09/11/2014 07:16 GMT | Updated 09/11/2014 07:59 GMT

'X Factor' Fleur East Reveals Racist Abuse From School Bullies: 'I Would Go Home In Tears'

X Factor’ hopeful Fleur East has spoken candidly about the racism she endured at the hands of bullies, during her school days.


In a new interview, Fleur - who has received unanimous praise from the judges throughout this year’s ‘X Factor’ live shows - reveals that when she was young, she was often met with racist abuse when she was growing up in East London, because she is mixed race.

She tells The Mirror: “I remember going home in tears and my mum and dad said to me, ‘don’t ever listen to anyone who makes those kind of comments - you are beautiful and this is the way that God made you.’

Fleur East

“They told me to ignore people like that. But it was still awful. I would get asked by kids, ‘are you black or are you white?’ I was often in a position where I felt like I had to pick a side and that was difficult.”

Fleur has also said that she hopes taking part in ‘The X Factor’ will help her provide a new life for her family.

Speaking about her childhood, when her parents would often be strapped for cash, she explains: “We were really broke. There were times when I wouldn’t have money for the bus.

“Winning The X Factor would mean my family would finally get to have a bit of luxury - and I would be the happiest person ever as I would be getting to do what I love most.”

Fleur isn’t the only contestant in Simon Cowell’s ‘over 25s’ category to have had a tough time growing up, after Ben Haenow’s admission this weekend that when he was a teenager he used to drink heavily to help him cope with his personal troubles.