Normani Says Being in Fifth Harmony 'Took a Toll on My Confidence'

Dennis Leupold for Women’s Health

Normani covers December issue of Women's Health

Normani stars on the December 2020 cover of Women's Health, and she opened up to the magazine about building back her confidence and learning to shine under a solo spotlight after her Fifth Harmony days.

The 24-year-old singer has spent a quarter of her lifetime in the girl group, alongside Camila Cabello (before her 2016 exit), Lauren Jauregui, Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane. Normani noted that being the only Black member of the group, which dealt with its fair share of racist online trolls, "alters the perception you have of yourself."

"Having certain things happen so blatantly while also feeling like the 'other' and being so young and hearing the public compare [us] took a toll on my confidence," she said in the cover story interview published online Tuesday (Nov. 17). "For a long time, I didn’t believe in myself because I didn’t feel like I was given the opportunity to."

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Some of the most iconic Black women in popular music, including Janet JacksonBeyoncé and Rihanna, have given Normani her flowers over the years, and she says their support has refueled her confidence by understanding that she stands on the shoulders of giants. "It’s alarming when people you’ve looked up to, respect, and who kind of define who you are believe in you," Normani said. "But it definitely gives me confidence. I’m grateful to feel seen and heard and like I can be the voice for so many people. Being a Black woman, I feel we’re so multifaceted and have so much that we’re capable of. It’s really important to show Black girls and Black boys they can be anything they want to be."

She's currently perfecting her highly anticipated debut studio album, which she describes as "empowering." But it's not just supposed to empower her listeners: She felt it for herself during the recording process.

"For a long time, I was stressed out about checking boxes like, 'Is this Black enough? Is this pop enough?' But music started feeling way better when I just went into the studio with the mentality of being Normani," she explained. "People will always remember how you made them feel and what a record did for them. My lyrics have more depth, and they’re more intentional and come from a more authentic place, because I now feel more connected to myself than before."

Dennis Leupold for Women’s Health
Normani covers December issue of Women's Health

Read the entire Women's Health cover story here.