‘The abuse and bullying that nearly killed me’

Time to heal: Nelson says her mental health has improved since she deleted Twitter.

Is fame a curse? In Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, the singer reveals how cyberbullying ruined her life after she won The X Factor in 2011. Her mother wishes Jesy was still a barmaid in Dagenham.

“I wasn’t known as one of the singers in Little Mix. I was known as the fat, ugly one,” Jesy Nelson says in her new documentary. “It literally consumed every part of me.”

Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out painfully details the relentless cyberbullying and trolling that drove Nelson to attempt suicide after she won fame on the X Factor.

While her dream was coming true, a nightmare was unfolding. When producers on the show told the group to join social media, Nelson discovered hundreds of comments a day mocking her appearance, each more vicious than the last.

“My brain started to believe everything I was reading,” Nelson admits.

Now aged 28, Nelson says that the documentary let her begin to heal, although the scars will never go away.

“If I could have my Jesy back from before, and not have any of it,” sobs the star’s mother Jan in the film. “I’ve lost Jes.”

After the show aired on Thursday, social media was overflowing with praise and admiration for Nelson. It has also sparked a conversation about the price of fame.

“Fame is a horrible business for most who cross its path, and it would be hard to watch this documentary and come away with the illusion that it is anything else,” wrote Rebecca Nicholson in her review for The Guardian.

A fickle friend?

Is fame a curse? Of course, say some. By its nature, it measures the value of a person by the opinions of others. Now, social media is amplifying nasty comments that public figures would never have known about before. Fame is more toxic than ever.

Or does that just apply to hollow, looks-based fame pursued by reality stars for its own sake? Surely, there is value in the fame of Greta Thunberg and Malala Yusafzai, who use their fame for good and are sustained by an iron sense of purpose.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to be famous?

Activities

  1. Not including physical features, write down five things you like about yourself.

Some People Say...

“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish poet and playwright

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Little Mix was formed on the 2011 series of The X Factor. The group’s members are Jesy Nelson, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall.
What do we not know?
If the show will have a wider impact in the fight against cyberbullying. In the documentary, Nelson speaks to a number of teenage girls whose mental health was damaged due to cruel comments they received online.

Word Watch

Trolling
Someone who repeatedly posts offensive comments on the internet with the intention of causing upset.
On Thursday
It is available on BBC iPlayer, where it is currently the most popular programme.
Greta Thunberg and Malala Yusafzai
The former campaigns for the environment; the latter for women’s education.

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