Fleur East has revealed she was ‘so embarrassed about having afro hair’ that she went to extreme measures to straighten her natural texture, admitting: ‘I even used my mum’s iron on it.’
Speaking in a new interview, the X Factor star, 33, explained she ‘straightened it all the time’ and added: ‘For much of my life, particularly as a teenager, I hated my hair.’
She told The Sun: ‘I had run-ins with kids at school – I was too black for the white girls and too white for the black girls. I didn’t fit anywhere.’
Candid: Fleur East, 33, has revealed she was ‘so embarrassed about having afro hair’ that she went to extreme measures to straighten her natural texture
Fleur, who is currently co-hosting ITV’s The Void game show alongside Ashley Banjo, also touched upon her decision to wear her hair natural while on air, telling the paper: ‘Hair is a massive thing to my community.’
She added: ‘When I walked out on set on day one of The Void, the first thing Ashley said to me was: ”Wow! You’re wearing your hair natural! That’s fantastic!”’
The songstress added that Ashley likely thought she would have made the decision to wear her hair ‘all groomed and straightened’ as that’s what ‘so many women do,’ but insisted: ‘I was never going to do that.’
Elsewhere in the interview, Fleur touched upon her experience growing up in a mixed race household.
Fleur said: ‘I had run-ins with kids at school – I was too black for the white girls and too white for the black girls. I didn’t fit anywhere’ (pictured: 2019)
Of living with her Ghanaian mother Irene, 58, and her English father Malcolm – who died last year aged 74 – Fleur recalls her father encouraging her to wear her hair naturally, however shared that her mother would always wear wigs, braids and even had her hair relaxed.
Fleur told the paper: ‘That was just what we did to fit in.’
The star said that while at home her father would encourage the family to celebrate their Ghanaian culture, but added that things were different in ‘the outside world’.
She recalled an incident that occurred at school when she was just nine years old.
Fleur was approached by a girl and asked: ‘Why is your skin always dirty?’ and said the ‘shock and humiliation’ stays with her to this day.
New gig: Fleur is currently co-hosting ITV’s The Void game show alongside Ashley Banjo (pictured)
The hit-maker struggled with her identity growing up, disheartened by the lack of women of colour in the public eye, however that all changed when she saw Mel B take to the stage with the Spice Girls.
Fleur recalled: ‘There was Mel B with her hair in a ‘fro, looking amazing.’
She said the moment was ‘huge’ for her and gave her the confidence to start wearing her natural hair when singing and performing.
However Fleur was later told to straighten her hair when singing in a band with another woman who wore her natural hair, being told by management ‘we can’t have two of you like that’.
After straightening her hair Fleur said she no longer felt like herself.
Family: Fleur gushed about her husband, Marcel Badiane-Robin, 33, who she said has been her rock since the loss of her beloved father Malcolm (pictured) in March 2020
The star also spoke candidly about her appearance on the X Factor in 2014, insisting she and Simon Cowell ‘never had an issue’ and despite hair and makeup artists on the show suggesting she straighten her hair, he instructed behind-the-scenes staff to ‘leave it’.
Elsewhere, Fleur gushed about her husband, 33-year-old fashion designer Marcel Badiane-Robin, who she said has been her rock since the loss of her beloved father Malcolm in March 2020.
She also expressed her frustration at often being asked when she is planning on having children, before turning her attention back to her hair, sharing her excitement over the fact that her decision to wear her natural hair on TV may inspire young women watching.
Frustration: Fleur also expressed her frustration at often being asked when she is planning on having children (pictured on the X Factor stage in 2014)