May 25, 2024

Jade Thirlwall on learning to clean the toilet, looking after her mental wellbeing

Here, Jade talks about how she is managing herwellbeing during isolation, what she has learnt about the power of her sisterhood during this time and what being an ally to theLGBTQ+ communitymeans to her and why it’s more important than ever to stand up for others. Jade, we love you…

It’s been 10 years since Little Mix won the X-Factor. That’s a decade of bangers, fist-pumping dance routines and one seriously empowering sisterhood. But what Little Mix do goes far beyond that: the girl band have become role models for inclusivity and continuously encourage their fans to have open and honest conversations about their wellbeing. In short, they are the kind of role models we need – more than ever – in these testing times we find ourselves.

WATCH: Jade Thirlwall on learning to clean the toilet, the power of the Little Mix sisterhood, looking after her mental wellbeing and how you can still be an LGBTQ+ ally in self-isolation

Well, the girls are back and about to breathe some positivity into proceedings with their new single, Break Up Song. To celebrate the birth of this new banger, Jade Thirlwall joined our very own Josh Smith on our new live chat show, Happy Hour, which goes live on Instagram at 7pm every Tuesday.

Break Up Song is out now – why do you love the song so much and why does it speak to you?

Oh, I’m just honestly obsessed with this song. I feel like it’s Little Mix at our best, an amazing pop banger with an amazing chorus. Also, it’s obviously a breakup song, but it’s very uplifting and cheerful. It’s what I live for and you know me, I love it all. So, I’m very much here for it.

Break-ups can be empowering, too, right?

Yeah, of course they can, definitely. Break-ups can be the best thing that ever happens to you sometimes. The song is about picking yourself up and getting yourself out there – or indoors – and having a little dance. I think it’s what Little Mix do; we always try and make sure that we write songs that make people feel good.

Break Up Song is certainly giving me life in isolation but what is giving you life in isolation?

Well for instance, I’ve got a projector in my bedroom and last night I had on Cheryl Cole’s tour DVD, which was delightful. I’ve got loads of old tour DVDs that I’ve been putting on. I’ve been sort of letting myself go a little bit, not washing my hair a lot, wearing leggings and t-shirt every day and not wearing much make up. And just communicating with my family a lot. I’ve been face timing my mom and dad and stuff.

Are you at least washing once a day though?

Oh yeah. I have a little wash in the morning, before I start the day! I am trying to get myself into not wearing pajamas all day. I’m getting up, I’m showering, I’m putting some form of clothing on. Like I’m going to do something productive with my day.

This is the longest you’ve been away from the girls – how are you dealing with that?

I’m definitely having withdrawal symptoms. Just because we have a laugh every day at work and I genuinely see the girls more than I’d see my family or friends. I’m really missing the girls especially because we were just about to go headfirst into our campaign. I’m missing not doing work with them.

What do you think the separation and this period has taught you about the power of the special Little Mix sisterhood you have?

I think more than anything it’s just taught us that obviously I really love the girls to pieces and everything’s better when we do it together as a force. I’ve also really learned the power of our fan base as well. The fact that we’re not actually out there promoting our single properly or doing TV shows and doing live performances and they’re still bang on it, streaming the song and supporting it as much as they can. It’s amazing.

So much is said about the negative sides of social media and actually I think this time is showing us how amazing social media can be. Are you seeing that?

Yeah! I think we’ve seen a lot of amazing positivity on social media at the minute, which is so lovely. When I go on Instagram, on my feed there’s so many pages. Go on this platform, Dom’s page, @domandink (an LGBTQ+ illustrator) – pages like that are constantly spreading positivity and making people feel better if you’re anxious or worried about what’s going on right now. There’s a lot of people sort of rallying together, which is nice to see.

How are you dealing with your mental wellbeing in this self isolation?

I’m okay at the minute. I am really struggling to sleep. I’m a bit of an over thinker anyways, so when I get to bed that’s when I have all these thoughts going on in my head. I struggle to sleep anyway but it’s in overdrive at the minute. So, I haven’t been sleeping well. But I’ve actually been all right during the day. I’m just trying to keep myself busy, whether it’s doing silly things like doing Lego or colouring in. I’m here with my two friends as well. So, I’ve got company and just speaking to my family as well. Bless my mom, she’s in self isolation with her being high risk so I’m trying to keep her entertained as well. It’s just about keeping busy because I’m such a busy creative person anyways, I love to work so now that I’m not out working and I don’t know what to do with myself.

How are you keeping your mom entertained with her in self isolation as a high risk person?

Well, I’ve been calling her pretty much every day asking her with help how to cook. This morning I messaged her and said, “Mom, how do I clean the toilet? ” So yeah, I think moms love to mollycoddle you, don’t you? We’ve been sitting, having a wine together on face time. I think one positive from all of this experience is that I’m definitely communicating with my family more. Usually I’m working so hard that I don’t get the opportunity to do it as much. So, I think they really appreciate it and like a bit of Jade time.

And also learning to clean the toilet – I mean girl’s got skills…

Who’d have thought? I tried pouring in boiling vinegar down. It didn’t work. I’m not used to doing all these household chores. My flat mate, Holly, usually does a lot of the cleaning because she genuinely enjoys it. I’m trying to be all, How Clean is Your House vibes.

I saw you on tour back in November and I remember thinking it was such an inclusive celebration of everyone – why is that so important to you?

I just think from personal experience, we were all from different walks of life, we’re very different girls and I think we just want to hone into everyone that we are normal and that we want to support other women. I think when you’ve got this huge platform, it would be silly really not to use that to raise awareness of issues for other people. It’s not hard is it, being a nice person, spreading a positive message and stick up for people who need your help.

