She wasn’t happy with the ‘Rihanna identity’ she was given (Picture: Shutterstock)
Leigh-Anne Pinnock has opened up about the ‘sickening’ moment she was asked to shave her head while a contestant on The X Factor.
The English singer and songwriter, 32, famously won the singing competition back in 2011 as part of Little Mix, after initially entering as a solo contestant.
Alongside Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall, and Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne went on to have a successful pop career as part of the girl group during the rest of the 2010s.
However, getting there wasn’t plain sailing – in her brand new memoir Believe, Leigh-Anne has revealed she was required to shave her head for live shows.
‘[The X Factor] producers didn’t seem to know how to define my identity,’ she said, recalling how being the group’s only Black member caused trouble for her.
‘Rather than encourage me to be myself or give me the space for my own personality to shine through, instead they tried to simply copy and paste.’
Little Mix were assembled by Leigh-Anne [middle left] was on the X Factor (Picture: Getty)
‘I stared at this girl in the mirror, a face I barely recognised’ (Picture: Getty)
She continued, revealing that she was given a look that was all-too-familiar in the early 2010s: ‘[They took] an identity from somewhere else. Notably, Rihanna.’
‘During the makeover, they gave me her iconic red hairstyle, from her Loud era, an exact match, shade for shade. And they shaved one side of my head.’
Leigh-Anne then said she was given a ‘punky pop personality’ which she felt didn’t suit her at all, and left her feeling uncomfortable during the live shows.
That’s more like it (Picture: PA)
Rihanna’s iconic look took the world by storm in the early 2010s (Picture: EPA)
‘I remember the sickening buzz of the clippers, my curls dropping to the floor around my feet. I stared at this girl in the mirror, a face I barely recognised.’
Little Mix, who were originally assembled by the show’s producers and given the name Rhythmix, beat competition from Amelia Lily, Misha B, and Marcus Collins.
From there, the girl group scored five UK number one singles, eventually going on hiatus in 2020 after Jesy Nelson left the group to embark on solo work.
She described her fellow bandmate’s exit as ‘messy’ and ‘traumatic’ for the whole group, resulting in the three remaining members going to therapy.
Leigh-Anne herself recently made her big pop comeback with new single Don’t Say Love, which made it into the higher reaches of the UK chart at number 11.
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The look wasn’t for her.