Leigh-Anne Pinnock has revealed that when Little Mix first formed they were told not to describe themselves as feminists.
According to the Little Mix star, 27, she claims she and other members of the band were warned not to label themselves to avoid controversy.
The singer, who was 19 when the band won The X Factor in 2011, confessed that at the time she didn’t think anything of it but says they are wiser and "proud to say we’re feminists."
Leigh-Anne, who has just announced a solo collaboration with sports brand Umbro, also broke down in tears as she spoke about how she would search the internet for offensive stories about herself.
The 27-year-old said the band has since ditched the advice to avoid the f-word, which was meant to broaden their appeal, and have proudly declared their feminism.
She told Glamour magazine : "At the beginning we didn’t use the word feminist. We were actually told not to just in case it was too controversial.
"To be fair, we were really young. I don’t think we were as clued-up as we are now on things. Now we’re proud to say we’re feminists. We are a lot wiser."
Leigh-Anne said that the band is moving away from simply talking about the common subjects of pop music and girl groups.
She said: "We are talking so much more and being so much more vocal about issues going on in the world and it feels really good.
"It feels good to actually speak about something that matters. I don’t want to talk about my bloody boyfriend."
With the band changing their overall message – including a nude photoshoot to celebrate their empowering fifth album – they have proven critics who claimed a girl band like them wouldn’t succeed, wrong.
She added that while she has been more forthright in her feminism, she has taken a step back from the pressures of social media.
Getting teary talking about her first experience of fame, Leigh-Anne admitted she would search for "Leigh-Anne from Little Mix, the black girl in Little Mix" and be upset by the results.
The Little Mix bandmember added that people should be wary of "toxic" social media environments, and she is happier now that she pays less attention to online comments.
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