music sensation, whose father is British, said.
“I remember one time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead; it was horrific.
“I have constantly had this inner battle of not really knowing who I am, or where I fit in, or what community I fit into,” she said.
The singer recalled that she would put white powder on her face “to whiten” herself when performing on stage at her school.
After joining Little Mix, she “subconsciously” did not want to talk about her heritage for fear of being disliked.
“I think because I was bullied quite badly in school because of the color of my skin and for being Arab, I wasn’t very proud of who I was,” Thirlwall explained.
“I would hate to talk about my race and heritage and not say the right things,” she added.