'so proud' Little Mix singers Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson mark a decade together as a band
The band are marking their milestone with a new studio album Confetti and live shows for 2021
Like everyone in the entertainment world, Little Mix has been feeling the pain of the pandemic that wiped out their 2020 live shows.
But it hasn't been all doom and gloom for Britain's most successful girlband since the Spice Girls.
In an exclusive interview with Magazine+, Little Mix superstars Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson reveal that being all loved up has taken the sting out of lockdown.
Jesy (29) split up with her Love Island boyfriend Chris Hughes just before Covid-19 shut down the world earlier this year, but fortunately she found love shortly afterwards with her new beau, 30-year-old Our Girl actor Sean Sagar.
Perrie (27), whose ex-boyfriends include One Direction's Zayn Malik, has been dating Liverpool and England footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain since January 2017.
Chatting on Zoom with the two bubbly pop stars, it's plain to see that they're both ridiculously happy in their personal lives these days after past heartbreaks.Edwards previously told how she was devastated when 1D's Malik dumped her by text. Nelson has also been through several break-ups.
"Me and Per love love," Jesy laughs. "We are hopeless romantics, we literally are. And we've both got good eggs now."
The other half of Little Mix, Jade Thirlwall (27) and Leigh-Anne Pinnock (29), have also got their love lives sorted. Jade has been dating Jordan Stephens (28) of Rizzle Kicks since earlier this year, while Leigh-Anne is engaged to her Watford soccer star boyfriend Andre Gray after four years together.
So, despite their latest single being called Break Up Song, they're all lucky to be locked down with guys they love. "Very much so. I can't even imagine what it must be like for people who have to do this on their own," Jesy agrees. "It must be very lonely. I feel very lucky that we've got our loved ones."
Little Mix this weekend release their sixth studio album, Confetti, and their tour of the same name will kick off next year, with two shows set for Dublin's 3Arena on April 28 & 29.
They also have their new Saturday night BBC One TV show, Little Mix: The Search, which features several Irish contestants hoping to be in the winning band that will support the Fab Four on their 2021 tour.
"We got a huge response to the call out in Ireland," Perrie tells me. "We even said it on TV during the audition process that, 'Gosh! There are so many Irish, we love it."
Jesy adds: "We absolutely love the Irish accent as well. We're suckers for it."
Then Perrie chips in to announce, "I'm Irish!"
This, apparently, is news to Jesy. "Are you Pers?" she exclaims.
"My dad's side of the family are all Irish," Perrie says.
"Lucky cow!" Jesy responds.
Pressed on which part of Ireland her paternal relatives are from, Perrie says she's never explored that with her dad.
"Oh God, I haven't got a Scooby Doo," she says. "I just know they were Irish on my dad's side, and on my mam's side of the family my grandad was Scottish, so there's Scottish, Irish and English."
Perrie is suddenly distracted. "Hatchi, stop growling," she says. "He's driving me nuts growling."
It seems that Hatchi, her Pomeranian, is miffed that he's not included in the interview. After all, Hatchi does have his own Instagram account and is a big hit with the fans.
With the lovable Pomeranian appeased, we move on to the topic of fame and how Little Mix have coped with life in the spotlight for nearly a decade.
It hasn't always been easy, especially in the beginning when they were grappling with stardom.
Last year Jesy spoke candidly in the award-winning BBC documentary, Odd One Out, about attempting suicide after online trolling saw her fall into a deep depression.
So what advice would Jesy give wannabe stars? "Don't ever read stuff about yourself because half the time it's a load of boll**ks," she says. "It's frustrating when things are written that aren't true.
"In the beginning we used to get really upset. After 10 years of it you just go, 'Oh whatever', you don't even take any notice of it.
"Sometimes it's still frustrating when it's personal. If you catch us on a bad day it's not good. It's not nice for anyone to see stuff written about you that's not true."
Perrie acknowledges that the reality of fame is totally different to her perception of it before the group won The X Factor in 2011.
"It's nothing like I thought it would be," she says.
"The performing and the roar of the crowd, the energy you get and the high you get from being on stage is everything I ever imagined and dreamt of, but I think everything else in the industry is nothing like I thought it would be.
"I didn't think it would be so invasive. I didn't think it would be so intense and constant. I thought I'd go outside and be the pop star Perrie Edwards, and then I'd come home and be like, 'Yeah, what's for dinner tonight? Let's chill.' But your phone is going 24/7 and you can never just switch off."
However, Jesy says the group is particularly proud of the fact that they've had staying power. "We've had our moments, but not many bands stay together for 10 years, and we've achieved so much," she says.
"I'm proud of all of us for sticking together and still remaining really good friends. It's been amazing, and we're very lucky to have done all the things we've been able to do."
Their new album, Confetti, is set to be another smash hit for Little Mix.
"We decided not to postpone the release of the album because the fans have waited long enough," Perrie adds.
"We're doing our best to stay engaged with our fans and we just can't wait for the tour."
- Little Mix has just released their new album, Confetti. They play Dublin's 3Arena on April 28 and 29, 2021