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Jesy Nelson, 29, blasted X Factor for not checking up on their contestant’s mental health after the show, admitting she felt like “no one cared” about how they were coping with being thrown into the spotlight. Having won the 2011 series, the girls were young and eager, ready to become the next global superstars. But the sudden change from their normal lives to that of pop sensations was something that took some getting used to and looking back, they noted there was a lack of support from those in the business.
I personally don’t feel like there was anyone who cared
In a recent interview, the girls recalled the aftermath of their big win, as they became the first girlband to walk away victorious and claim the X Factor title.
From that moment on, their lives as they once knew it changed forever and they weren’t quite prepared for the demanding schedule.
“I just remember being taken into a room and being given our schedule for the next year and we were like, ‘Sorry, what?'” Jesy remembered.
“It was like your life was taken away. Not that we are complaining about that, but you do get thrown into it without a second to think about anything, which can be a lot to deal with.”
With their experience of the music industry and reality TV shows, Little Mix debut their own series The Search, that begins this Saturday, and Jesy noted that they plan to do things differently.
“Our aftercare for these contestants is so important to us because we didn’t really get that,” she said of how they plan to look after their hopefuls.
“We never had anyone checking on us to see how we were doing mentally, it was all just go, go, go.”
She added: “I personally don’t feel like there was anyone who cared.”
Band member Leigh-Anne agreed, admitting they weren’t even allowed to see their families to celebrate after they won.
“There’s a lot more awareness now about mental health, but people still just see the pop, the smiles and the stage, and they don’t really understand what goes on,” she said.
“I kind of wish there was a lot more help along the way.”
Thrust into the world of fame, the girls soon realised that they had to learn to stand up for themselves in an industry they described as “dominated by older men”.
In 2018, the band and X Factor and Sycho record label boss Simon Cowell parted ways, after Little Mix voiced concerns over decisions being made for them.
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They said they felt as if a “weight was lifted off their shoulders” once they started to say “no”.
Simon had previously said that Little Mix are “the hardest-working girls I’ve ever come across; they deserve everything they’ve got”, but when news broke that they were debuting their latest talent show on BBC, it appeared a rivalry was born.
The band’s contest was set to air in early 2020, but Simon pushed for his own spin-off, X Factor: The Band, to air on ITV in December, but the ratings were far less than what was surely hoped for, something the girls want to reverse with their new show.
Since X Factor is being “rested” this year, when the interviewer suggested that the latter would win in the battle of the singing competitions, Perrie Edwards grinned: “The best revenge is success.”
Little Mix’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times. [RADIO TIMES]
But they wanted to clarify they have no personal hatred towards the man that helped kick-start their careers.
“I think with Simon it’s all fun and games,” Jade Thirlwall told this week’s Radio Times.
We’ve got no personal vendetta against him. We moved on and, to be fair, over the years we didn’t actually see him that much. We’re not ones to hold grudges.”
Little Mix’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.
The Search begins Saturday on BBC One at 7pm.
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