Pregnant Leigh-Anne Pinnock believes she was left off Capital FM’s sexiest female list for years because of the colour of her skin.
The 29-year-old Little Mix star, who fronts a new BBC documentary about racism in the music industry, says the fact her bandmates were included every year made her feel something wasn’t ‘right’.
“There was one time when a radio station, they were doing ‘sexiest female’. They’d do it every year and all the other girls had been nominated every single year except for me,” she said ahead of Thursday’s documentary debut on BBC’s iPlayer.
“And it got to maybe 2017 or something and I finally got nominated.
“It’s these little things that you look back on and you think, ‘There’s something not right here’,” she added.
Leigh-Anne, who is currently pregnant with her first child with fiance Andre Gray, finally won Capital’s Sexiest Female in 2018, but feels there was a reason why she hadn’t been nominated for so many years while Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Jade Thirlwall were.
“Racism is in every single industry. There needs to be more diversity in every workplace,” she pointed out.
Leigh-Anne, who earlier this month unveiled her pregnancy in a gorgeous photoshoot with Andre, has also told of her fear of speaking up about her brushes with racism.
She worried people wouldn’t understand, “because I feel like with racism, if you don’t experience it, how are you ever going to really get it and feel it and understand it”.
“Also I was scared to lose fans, I was scared of offending fans, because that’s not what I’m trying to do at all,” she went on.
“I literally just wanted to address how I felt.”
But positive conversations with her family and white friends convinced her the time is right to go on the record and speak up for other black artists within the industry.
“When I walk into work and I see a predominantly white room, I’m like, ‘But why?'”
“For me, diversity is just so important and I want my children to be able to watch TV and see themselves and at the minute it’s not good enough.”
*Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power is available to stream on BBC Three on iPlayer now and airs on BBC1 at 9pm on Thursday