Perrie Edwards has opened up about her journey to finding self-confidence after "internalising" criticism from school bullies in younger years.
Now a shining star with 17.4 million Instagram followers, the Little Mix singer once "hated" her freckles so much she asked her mum for an acid peel to get rid of them.
"When I was younger, I was a little bit insecure," the 29 year old told Grazia.
"I hated my freckles, I was always quite poorly and anaemic so I had dark circles under my eyes, I was really malnourished and skinny, and I had a big scar on my stomach from surgeries. I just hated everything."
It was the nasty comments she received about her looks that affected her the most.
"People used to bully me, and I think it was something that I internalised," Edwards explained. "Everyone was criticising me, and that made me criticise myself."
This was what led her to want to change one of her most defining features. "I asked my mum if I could have an acid peel to get rid of my freckles," she recalled.
But, now she's learning to put herself before what others think of her. "I think confidence and self-empowerment comes with age, you learn not to care about what other people think," she said.
This includes embracing the very thing she once wanted to disappear, baring them whenever she posts holiday photos on Instagram.
In one series of sun-kissed naps she posted in December abroad with baby Axel, born in August 2021, and footballer fiancé Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock commented, "Your freckles mannn [sic]" with love-heart-eye emojis. This was echoed by fans, including one who wrote, "your [sic] freckles are so pretty".
In 2018, Edwards shared that it wasn't long before then that she stopped trying to hide them. "Growing up I was always insecure about the freckles on my face," she wrote on Instagram. "Over the last couple of years I’ve started to embrace them and don’t feel I need to hide them anymore. 'Embrace your individuality. Love what you love without worrying about judgement'."
With Little Mix taking a break, Edwards is juggling working on her solo career, her inclusive fashion brand Disora, being a new mum and planning her wedding to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who she became engaged to in June 2022.
"There’s so much going on right now," she told Grazia. "I’m in the studio, whilst also having my fiancé being like, 'When are we going to start planning the wedding?'
"Again, it’s like starting the business [Disora]! Where do you even start with a wedding? It’s a lot. We spoke about it whilst we were on holiday, and I’ve got a really good idea of what I want now."
Watch: Perrie Edwards announces engagement to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain