WHILE each member of British pop group Little Mix identifies as straight, there has been a proliferation of queer fan fiction written about them since they shot to stardom five years ago.
Adoring fans in the LGBTI community have ‘shipped’ members of the group, pairing them off interchangeably to fuel their fictitious and at times sexually charged stories.
“I don’t care about it, they can do what they want,” she said.
“They [fan fiction writers] can do what they want to do, whatever makes them happy.
“Everyone seems to gravitate towards Perrie and Jade in the stories, I think because they always have little moments together. But we all have our little moments I guess.
“We’ll all be close to one or another every so often – me and Perrie are single and going out all the time right now, so we’re really close at the moment.”
Little Mix was formed by members Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall, who became international superstars overnight after winning the 2011 season of The X Factor.
They’ve since gone on to become one of the biggest pop acts in the world, with 12 million global sales and three number one hits in the UK. Their latest release Glory Days became the quickest selling album in the UK charts by a girl group since Destiny’s Child back in 2001.
The group recently won Best Music Act at the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year Awards and have stacked up over one billion views on YouTube worldwide.
Alongside the accolades and success, Little Mix has also amassed a large LGBTI following, in part due to their infectious anthems championing self-love, empowerment, and individuality.
Jesy said the group were massively aware of their queer following from early on.
“I think it’s amazing. I think one of the key things we wanted to do when we got together was to make people feel better about themselves and it’s the best feeling ever knowing we can do that,” she said.
“Literally whenever we do signings we get so many boys and girls saying our track Secret Love Song helped give them the confidence to come out to their mum and dad.
“It’s so sad to think in this day and age people are terrified to express who they are, and the fact we can release music and make people feel strong enough is amazing.”
With hit tracks like Wings, Black Magic, and the recent smash Shout Out to my Ex under their belt, Jesy said it’s important for younger people in the LGBTI community to have songs that empower them.
“When I was younger I never had anyone other than the Spice Girls,” she said.
“I never had anyone that wrote songs that gave me confidence, telling me I didn’t need to look a certain way to feel good about myself.
“But we’re all confident girls now, after going through the rough and through the shit we don’t care anymore, and if we write a song and it makes one person’s life better we’ve done our job.” (break out quote)
Jesy believes society has made great strides when it comes to advancing equality for LGBTI people.
“Oh my gosh, massively,” she said.
“I think the more people that shout it out the more it will become acceptable – it’s sad that it has to be a thing and hopefully as the years go on it will get easier and easier. I think more people like us should write songs to help, we’re pretty good ambassadors.”
After learning that Australia has yet to achieve marriage equality, Jesy said she was shocked.
“Wow, that’s really so crazy,” she said.
“Oh my gosh people should one hundred per cent be able to love who they want to in life.”
With their new album Glory Days out now, Jesy said she can safely say it her favourite of all their studio albums to date.
Her favourite track is Your Love, which she describes as always making her so happy.
“We knew exactly what sound we wanted to go for on this album,” she said.
“We wanted it to be more honest, more mature, and to have more songs played in clubs.”
Most of next year will see the group touring the world, including a number of performances in Australia come July.
Jesy said the group has been in Australia several times now, and that she’s so excited to come back.
“Oh gosh, the only downside of Australia is that it takes so long to get there, but it’s my favourite country – the food, the fans, everything,” she said.
“Everyone’s always so happy, and I like that you swear. You guys all happily swear and it’s nothing to you, but if I did that in the U.S. everyone would be like ‘OMG’.”
Jesy had a final thought she wanted to share with Little Mix’s LGBTI fans in particular:
“For anyone that’s feeling low or shit, just remember there’s only one you in the world so you should rock it,” she said.