Little Mix have come a long way since they won The X Factor in 2011. Eight years later they are still together and perhaps more importantly (at least for them) they are still friends.
But it hasn’t been easy. “We want to just live our lives normally,” says Jesy Nelson in an interview in today’s Independent. “We are going to f**k up sometimes and do silly things. People say, ‘You’re meant to be a role model’. And I’m, like, ‘Well no, I didn’t take on that role actually. You gave that to me.’”
“You can’t un-famous yourself and pop to Tesco to fill up on snacks,” she adds. The entire band worry how the idea of what they call “insta perfection” affects young people today. Especially with shows like Love Island – which they adore – making contestants famous super fast.
“When you’re young, it’s a lot,” continues Nelson. “Particularly when you’re branded a villain. That’s a lot to deal with for someone who never thought of themselves as a bad person. On these shows, you have no control over how people see you.”
It’s a lot of pressure. Nelson herself has talked about how it can affect your mental health, even contributing to a BBC documentary on the subject.
The last couple of months have seen them leave their record label – Simon Cowell’s Syco – and exchange words with Piers Morgan about the video for their last single Strip.
“There we were trying to send out this amazing, inspiring message and these people are saying, ‘Look at them trying to be sexual,’” exclaims Pinnock. “How dare they! We’re there trying to help people and you’re projecting that on to us. I’ve seen countless images of boybands with practically no clothes on and they are celebrated. It’s unfair.”
Now they’re back with a new single, Bounce Back and the desire to stick together.
“No one wants to outshine anyone else,” says Nelson. “And anyway, it’s scary to imagine doing this job alone,” adds Pinnock. “[As a group] we’ve got each other’s backs.”