Little Mix star Jesy Nelson shared her journey of rehabilitation as she candidly speaks about the abuse she has suffered at the hands of cyberbullies and its effects on her mental health.
Jesy Nelson is known for being a part of a world-famous girl band, Little Mix, alongside Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock. When Little Mix were announced the winners of X Factor in 2011, you would think that would have been the happiest time of her life; however, due to the vast amount of trolling Jesy received hours after winning, her experience was tainted.
“I had about 101 Facebook messages in my inbox, and the first one that came up was from some random man, saying: ‘You are the ugliest thing I’ve seen in my life, you do not deserve to be in this girl band. You deserve to die’.”
In her recent documentary, Jesy highlights the devastating impact trolling and online bullying had on herself, which led her to have body dysmorphia. She stated, “I was known as the fat ugly one”, which made her constantly compare herself to others, miss work and hideaway from the public for years.
Upon releasing their new single on X Factor years later, Jesy had changed her appearance and lost weight, she stated: “All I cared about was people seeing me and saying ‘Oh, she looks good’. I starved myself for a week.” However, the comments continued, which caused Jesy’s mental health to spiral out of control, to the point she got severely depressed and once tried to end her life.
It has been eight years since the online trolling and bullying began, and Jesy has been working with therapists, to changed her mindset about the people behind the insults.
“Back then I just thought everyone hated me, but no, actually, they’re doing it because they feel bad about themselves. So now when I look at trolls being nasty, I feel a bit sorry for them. The only way I can understand it is that being nasty makes them feel better in themselves. I didn’t have the mindset to think like that back then – I wish I did.”
Since the online trolling, Jesy has now stopped using Twitter, and says she’s “a lot mentally stronger and happier”.
She explains that her motivations for making this documentary were to try to help others.
“I’m a completely different person now, I’m a lot happier and mentally stronger,” she says. “I really wanted to make this because, as much as it was a horrible experience for me, I want to make something good come out of it. I’ve got this huge platform – why would I not use that to raise awareness of how social media is affecting people?”
Since the documentary aired on BBC One, Little Mix fans know as ‘Mixers’ have called for Jesy Nelson’s Odd One Out documentary to be “shown in every school.”
Emily Atack, who interviewed Jesy Nelson on Lorrain earlier this week tweeted “Show it in schools, tell your mates, watch it. Let’s knock this s**t on the head.”
Others called for anyone who has sent negative comments online, including Katie Hopkins, whose tweet about Nelson was featured in Odd One Out, to rethink their actions.
A petition has even surfaced to show the documentary in all education sectors throughout the UK. Sign the petition here.
To watch Jesy Nelson’s Odd One Out documentary, visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer