I bought Our World on a whim, purely interested in the celebrity culture and wanting to know more about the girls personally. Recently, I have started to become more and more of a fan of Little Mix and the main question for me was: Do the girls really like each other as much as they seem to? Being put together on the X Factor feels like so long ago and so I don’t remember much other than Perrie pretty much stole all the rifts and strong notes, and Leigh-Anne and Jesy didn’t really get a look in. I really wanted to know how much creative freedom they got on X Factor and how much they bonded as friends once they were put in a group.
After reading their book, I will say that I have a lot less judgement for each of them, which is to be expected when you read more about their personal life, childhood, opinions, hobbies and thoughts. A lot of the stereotypes I had for them have been debunked and I feel that I see the group a lot more like ordinary girls. There are a lot of topics included in the book that I think most people, at least casual fans, will not know and might be surprised to hear.
The cover and pictures inside are stunning and beautiful. It’s a well-made hardback and the photos of the girls are very good and show them in many different outfits and poses. I will say that the pictures do get a bit repetitive after a while. Preferably, I would have liked more behind-the-scenes images of the girls doing more every-day things, as well as more of their childhood and X Factor pictures. A lot of the images, which appear on every few pages, were obviously taken in the same photo shoot set up specifically for this book and so get very tedious and boring after a while. There were some photos of the girls when they were younger and with boyfriends and family but the majority were from this one photo shoot and of them on stage on tour.
A long the same lines as the photos, the stories and experiences that the girls discuss in the book also get repetitive as each of them seem to write about the same events, just in their own point of view. This is interesting to read, however the editors could have cut a lot of it down considerably. I felt that I was reading a lot of the same sentences and stories again and again from each girl. After all, if these experiences, big live performances or trips away from home, were happening to all of them at the same time, it’s clear that they will describe the experience similarly.
However, as I have said, I feel that I understand the girls a lot more after reading Our World. I originally believed that Little Mix have been famous for a good few years now but it would seem that they still have a long way to go. They write about wanting to crack America and build their fan base further. I saw that they performed on the Brit Awards 2016 but I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think that they had anything to prove or were not famous enough to be singing on that stage but apparently the girls thought so. They talked about being starstruck to meet other celebrities, trying to save money to buy their parents a house, and of struggling to write their third album and worrying about being dropped. I never thought that these girls dealt with this sort of stuff. From my point of view, Little Mix, was one of the biggest girl bands in the world and had definitely already conquered American, what with Black Magic being released. It would seem that the girls feel that they are not famous to the extent of Rihanna or Justin Bieber but would love to achieve more recognition. I also believed that the girls were pretty loaded, and already owned houses for themselves and their families – this turns out to be false. I think that Perrie is the only one who mentions buying her own place, which was only due to her break up with One Direction’s Zayn. Leigh-Ann talks about eventually getting a place of her own but it doesn’t look like any of the other girls have managed to buy their own house which I just thought was surprising. We imagine that celebrities get everything they want but I guess that’s not the case.
There were many things that surprised me that is written in this book about all four of the girls. Perrie was probably the least surprising. I already knew that Perrie was bubbly, a bit whacky and hippy-ish and sweet. I also heard that she had medical problems with her tonsils and didn’t have a sense of smell but, as Perrie goes into more detail in the book, it becomes a much bigger issue as she describes having operations every week to stretch her throat. As a child her food would get stuck and she would end up being sick. Shortly after winning the X Factor she also suffered with tonsillitis almost constantly and had them removed. I also knew that this happened but, again, the way it happened was a surprise. Before reading the full story from Perrie, I thought that she had her tonsils removed at her leisure so that it was easier for her to sing and work, however the book describes her in pain constantly for a year and considering all the possibilities of losing her singing voice, before actually going through with it. I’m not sure if this is peculiar, but I always thought a celebrity could afford any medical treatment and didn’t think that they would have the same worries and hassles as ordinary people when it came to having an operation or being ill.
The pages that Jade wrote were very surprising for me and now I think I see her in a completely different way. For one, I had no idea that Jade is mixed race and so, when she wrote about being bullied for it at school, it was pretty awful. Jade never really struck me as a shy girl but it’s obvious now that she is the most quiet and shy out of the group. That is really not obvious when you see the girls on stage or in interviews but when Jade described school and going for the X Factor she seemed pretty petrified and quiet. I think people must think she thought highly of herself to audition for the X Factor three times but Jade writes about wanting to give up and the fear of being rejected again. Jade talks about having the worst stage fright and worrying as a kid that everyone would laugh at her. Another fact that surprised me was that the other girls describe Jade as the best at doing make-up. I really didn’t notice that before I read the book and it’s because Jade did a beauty course before she went into singing.
There are plenty more surprising insights into Jesy’s life. I remember watching the girls on the X Factor but I had forgotten just how wacky and crazy Jesy’s personality and style was. Jesy talks about being in a dance group that was the sister group for Diversity and being an extra for Harry Potter and other famous films. It seems that there is way more to the girls than first meets the eye. Leigh-Anne really changed my opinion of her completely. I always saw her as the weakest singer, but I have noticed over the past year how much better she has got. I thought this was just me realising that she always had talent however Leigh-Anne actually address her vocals in the book and talks about the criticism she got and the pressure to keep up with the other girls who were all much better than her. She got a vocal couch for their Get Weird tour and Leigh-Anne states that he helped her do things with her voice that she never thought she would be able to do which I found really sweet. I feel that Leigh-Anne is very inspiring as a person. She comes across in the book as super confident. Even when she addresses her weaker vocals, she says that she always knew she was good and worked hard but wanted to reach the same level as the others. I think Leigh-Anne is the most confident. Jesy seems the complete opposite as she writes about being totally deflated and depressed during the X Factor due to all of the horrible comments she was getting about her appearance. I remember that Jesy was bigger than the other girls but it was obvious Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne were way smaller than average, but it obviously affected Jesy more than viewers can see. However, Jesy seems to really appreciate that those dark times happened because she is so confident about herself now and is exactly who she wants to be. As she quotes, “If everyone looked the same, the world would be boring” which is really inspiring and role-model material. For some reason, I thought that all of the girls had tattoos because that’s just want famous people do but Jesy is the only one who mentions them and it just shows how unique and creative she is as a person.
Regarding the X Factor it does feel like the girls didn’t really have a good time on the show and only endured it to live the pop star dream. They talk about how the producers tried to get a photo shoot of them in underwear which led them to break down and cry as they were so young at the time and didn’t want to do it. However, the worst story for me was when the girls talk about their make-over that the show creates for all of the contestants who make it to the live shows. Perrie talks about always having long, luscious blonde hair since being a kid but when it came to the live shows the producers wanted to cut it short. Perrie apparently begged for them not to in fear that it wouldn’t grow back, but they did it anyway and bleached it bright blonde. Leigh-Anne had the side of her head shaved and died bright red and both her and Perrie stated that the make-overs ruined their natural hair. I’m pretty sure Jesy mentions it as well, but Jade appears to have come away unscarred as she talks about dying her hair many different colours. The girls talk about how much they cherished and tried to protect their hair when they were younger before the show and then just having it all ruined when they were all glammed up. I know it’s not the worst thing in the world but it’s now very nice, especially with how young they all were.
Little Mix also seem to talk about performing live and on tour a lot and I am annoyed that they don’t mention lip-synching. You’d have to be blind not to notice that when the girls are dancing on stage, choruses seem to be playback and mic don’ts even seem to be on for most of it. No one is disputing the fact that the girls can sing as apparent in acoustic and acapella performances, however, as is probably the common thing to do in the music industry, lip-synching is used for almost all of the girls big performances. They talk about how great and hard they worked for the 2016 Brit Awards performance and yet fail to mention that they lip-synched the majority of it. I don’t think it is a bad thing to lip-synch when the girls are singing the solos and verses and have heavy chorography but I would have liked for them to acknowledge that and it felt a little like they were pretending that lip-synching was even a thing which is just silly.
Finally, I want to talk about the fact that the book seems outdated. Our World was published in October 2016. Glory Days, their new album, was released in November. Since this book came out, the girls have had multiple hits from this album such as Shout Out to My Ex, Touch and Oops and a lot has changed. The most awkward part of the book for me was when Jesy was talking about her engagement with Jake Roche. The couple have since announced their split, so the many romantic stories and a few hints at wedding planning seem really awkward. The girls also talk about trying to crack America and since the release of the book, the girls announced they were touring America with Ariana Grande, one of the biggest pop starts in the country. The girls talk a lot about their Get Weird album and tour, which feels old now, especially as Glory Days has been such a hit. I understand that Little Mix don’t know what the future will bring but they knew their new album was coming out and it would have been much better to write and release an auto-biographical book when they had a lull in work or didn’t have any new music coming out so that what they write and say on the pages are more accurate and updated.
Overall, I feel that I know the girls loads more after reading this book. It may not have been the best edited or planned piece of writing but it feels that the girls poured their heart out into the words and a lot of the information and experiences the four of them share you wouldn’t find anywhere else. It was like all four of them just had a long chat with you so it feels personal and secret. Despite it’s flaws, this book must be an awesome read for Little Mix fans.