Jade Thirlwall had anorexia after being targeted by racist bullies and granddads death

Jade Thirlwall has revealed she developed an eating disorder after being targeted by racist bullies during secondary school.

The Little Mix star, 28, said she was "desperate to change the way I looked to feel more accepted" as a teenager, in a snippet from her upcoming book The Female Lead: We Rise By Listing Others.

Jade grew up in South Shields and revealed that she was encouraged by her grandfather to celebrate her heritage.

Singer Jade's dad is white while her mother was Yemeni and Egyptian.

In an extract from her book, obtained by MailOnline, Jade recalled: "My Grandad was keen on celebrating our heritage and cooking Yemeni food. We lived next to the mosque and 35 different languages were spoken at my school.

"I was shy and timid but I found that I could express myself on stage, singing and dancing. I always felt loved and protected growing up, especially by my Grandad, who was a beautiful person."

But, when she got to secondary school her life completely changed as she began being bullied.

She explained: "The minute I went to secondary school things changed. I was the only person from my primary who went to my predominantly white Catholic secondary and, immediately, I had no friends and I was an easy target.


"My Mam sent me there because it was one of the best schools in the borough and she thought she was doing the right thing.

"During my secondary years, there was a lot of bullying, my grandad passed away, and I developed an eating disorder."

The Sweet Melodies singer battled with anorexia for five years during her teenage years.

Jade also candidly admitted that being bullied for being biracial left her feeling insecure over her appearance, but now has a message for her younger self.

If you have been affected by this story, you can call Beat on 0808 801 0677 or visit
www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk

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She revealed: "If I could, I'd tell my teenage self to stop worrying. Being in a space where I was bullied for my skin colour, my ethnicity, my heritage, I battled over where I was meant to belong.

"Being biracial, I sometimes didn't feel white enough, I didn't feel black enough, I didn't feel Arab enough. On top of that I was skinny and spotty.

"I was desperate to change the way I looked to feel more accepted, and going into the music industry just added a magnifying glass to those feelings. I wish that I had been able to shake myself and say, 'Just be yourself. That wins every time.'"

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