LITTLE MIX are the world’s biggest girl group, with four No1 singles, two Brit Awards and millions of fans globally.
But in a year when there has been so little to smile about, band member Jade Thirlwall has gained one thing that has put a grin on her face — a bottom.
She wears a skimpy, bum-baring leotard in the video for their new single Sweet Melody and it sent their fanbase into overdrive and left her mum Norma gobsmacked.
Laughing down the phone in an exclusive chat, Jade recalls: “Me mam called us once the video dropped. She was like, ‘Jade, firstly, why have you got your a*** out? Secondly, where has that a*** come from?’
“She was like, ‘What have you been eating in lockdown, hun?’ I was like, ‘It just came out of nowhere’.”
When I ask Jade if she got into the lockdown trend of doing home workouts, she replies: “All I’ve done in lockdown is eat pies. Just constantly eating.
“Maybe I’m just growing into a woman. But the video’s gone down so well.
"We knew it was about time there was another choreography-led video that people could copy in lockdown.”
After years of ridiculous criticism over their outfits, any flak is like water off a duck’s back to Jade and bandmates Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson.
Their brilliant sixth album Confetti was released last Friday and is a hot contender for No1 tomorrow amid a fierce chart battle with Kylie Minogue’s Disco, having already sold more than 40,000 copies in the UK.
They don’t hold back on raunchy lyrics on it and insist they won’t apologise for them.
On writing about their sex lives, Jade says: “We’re always going to write and record music from personal experience, and yeah we’re grown women, and we have sex.
“I find it really empowering, especially right now when you’ve got artists like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion doing songs like WAP.
“I’m so for women being in control of their sexual experiences and singing about it. It’s great.
"Men have been doing it for God knows how long, so why can’t women do it and be praised for it?”
Not only has it been a big year for the group because of the release of their album and the airing of their BBC1 prime time talent show Little Mix: The Search, but Leigh-Anne also got engaged.
Her partner, Watford footie player Andre Gray, got down on one knee on their four-year anniversary in May. But his career is giving her a headache when planning their big day.
Leigh-Anne grumbles: “It’s not Covid getting in the way — it’s the World Cup.
"I don’t know when that’s all kicking off, and I don’t know when Andre’s time off is going to be. I want it in 2022, so we’ll see.”
Giggling, she adds: “I don’t blooming know, honestly. I hate football sometimes. Nuisance.”
While Perrie is in a long-term relationship with Liverpool footie ace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jesy is dating Our Girl actor Sean Sagar, Jade defied the odds by finding a boyfriend in lockdown.
She started to see Rizzle Kicks singer Jordan Stephens as restrictions were eased and they’re now a couple.
The band in numbers
- 4 UK No1 singles
- 6 albums since 2012
- 6 headline tours
- £48million total worth
- 34.7million social media followers
- 50million records sold
At the mention of his name, Jade perks up and says: “Oh, it is really lovely, yeah. It’s definitely not what I envisioned for this year.
"Maybe that’s why it worked so well, because I wasn’t really looking for anyone. It’s lovely.”
It’s great to see them in a good place because after nine years in the industry, Little Mix have had their fair share of tough times.
As well as being trolled because of their image, they split from their record label, Simon Cowell’s Syco, just before the release of their last album LM5 in 2018, moving to RCA.
Leigh-Anne admits: “We really enjoy working with our new label. It’s been fun and with this album, it’s come together seamlessly.”
Jade adds: “Having that weight off our shoulders meant we wrote a really happy, poptastic album.”
Yet this year has not been an easy ride. Not only did they release the first single Break Up Song in March — four days after Boris Johnson announced the UK’s full lockdown — but they also had to delay their TV show due to Covid.
When it did launch Jade had to self-isolate and appear on video link for the first live episode then the second was delayed by six days after Boris scheduled a lockdown press conference.
Jesy then missed the final last Saturday due to illness. But the girls reckon it means they can now deal with anything.
Jade says: “It’s been strange. But we’re grateful to still be cracking on and working. In the first lockdown we had to still promote Break Up Song, just on social media instead.
“And then with the Search as well, every week there was another drama. So nothing really surprises us any more.
"We’re so grateful. Our music is doing well and we’re a bit in shock at how well received the album has been and the single.”
So, what’s next? Leigh-Anne teases: “It’s really hard to plan with the uncertainty of the time, it’s a bit mad.
“But we’re starting to have thoughts about season two of The Search and maybe some more singles off the album. I feel we will know more when we know if the tour is happening.”
Whatever they do next, as the funnest and feistiest girls in pop, I hope there’s plenty more to come from Little Mix.
Joy of tour de fours
FANS have been worried after poorly Jesy missed Saturday’s final of their TV talent show and their presenting role at Sunday’s MTV EMAs, where they won two awards.
But Jade can’t wait until the four reunite on stage.
She says: “We just love performing. That’s our thing.”
They are gearing up for their Confetti arena tour, which is due to kick off in Dublin on April 28.
The support act will be their talent show’s winners Since September.
Jade adds: “What we enjoy most is being on stage, seeing the fans and singing and dancing.
"Hopefully next year we can get on the road. It makes everything worth it.”
Leigh-Anne says: “We missed each other so much during lockdown. This album has brought us close.”
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