Jesy Nelson and the Price of Fame

For those of you who missed it, in October BBC Three released Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out - a documentary following the 28-year-old Little Mix star as she reflected on the 8 years passed since her X Factor days. Raw, and at times hard to watch, Nelson presents the side of fame that often goes unnoticed. Beneath the glamour and the perfected posing, Odd One Out reveals the more unattractive depths of our online societies and those who become its target. 

With every year that passes, social media platforms become ever more important to our daily lives, and in many cases they’re intrinsic to ideas of self-image. Where once appearance was examined by mirror only, we now find endless representations for public consumption in pictures and videos. But how deep do these profiles really reach?

Last year, Ofcom's Children and Parents Media Use and Attitudes report found that 46% of 11-year-olds, 51% of 12-year-olds and 28% of 10-year-olds have a social media profile. 72 percent of these use Instagram, with 22 percent naming Instagram their platform of choice. When Little Mix shot to fame in 2011, Jesy was only 20 years-old and Instagram had been around for a year. For almost a decade, the four young women of one of Britain’s biggest bands have posted their every outfit, holiday and relationship for the world to see. For Jesy Nelson, the first comment on such posts was regarding her weight – comments that have continued to this day. 

The effects of years of relentless bullying left Jesy feeling trapped and alone. The very fact that she has had to release a documentary to highlight such bullying highlights the very nature of the taboo –  the comments that are left on each of her posts have been present eight years for the world to see. The anonymity which the internet offers not only makes the targets of online bullying feel helpless, but also leaves other users feeling that their one voice would be useless in comparison.

In this case, we have to hope that the one voice of Jesy Nelson allows immense power and hope for the future. The strength of character Nelson presents in opening herself back up to issues, issues she has clearly been battling to forget, should help increase support for those currently facing the same battles. Sian Waterhouse was one of those people, but for her it all became too much. Back in 2018 the 16-year-old took her own life, leaving her loving parents and friends in a state of utter grief. In the documentary, Jesy goes to meet Sian’s parents, who are working every day to preserve the memory of their daughter and continue to fight against online trolls. In their eyes, and the eyes of many others, role models such as Jesy Nelson and the awareness and discussion that her documentary will inspire, will be absolutely vital to aiding their recovery.



If you are struggling with online bullying, or know someone who is, visit helpguide.orgcall Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.