Its Trans Visibility day, and you are such an ally for LGBTQ+ rights. How are you flying the flag whilst we are all so disconnected as a community?

I think there’s many ways that you can support people in general. I think today obviously with it being trans visibility day, reposting on your stories, the social media, raising awareness is a way to help. It’s also important to not speaking for trans people, letting them speak for themselves and just supporting them in doing that. I think as well, right now, obviously we’re all in self isolation and some LGBTQ+ people might be in a home or a family environment where they’re not very supportive of being who they are. So, if you know anybody who is in that circumstance, reach out to them, message them, show them how much you support and love them – there’s many ways you can be doing that whilst being indoors.

I’m still learning myself. I’m still learning what the right pronouns are or how to speak to someone and make sure you don’t offend someone or be an ally in the right way and making sure it doesn’t look like you are using to your advantage or for your benefit. If you’re going to say you’re an ally, you need to practice what you preach, you need to walk the walk as well as talking the talk. So yeah, still learning every day.

To be an LGBTQ+ allyyou need to ask the questions and also listen to people as well – don’t you think?

You need to listen, speak up for people and defend people. I’ve said before, just as an example, when you’re in the school playground and you see someone being bullied, you can either stand there and let it happen or you can speak up, say something, stand up for that person and say this isn’t right. So, it’s very much taking that idea and putting it into your everyday life.

What spoilers can you give us for the forthcoming album?

Well we’re definitely about eight songs in, I’d say. We’ve recorded a lot of songs. We’ve definitely got, I’d say, the six and we’ve got the second, third or fourth single. We know what we want, which is very exciting. We’ve done a lot of writing with Camille who obviously does a lot of our major hits and we wrote Black Magic with her. We’ve just done Break up Song with her and Gold Fingers. Leigh-Anne and I went to LA and worked a lot with Taylor Parks, which was really exciting. I’m scared to say too much. I’m trying to be diplomatic here because I probably will word vomit!

You guys have really taken control of your own careers as well, haven’t you?

You can’t argue with four women that are piping up together. So, I think with this album, we’re very much just been left to our own devices to just be very much in control. And we’ve been having fun with it. Instead of over thinking the process and this is what we need a song about now, we should write a song about this. It’s just if it feels good, we’ll write a song about it and if the song’s amazing, it’s going on the album. , I think this is going to be really, really amazing poptastic album that celebrates our nearly 10 years together.

What do you think you’ve learned about yourself in that 10 years – has it been a decade of change?

It definitely has been. I feel like I started Little Mix as a little tortoise in my shell. A bit shy and not very confident and as the years have gone on, with the help of the girls and our fan base, I feel like I’m a different person to who I was 10 years ago and I’m so grateful for that. I am just a lot more confident, a lot more confident in my body, who I am and how I look. I think the only way is up!

How do you think you guys have helped each other the most, do you think? Is it in terms of confidence?

I think part of it is the fact that nobody else is living what we’re living. It’s so strange. It’s hard to talk to your friends and family about your experience when you’re in this weird fame bubble. I think because we all relate to each other, we can really speak to each other wholeheartedly and very honestly about how we’re feeling about dealing with everything. I think all of us have had our moments where we’ve really felt crap, but it’s about being there for each other, supporting each other and lifting each other back up. And if someone’s not feeling it that day or not feeling good about themselves, you’ve got three other sisters there who are like, “Don’t worry. We’ve got you and we’ll get through it together sort of thing. ”

Opening up to questions – what products do you swear by for your amazing curly hair?

I just like oil, oil, more oil, lots of hair oil because my hair is a thirsty bitch! She loves it! She’s so thirsty! She’s gagging for it! So, I literally drown it in hair oil and it still is dry the next hour later. Every time I wash my hair, instead of using conditioner, I use proper hair treatment and leave it in for 10 minutes. I think it’s been nice for me being indoors at the minute because I’ve let my hair have a bit of a rest and not blow drying it all the time or straightening it and stuff. I am just letting it live its best life.

What’s your favorite Little Mix song?

That is like choosing a child. I couldn’t do it, but I will say I’ve got a top five. Break Up Song is defo up there, No More Sad Songs, I absolutely love, Wings will always be very special to me just because of being our first big single and the message of it. It was very much, “this is who we are as a group and you’re going to love it! ” Probably Secret Love Song, as well, just because of the impact that it’s had, especially on the LGBTQ+ community. Last one. There’s one actually that we’re about to release that I’m so excited about and again, one of my all-time favorites that we wrote with Camille. Honestly, I love to tease you.

If you could sit the you down who was on X Factor, about to go into that first audition and she was sat across from you on this screen right now, what would you say to her?

I’d say, “Hon, get ready for this because this is not going to be what you’ve expected. ” I think, well when I did the X Factor, I genuinely thought I’d be on the tele for 10 seconds and I’d get a bit more work from it up North. Gigging up North. I didn’t actually think I’d genuinely win the show. Once it all started happening and we went through each week I was saying, “Bloody hell, we could actually win this thing and then my whole life is going to change. ” I remember the night we won, we saw our families for five minutes and then we all sat down together and me and Perrie were in a hotel room together and we just looked at each other and we’re like, “we’ve won the X Factor! ” Our whole lives were about to change. We got given a schedule for the next week and it was getting up at three AM to do promo stuff, it was such a switch. So, I would just say, “Brace yourself and don’t ever doubt yourself as well. ” Because I think I spent a bit too long worrying too much about what other people might have thought about us and stuff.

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