breakups

Jesy Nelson Says She Was ‘Miserable’ in Little Mix

Photo: Neil Mockford/GC Images

For the first time, singer Jesy Nelson has opened up about leaving the girl band Little Mix and she cannot front — she’s happier than ever. After taking some time to herself, Nelson is back in the spotlight (and in the studio) with a newfound confidence, she tells Cosmopolitan U.K. “I didn’t know that I could be this happy,” she says in her cover story. “I thought when I was in the group that it was just normal to feel that way. And because I’d felt like that for ten years, I just thought, ‘This is life.’ Since I’ve left, I feel free. I don’t wake up with anxiety, thinking, ‘I’ve got to do a music video today, I need to starve myself.’ Or, ‘I need to go on an extreme diet so I can look like the other three.’ That was consuming me.” Nelson says she “constantly” compared herself to the rest of the band, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, and Jade Thirlwall, along with the “thousands” of haters who also pointed her out. “Now I feel like me,” she continues. “When I look back [at my time] in the band, I genuinely wasn’t me. I can’t believe how miserable I was.”

Her breaking point came during lockdown when the girls reunited to film the music video for “Sweet Melody,” from their last album Confetti. After going on an “extreme diet,” she still “found it so hard” to be a carefree pop star. “There’s a scene in ‘Sweet Melody’ I’m not in, because that’s when I had a panic attack and broke down,” she remembers. “I was like, ‘I just want to go home.’ I was sobbing in the dressing room. Someone really close to me said, ‘This has got to stop. You can’t keep doing this to yourself.’ Now as a solo act, Nelson is working on music that sounds more like what she listens to than Little Mix’s music does. “For people to think that I would just stop working completely is crazy, because[for] me, working on my mental health is going to the studio, and creating music that I love,” she added. “That’s what clears my head and makes me happy.”

Jesy Nelson Says She Was ‘Miserable’ in Little Mix